Some defense industry analysts believe the overseas contingency operations budget will eventually be eliminated as the U.S. moves forward from wartime operations in Afghanistan, Defense News reported Sunday.
“OCO may survive another year or two, [but] it will be a lot smaller, so it’s still going to force [DoD] into hard choices,” said Gordon Adams, an analyst at The Stimson Center.
Marcus Weisgerber writes that the $58.6 billion OCO budget request for 2015 is $20 billion less than for 2014 but includes $5 billion for the newly-created counterterrorism fund and $1 billion for the European Reassurance Initiative.
According to the report, the military has been turning to the OCO budget to supplement spending in areas such as weapons procurement due to spending caps on the base budget and Congress’ rejection of some aircraft retirement and military resizing measures.
Some analysts have cautioned the Defense Department against reliance on the OCO budget as troops completely withdraw from Afghanistan by 2016, Weisgerber reports.
However, the OCO budget will still cover the removal and transport of equipment from Afghanistan, repairs and other items such as sustainment of the Afghan National Security Forces and the “forward presence” of the U.S. in the region, according to the report.