Pentagon Uses War Fund as Sluch Fund!
The Pentagon's Overseas Contingency Operations is nothing but a slush fund, at the risk of sounding like a broken record. Utilized by the Pentagon, the fund, with complicity from Capitol Hill. It is to evade budget caps that control funding in nearly every other federal department.
Untouchable perk for organizations with national security responsibilities this so-called war-fighting account has been treated special for years. Vast majority of the extra money goes to the Pentagon. However the State Department also receives a small slice of share of this account.
Let us have a prevalent view of how this account began. Mid-to-late 1990's personnel, operations and maintenance costs tied to U.S. Army. It actions in the Balkans were greater than expected when the budget was formed first.
The transfer fund was the original contingency account established in fiscal year 1997 to allow other Pentagon funds which were not expanded by the end of the fiscal year. This is to be swept into an account to pay Balkans operations. Way back, the transfer fund then had roughly $1.5 to $2 billion funneled from other Pentagon accounts. An enormous fund that peaked in fiscal year 2008 with a request of $186.9 billion grew form its humble and practical beginnings.
The account has not lowered at a rate that coincides with the number of troops which actually operates overseas in response to contingencies while on a downward trajectory since then. Spending in the war, the fund was translated to about $1 million per overseas troop. Indeed, our colleagues at the project on Government Oversight recently calculated that in the top funding year of 2008. The fiscal year 2017 request equals $4.9 million per troop. This is an increase of just under 500 percent as pointed out by their reports.
The war funding request have formulated various outrages over the years. The Marine Corps requested to use war funds to purchase new F-35 to replace fighter aircraft that had been damaged for several years earlier.
The F-35 was neither operational not operational and not stationed overseas at that time. It seemed a poor fit for the use of overseas contingency operations funding, the organization pointed out. Rodney Frelinghuysen, New Jersey Republican representative and chairman of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee agreed. He denied the request using unusually sharp language.
The appropriations which are provided by the Congress particularly for ongoing combat operations and related efforts is the committees' (Overseas Contingency Operations) concerned. These are being used in the reprogramming to back up budgetary shortcomings in acquisition program that have only tenuous links to the fight in Afghanistan and other current operations.
Using the war account for military construction projects has been also a practice. Though it is the antithesis of a contingency, to build a hangar in Bahrain for navy patrol aircraft may be overseas. Chris Van Hollen, Democratic Maryland Representative and Mick Mulvaney, Republican South Carolina Representative offered amendments to strip this and other projects from a spending bill last year.
The Congress voted to allow this twisting of the war funding account. They believed that through these and many other examples, it is transparent that this account is being used by the Pentagon to fund programs that should be requested in its base budget.
Reported by Inside Defense in case there is any doubt about the subterfuge, it contained a revealing quote from a Pentagon spokesman. He pointed out that the war fund includes requirements associated with a forward presence and readiness that resembles to the continuity after present operation in Afghanistan and Iraq/Syria. The cost related with these enduring requirements is in the range of $30 billion annually.
Furthermore, he reiterated that there they have it. Fifty percent of this year's request for the war fund is actually for "enduring requirements" and "will seemingly continue" after the conclusion of present overseas operations.
The only surprise in this announcement is that anyone is actually surprised. Willie Sutton the bank robber said, "I rob banks because that's where the money is." Similarly, enduring requirements are being funded by the war account because that's where the money is.