U.S. House Adopts Rep. Norman's NDAA Amendment for Accountability with Overseas Contingency Operations Funding
Within the National Defense Authorization Act ("NDAA") is a separate fund known as the Overseas Contingency Operations ("OCO") fund. Originally used to finance the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, OCO funds are managed by the U.S. Department of Defense and State Department to support the global war on terror and other international military operations.
Over the last two decades, Congress has appropriated over $2 trillion dollars to the OCO account. The House's version of the NDAA for FY 2021 will likely include $69 billion for this fund.
However, due to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) Congress recently needed to appropriate trillions of dollars towards economic and health relief. Because the federal debt and deficit is rapidly increasing, and because spending must be carefully monitored, Rep. Ralph Norman and other lawmakers from both parties are determined to make the Defense Department more accountable by increasing transparency for government spending through the OCO program.
On Tuesday, the House adopted by unanimous consent an amendment by Rep. Norman to this year's NDAA that would require the Secretary of Defense to include several deliverables in support of the President's budget. Those deliverables are:
First: A description of each program funded in FY 2021 using amounts authorized to be appropriated for OCO under section 1105 of title 31, United States Code.
Second: A detailed plan of how the Secretary plans to shift funding for each program in the ensuing FYs.
Third: A plan to return all OCO funding to the base budget in accordance with future-years defense plan.
Rep. Norman issued the following statement after the amendment passed the House:
"Our national defense will always be the federal government's most important responsibility. However, we must be mindful of our military spending and ensure government funds are used appropriately. My bi-partisan amendment in this year's NDAA tasks the Department of Defense with authoring a plan for the future of our Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funds. It's an important step towards accountability and transparency in our nation's defense spending, and I thank Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) for his efforts with this amendment."