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Support Accountability and Transparency in Funding Our Troops

May 19, 2014 | By Marge Clark, BVM

Right now, both the House and Senate are focused on the Defense spending bill for FY 2015. Part of this bill includes a slush fund for the Pentagon, called the Overseas Contingency Operation (OCO) fund, which allows purchases to fill immediate needs in war zones. This is a separate source of funding outside of the normal budget process, which is unique to the Pentagon budget.

As the war in Afghanistan winds down, this fund should also wind down-- however, the request for this contingency fund has increased for the upcoming year. Several of our partners in the House of Representatives are concerned that this is being used as a way to get around budget constraints of other programs, particularly life-saving and poverty-reducing human needs programs.

You can read the full text of the Dear Colleague Letter below. Congressional offices interested in signing on can contact Graham Haile at 


Dear Colleague,

For nearly thirteen years, the Pentagon has requested - and Congress has authorized and appropriated - off-budget funding to support military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. As the last of our troops prepare to come home, we believe it is also time to wind down the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) budget and fund the operations of the Defense Department entirely through the base budget.

This letter to the President voices the concerns we share regarding a number of issues relating to the OCO budget and its use to circumvent budget caps.  There has been a bipartisan effort in Congress to end this misuse and we hope that you will sign on and join us in this effort to bring greater transparency and discipline to the budget process.


Mick Mulvaney Chris Van Hollen, Jr.

Mike Coffman Patrick Murphy


President Barack H. Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500 

Mr. President,

We are wri