For Pentagon, ISIS War Funding Likely to Bypass Sequestration

Expects Congress to Put it On 'War Credit Card'

Congress had mostly been ignoring sequestration at any rate when it comes to military spending, but Pentagon officials say they expect Congress to bankroll the entire new ISIS campaign in the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), which is explicitly treated as separate from the defense budget.

The OCO, which some call a “war credit card,” was supposed to be on the way out as the White House Office of Budget Management sought to fold it back into the Pentagon’s official budget.

Instead, the OCO now seems likely to grow from its $58.6 billion in FY2015 to a dramatic new second military budget designed just to bankroll the open-ended war in Iraq and Syria.

The administration’s use of the OCO as a way to fund operations Congress never approved would normally make it a controversial move to grow it so dramatically, but with so many Congressional hawks champing at the bit to ditch sequestration and fund the military at even higher levels, it seems likely they’ll embrace this as a simple way to get around the budget limitations.

Earlier this week, it was estimated that the ISIS war had already cost $1 billion. With the war escalating seemingly every week, the costs are going to continue to surge in the months and years to come.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of