Overseas Contingency Operations: Trends and Issues
(Source: Congressional Budget Office; issued March 07, 2019)
Presentation by F. Matthew Woodward, an analyst in CBO’s National Security Division, at a joint seminar by the Congressional Research Service, the Congressional Budget Office, and the Government Accountability Office.

Since 2001, the Department of Defense (DoD) has regularly requested large appropriations to supplement its base-budget funding. Most of that nonbase funding has been designated for overseas contingency operations (OCO) that began after 9/11. CBO examined how DoD’s use of OCO funding has affected its spending.

-- Growth of Funding:
Between 1970 and 2000, non-base funding accounted for about 2 percent of DoD’s total spending. Since 2001, such funding has accounted for a much larger and persistent share of annual defense appropriations.

-- Amounts of Funding:
Non-base funding peaked at 28 percent of DoD’s budget in 2007 and 2008. From 2001 to 2018, it has averaged about $116 billion per year (in 2019 dollars), totaling about 20 percent of DoD’s total funding.

-- Funding for Enduring Activities:
In CBO’s estimation, from 2006 to 2018, more than $50 billion in OCO funding per year (in 2019 dollars), on average, has gone toward the costs of enduring activities rather than the temporary costs of overseas operations.
DoD’s most recent budget request indicates that, beginning in 2019, the department plans to increase the base budget to include most of that enduring funding in future years.

Click here for the full report (13 PDF pages) on the CBO website.


prev next

Official reports See all