White House Proposes Huge Increase in War Funding

Plan adds nearly $100 billion just to overseas operations fund

As had been previously reported late last week, President Trump has unveiled a budget plan which, in addition to cutting social spending across the board, would seek a huge increase in military spending, centered almost entirely on war funding.

US military spending is always by far the largest on the planet, several times the amount of the next highest spending, China. But while other nations like China and Russia are scaling back their budgets, the Pentagon’s budget, as ever, continues to rise.

Trump’s proposal would bring the overall defense budget for 2020 to $750 billion. This includes a $544 billion base-line defense budget, which is not in and of itself a huge increase. But on top of that will be a nearly $100 billion in the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) Fund, and a $9 billion “emergency” funding request meant to make up for the money already taken from the military to build the border wall.

Using the OCO budget as an avenue for driving military spending up has been a common tactic in recent decades, though it had fallen out of favor in the past few years. The OCO has been heavily criticized because its nature makes it effectively a black hole, allowing the Pentagon to shuffle money around to different projects as it sees fit.

Exploding the OCO, nearly tripling it from the current year’s levels, while keeping base funding roughly in line, seems meant to allow the administration to present themselves as keeping past commitments, while fueling a precipitous spending increase all the same.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.