When the Senate Appropriations committee offered its summary of its defense bill, we said that the committee must have moved some funding from the base budget to the war budget, just as we feared would happen.
What we didn't understand was how much. Luckily, the appropriators believe in transparency and in their report note where they transferred funds from the base budget to OCO funding. We found $9.5 billion worth, across almost every title. The biggest pieces are Army depot maintenance in O&M ($3B) and unmanned systems in procurement, the Army's Raven ($550M) and the Air Force's Reaper ($784M). Because the appropriators provided less funds for more accounts than they listed in their summary, they could transfer more than we expected and still come in $259 million less than the administration's OCO request.*
To the right is a chart showing all of the line items the appropriators noted. It can be enlarged when clicked on.
Clearly, war funding serves as exactly the loophole we said it would, although the Senate appropriators deserve credit for offsetting their increases. Still, the precedent is now set that base costs can seep into war funding.
*The Senate bill doesn't cut OCO from the administration request: the $259 million is a transfer--requested by the administration--to the Coast Guard. The bill--as noted on page 5 of the report--transfers that funding to homeland security.
Update: The original chart omitted a line for Readiness and Depot Maintenace, O&M Navy, of $495M. The current chart includes that line, bringing the total O&M funding to $6.2B and total transfer to $9.985B.