It’s evident that the Democrats do not want border security. Both Pelosi and Schumer made this quite clear during and after their sit down with president Trump.
Because of this impasse, Trump tweeted: “If the Democrats do not give us the votes to secure our Country, the Military will build the remaining sections of the Wall.”
….People do not yet realize how much of the Wall, including really effective renovation, has already been built. If the Democrats do not give us the votes to secure our Country, the Military will build the remaining sections of the Wall. They know how important it is!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 11, 2018
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This, the experts say, would be difficult and ill-advised, for “authority would need to shift from the Department of Homeland Security [DHS] to the Department of Defense.” DHS is responsible for U.S. border security.
With this, I both agree and disagree. I agree that the “military” should not be used to build the “remaining sections of the wall,” any more than they should build their own ships and aircraft. For those endeavors, they merely provide the funding and contract the private sector to take care of the design and production.
However, I disagree that that authority would have to shift from DHS to the DOD. And it has to do with a little known and less understood line item(s) within the $717 billion Military Spending Bill which Trump signed in August 2018.
The line item(s) is called Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funds.
There are two sets of OCO funds available. The first is $69 billion, slated for DOD to fight the ISIS and other terrorist groups.
The second is an additional $18.7 billion in OCO funds for the State Department and Homeland Security to fight ISIS.
So, what are OCO funds, why are they important, and what do they have to do with the border wall?
Well, these funds are to:
“Prevent the Resurgence of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), al Qaeda, and other Jihadist Terrorists. DOD would prevent any resurgence by working with partner forces and agencies to stabilize liberated cities, secure borders, retain territorial control, and disrupt ISIS’s capability to attack the U.S. homeland and America’s allies. The Budget also requests funding for DOD to address the threat from ISIS branches outside Iraq and Syria, and to protect the United States against a resurgence of al Qaeda.” [Emphasis added]
In other words, it appears quite clear that at least a portion of the $87.7 billion total OCO outlay not only could but must be used to “secure” our border against any possible threat of attack to the U.S. homeland.
That’s the, why are they important, and what do they have to do with the border wall part. But what are OCO funds?
OCO “is a separate pot of funding operated by the Department of Defense and the State Department, in addition to their ‘base’ budgets.”
The OCO fund has very little oversight, which is why it is sometimes referred to as a DOD “slush fund.” In other words, these funds can be used at the discretion of the DOD and therefore the Commander in Chief.
Trump originally wanted $25 billion for the border wall. If what I’ve discovered is accurate, he has the money within DOD OCO funds. Now he just needs to access them before the Dems take control in January.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author and are not not necessarily either shared or endorsed by iPatriot.com.