Administration officials are testifying on Capitol Hill this week and next about the administration’s budget request, which includes $750 billion for national security spending – about $718 billion of that allocated for the Department of Defense.
“To be clear, this is not funding for endless wars,” Russell Vought, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, told reporters Monday. “This is for research and development and procurement to fund the most awe-inspiring military the world has ever known.”
Vought said it is no longer sustainable to increase defense and non-defense spending at the same levels, outlining a 5 percent cut to nondefense programs. The details of the budget request are expected to trickle out over the next few days.
To get around statutory spending caps, the budget requests a boost in overseas contingency operations (OCO) funding, which is exempt from the caps.
Vought told reporters the OCO account would not be used to build a border wall.
“We do have emergency spending that we devote to it, and we continue the military rebuild by asking for what’s necessary to complete the wall,” Vought said. “That does include military construction funding.”
The budget asks Congress to re-fund any military construction projects put on hold to prioritize wall construction, but it was still unclear Monday which projects would be funded through that account and if it will delay the next wave of milcon projects.
“Everybody who has a project in their community with unobligated funds, they’re at risk,” Todd Harrison, director of defense budget analysis at CSIS, told On Base. “So there’s going to be that uncertainty hanging over everyone until this gets settled.”
US Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class TaWanna Starks