Reduced Funding for OCO Would Damage Military Readiness
Amendment #247 to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014, sponsored by Rep. Christ Van Hollen (D-MD), would reduce the funding level for overseas contingency operations (OCO), primarily for ongoing operations in Afghanistan, to the level in the revised Administration defense budget request from last month, explains Heritage’s Baker Spring. Specifically, the revised request sets the level at $79.4 billion. The current level in the Armed Services Committee’s approved NDAA is $85.8 billion.
This funding reduction is extremely ill advised. Spring explains that the administration’s focus is too narrow with regard to costs. He states:
[T]he lower level of funding for OCO that Van Hollen is pressing for would impose a hidden cost on Department of Defense activities outside OCO, commonly referred to as the core defense program. The higher level of funding for OCO in the current version of the NDAA is appropriate. This is because the level requested by the Administration may be failing to account for the true cost of the operations OCO funding is designed to cover.
Heritage Action is strongly opposed to this Van Hollen amendment, as it damages our military readiness by failing to account for the true cost of operations. Inadequate funding impairs our military’s ability to replace weapons and equipment that have been damaged or destroyed, one of the costs of OCO. Maintaining a strong national defense is a core conservative principle, and this legislation only serves to undermine that goal.