Tina Jonas, senior adviser at the Center for Strategic & International Studies, discusses the massive contingency budget requested for the Department of Defense, and how Congress might react to it.
The Trump administration’s fiscal 2020 budget request includes more short-term money than ever. The White House is requesting $174 billion for the Overseas Contingency Operations fund. Tina Jonas, senior adviser at the Center for Strategic & International Studies, says that the move has already seen some “raised eyebrows” in Congress. “The Pentagon is extraordinarily good at forward planning, they depend on it. Good planning is their basic bread and butter. This one year planning is very difficult… I think in the end, a lot of discussions are going to continue between the Hill and the comptroller and deputy secretary [David Norquist], he’s got a lot of negotiating to do on that,” Jonas said. Jonas said that budget reprogramming is routine, but when being performed to support a controversial project, securing Congressional support can be difficult. “HASC Chairman Smith recently said that they were going to deny the $1 billion reprogramming. That starts the negotiation off on not a good footing. In the past, it’s always been good for the Pentagon to reach out ahead of time, work with staff, work with the chairman and the committee members, they generally understand whether something is going to fly,” Jonas told Government Matters. “Items such as major new starts or controversial policy matters, those need a lot of work.”