More OCO Fights on the Horizon

The overseas contingency operations fund is likely to be the “most politically heated” part of the Fiscal 2017 budget, said Katherine Blakeley, with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, on Feb. 1. President Obama vetoed a version of the National Defense Authorization Act last year because it allotted billions to the OCO fund to avoid budget control caps. Blakeley predicted the Obama Administration will submit a request for OCO funds in Fiscal 2017 that is very close to the $58.8 billion appropriated in Fiscal 2016, as agreed to in the budget deal. However, she said there is a risk of “another series of showdowns” between Congress and the President over the balance of funds between the base budget and OCO, because of a fundamental difference in opinion between the administration and the Republican-controlled Congress. Blakeley also said she believes DOD’s overall budget priorities are unlikely to change in Fiscal 2017. “Same dance, different year,” she said.