Washington DC – March 7, 2014 – Press Release – The President’s Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Request comes complete with a slush fund and wish lists.
“The rationale for our Pentagon spending should be our strategic vision and genuine national security needs, not wish lists and a slush fund packed with pork,” said Lt. General (USA ret.) Robert Gard, chairman of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. “Our national security can be ensured within the funding levels established by current laws. Officials must be willing to make responsible choices in defense program funding rather than adding supplementary wish lists and packing the oversea contingency fund with expenditures unrelated to military operations in Afghanistan.”
“Fundamentally, this slush fund and wish list are an attempt to exceed the Murray-Ryan budget caps and funnel more money into the Pentagon,” noted Executive Director John Isaacs, a 35-year veteran of Capitol Hill politics and budget fights.
In the FY15 Budget Request, the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) budget is tentatively slated at nearly $80 billion. OCO was originally intended to cover expenditures for fighting the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; and it is exempt from spending caps and sequestration provisions.
“The OCO budget was intended to support our troops in their combat missions but has since become a Pentagon slush fund for projects that exceed limits imposed by law,” added Lt. General Gard. “With the war in Iraq over and the war in Afghanistan winding down, the OCO budget should be decreasing to zero; but the FY15 OCO funding request is about equal to the FY14 ask, when we had a much more substantial troop presence in Afghanistan.”
In addition to the President’s budget request, the Pentagon also sent Congress “unfunded priority lists” totaling $26 billion. During his tenure, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates stopped the submission of such lists.
“These unfunded priority lists are essentially the Pentagon’s letter to potential Congressional supporters,” added Lt. General Gard. “If they contain strategic priorities, civilian leaders within the Pentagon should integrate them into the base budget, eliminating those of lower priority. Strategy should dictate military spending, not politics and wish lists.”
Lt. General Gard and other experts are available for bookings by contacting James Lewis at 202.546.0795 X2113.
####The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation is a Washington-based non-profit think tank working to reduce the number of nuclear weapons stockpiled across the globe, increase international nonproliferation programs targeted at preventing the further proliferation of nuclear weapons and nuclear terrorism, redirect U.S. military spending to address 21st century security threats and halt the proliferation of biological and chemical weapons. www.armscontrolcenter.org