‘Continued discussions with OMB’
By Tony Bertuca
The Defense Department is discussing the future of its overseas contingency operations account with the Office of Management and Budget, including the possibility of making OCO a long-lasting piece of the DOD budget.
“That’s something that we’re going to have continued discussions with OMB on,” Michael McCord said Tuesday after a conference appearance when InsideDefense.com asked him to what extent he believed OCO needed to remain a permanent part of the DOD budget.
“We see certainly the need for it for the next couple of years for sure,” he added.
McCord, who delivered a keynote address at the TechAmerica conference in Falls Church, VA, said he had recently participated in many high-level DOD meetings in which Pentagon officials have been wrestling with the future of defense spending amid the possible onset of sequestration in fiscal year 2016.
He explained that the FY-16 budget request was still being worked, but listed several key areas of importance including new spending to counter Russian military activities in Eastern Europe.
“Things have changed a lot since we developed our last budget with Russia and with Europe, so that’s an area where there’s going to have to be some additional focus in our budgets going forward,” he said.
McCord also highlighted the Asia-Pacific pivot, emerging technologies in cyber and space capabilities, and a global counterterrorism campaign as areas of continued investment.
Specifically, McCord noted that a global CT fight would not be waged using DOD’s base budget, signaling a need for long-term OCO spending that is exempt from the $35 billion in automatic defense cuts triggered by sequestration in FY-16.
“We’ll continue to fight a global CT campaign. That problem is going to be with us for some time,” he said. “That is probably not something that we are going to do inside the base budget to a large extent.”