The O.C.O.

/ March 25, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The Washington Post runs a brief item today that you probably have seen, addressing the Obama administration's apparent decision to eschew such terms as "long war" and "global war on terror."

The Obama administration appears to be backing away from the phrase "global war on terror," a signature rhetorical legacy of its predecessor.

In a memo e-mailed this week to Pentagon staff members, the Defense Department's office of security review noted that "this administration prefers to avoid using the term 'Long War' or 'Global War on Terror' ((GWOT.)) Please use 'Overseas Contingency Operation.' "

The memo said the direction came from the Office of Management and Budget, the executive-branch agency that reviews the public testimony of administration officials before it is delivered.

But Kenneth Baer, an OMB spokesman, says that's not the case.

"There was no memo, no guidance," Baer said yesterday. "This is the opinion of a career civil servant."

That may be so, but the new term is finding its way out there -- and all the way to the top. Though that doesn't mean it's all that well understood.

On Monday, Gen. James Cartwright, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke at a missile defense conference in DC, and addressed the topic of supplemental appropriations funding:

So right now we've got an '09 supp on the Hill, or are trying to get one to the Hill. We've got the '10 president's budget that we're trying to move forward on. We've got the '11 budget that we're working inside the department. We have two war supplementals, we used to call them -- OCO is the new acronym; I haven't got a clue what that one stands for -- but the money associated with running the wars.

-- Dan Dupont

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