A $90 billion boost to the overseas contingency operations—as suggested by Tuesday’s House Republican budget proposal—isn’t the preferred way to fix sequester-driven defense funding shortfalls, the Pentagon’s comptroller said March 17. Speaking at a McAleese Associates/Credit Suisse conference in Washington, D.C., Michael McCord said the Republican plan is “not the solution we’re looking for,” though “I appreciate the attempt to find some way to help us.” McCord said he thinks Defense Secretary Ash Carter, who has been moving toward abolishing OCO, would “probably say that it’s not much of a foundation to build on.” Not only that, but the idea has two big faults, McCord said: It wouldn’t do anything to lower the deficit, and it would take “quite some time” for the Senate and President Obama to sign off on it, leaving DOD in the lurch as far as planning. “It would be sort of having all your eggs in a basket that might crumble on you” if the Senate and President didn’t go along, he said. The House resolution said Congress would allow a broad interpretation of wartime “needs,” letting the Pentagon use the money for “modernization, training,” readiness, and other activities not directly tied to overseas operations. The OCO, as it’s called, is exempt from the Budget Control Act spending caps.
Former British prime minister and now foreign minister David Cameron urged the U.S. Congress not to stop supporting Ukraine, saying the West has gotten a bargain in dramatically reducing Russia’s military power for a fraction of the U.S. defense budget.