Approved by the Armed Services Committee by a 27-0 vote in late June, the overall Senate bill provides $640 billion for core Pentagon operations, such as buying weapons and paying troops, and another $60 billion for wartime missions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and elsewhere. Trump’s budget request sought $603 billion for basic functions and $65 billion for overseas missions.
As their House counterparts did, the Senate bill rejects Mattis’ plan to launch a new round of base closings starting in 2021. He told lawmakers in June that closing excess installations would save $10 billion over a five-year period. Mattis said the savings could be used to acquire four nuclear submarines or dozens of jet fighters. But military installations are prized possessions in states and lawmakers refused to go along.
Any base closings? Any discussion about cutting back on the ambitions of its advocates, the global footprint, the number of missions, the empire maintenance? Nope. Just like every other function of government, it continues to grow.
Are you kidding me? We have wars to fight, people to kill, money to spend, and jobs to protect.
That $65 billion in “overseas missions” is called the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) fund.
It is a separate pot of funding operated by the Department of Defense and the State Department, in addition to their “base” budgets (i.e., their regular peacetime budgets). Originally used to finance the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the OCO continues to be a source of funding for the Pentagon, with a fraction of the funds going to the State Department.
Since the OCO fund has very little oversight and is not subject to the sequestration cuts that slashed every other part of the budget in 2013, many experts consider it a “slush fund” for the Pentagon.