Why Congress should stop using OCO to get around the Budget Control Act

Overseas contingency operations funds, or OCO, sounds a lot better than slush fund. Whatever you call it, presidents — both Republican and Democratic — have used it to bolster the Defense Department budget lately outside of the Budget Control Act rules. This year is no different. Lacie Heeley, a fellow at the Stimson Center’s budgeting for foreign affairs and defense program, argues Congress should do better.

Scientists already know there are times when our brains are better at absorbing new information or learning new skills. The technical term is synaptic plasticity — the process of strengthening the connections between neurons. Now the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is funding a new effort to figure out exactly how the process works, and whether it can be safely switched on by a mechanical device. Doctor Doug Weber is the program manager for DARPA’s Targeted Neuroplasticity Training program. He tells Federal News Radio’s Jared Serbu it could have major applications for military training, like learning foreign languages.