Overseas Contingency Operations Funding: Background and Status
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC WASHINGTON DC United States
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The Department of Defense DOD estimates that through FY2016 Congress has appropriated 1.6 trillion for DOD war-related activities since the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. When combined with an estimated 123.2 billion in related State Department and Foreign Operations appropriations, the DOD, Department of State DOS, and U.S. Agency for International Development USAID have received an estimated 1.7 trillion for activities and operations in support of the broad U.S. government response to the 911 attacks. Funding for these activities has been largely provided through supplemental appropriation acts or has been designated as an emergency or Overseas Contingency OperationGlobal War on Terror OCOGWOT requirement in annual agency budget requestsor both. Funds designated as such are not subject to procedural limits on discretionary spending in congressional budget resolutions or to the statutory discretionary spending limits established by the Budget Control Act of 2011 BCA. While there is no overall statutory limit on the amount of emergency or OCOGWOT-designated spending, both Congress and the President have a fundamental role in determining how much OCOGWOT and emergency spending is provided each fiscal year. Congress must designate any such funding as OCOGWOT in statute on an account by account basis. The President is also required to designate it as such after it is appropriated in order for it to be available for expenditure. Definitions of what constitutes emergency or OCOGWOT activities and expenses have shifted over time, reflecting differing viewpoints about the extent, nature, and duration of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Funding designated OCOGWOT has also been recently used to fund base budget requirements of the DOD and DOS and to provide funding to prevent or respond to crises abroad, including armed conflict, as well as human-caused and natural disasters.