Furthermore, the existing DERF appropriation readily provided the means of delegating the flexibility that DoD needed in a time of great crisis.
The DERF was created in the fiscal year (FY) 1990 Defense Appropriation Act and originally was conceived as a transfer account to reimburse defense appropriations for DoD support to natural disasters or other domestic emergencies.
Of note, DERF initially was not intended for overseas military activities, since they traditionally were funded within the top line or through emergency supplemental appropriations.
The FY 2002 funding went directly into DERF and was further allocated into specific spending categories.
Emboldened by the discretionary budget authority it was granted, the Administration included a $19 billion request for DERF in the FY 2003 budget, of which $10 billion was identified for pure wartime contingency unknowns.
Though the final version of the FY 2002 supplemental totaled $29 billion, with $12 billion for DERF, many concerns emerged about material weaknesses in cost accounting, whether all costs characterized as contingency operations were valid, and if the separation of powers doctrine was being violated.
Also, there was a significant tightening of controls: DERF authority was again allocated into specific spending categories, funds for military construction projects in seven states were included, and non-defense special-interest items were added as riders to the appropriations bill.
Specifically, the inability of DoD to provide fully accurate accounting of the use of DERF funds, media criticism of the appropriateness of invading Iraq, and the sheer brazenness of requesting such a large supplemental with such broad discretionary authority produced a resurgence of congressional micromanagement.
Moreover, Congress provided no funding for DERF, and the appropriations act stipulated that all remaining DERF balances must be transferred to the IFF as of October 31, 2003.
DERF would continue to be scrutinized long after it ceased to exist as Congress and the media became increasingly suspicious that DERF funds had been used to prepare for the invasion of Iraq.
DERF provides an example of a shift in constitutional power from the legislative branch to the executive branch due to the exigency of the situation at hand.
CDR Candreva posits that the rise and fall of DERF "demonstrates the evident will of Congress to continue to intervene in civil-military relations, particularly when it believes that DoD has overreached in its request for authority.