By Michael Ostrolenk
The Oversees Contingency Operations fund (OCO) which should be heading downward in cost as U.S. combat operations in Iraq ended years ago and the war in Afghanistan is winding down actually increased by $10 billion dollars to $85 billion this year. It was a way that the Pentagon was able to get around the spending limitations in the Budget Control Act.
Instead of abiding by those limitations, known publically as ‘sequester’, and starting to live within its means, the Department of Defense basically gave the finger to the taxpayer. No government agency should have a slush fund or be able to play games with the budget. There is plenty of waste at the Department of Defense as well as misalignment of spending and strategy. Instead of playing games with the American people, the Pentagon should be fiscally prudent. There is no reason the Pentagon cannot protect vital U.S. national security interests with the money allocated to them by Congress for the baseline defense budget.
This assessment of the Pentagon is shared by a multitude of conservative and other groups as can be seen in the following letter to Congress entitled “An Open Letter to Appropriators in Congress: End the Budget Gimmicks and Cut the Pentagon’s Slush Fund”
We are not necessarily entering a peacetime era but we also don’t need to be on a war footing. Now is the time for Congress to consider ending the slush fund know as OCO and start having real debates about Pentagon spending program by program.