President Donald Trump has ordered the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Syria and reportedly has plans to cut the troop presence in Afghanistan by about half. He has often spoken about the need to save money by disengaging from "endless" wars. But the troop drawdowns probably won't do much to reduce overseas contingency operations spending, also known as OCO, according to one analyst.
For fiscal year 2019, the OCO budget was about $69 billion.
"You would expect to see war funding decrease as the U.S. withdraws troops from operations. But the sticking point is that the OCO budget has been used to skirt the Budget Control Act caps," said Seamus Daniels, a program manager for defense budget analysis at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Approximately 70 percent of the war budget constitutes enduring costs unrelated to war efforts, he noted.
The troop drawdowns could lead to "a minor dropoff" in the 30 percent of the OCO budget that is actually going toward military operations, such as the procurement of munitions, he said.
However, moving a large amount of base budget needs out of the overseas contingency operations account--which is not subject to the BCA caps--as some in the Trump administration have proposed, could be problematic for fiscal deal making, Daniels said.
"We're going to need another budget deal for...