Creative Budgeting

The Army is using its overseas contingency funds to help manage its drawdown, said the land service’s Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno Tuesday. Since the service expects to reduce its active duty end strength from 570,000 to 490,000 by the end of Fiscal 2017, Odierno said it will fund any personnel in excess of 490,000 through its overseas contingency operations funds, which are generally reserved to support overseas wars. “That was a management issue so we can get our base budget set to what we think it will continue to be as OCO reduces,” he told defense reporters in Washington, D.C. He continued, “There are three things I’m always worried about: end strength, readiness, and modernization.” Utilizing the OCO funds in this way helps the service limit the delay to some of its modernization programs, while continuing to provide the proper training to soldiers, said Odierno. The Air Force plans to cut 9,900 personnel across its three components over that same span. It is not planning to use its OCO budget in the same manner, said USAF spokeswoman Jennifer Cassidy.