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Wars’ Costs Totaled

Thus far, Congress has appropriated $510 billion for the Department of Defense (DOD) and other costs in Iraq, Afghanistan, and “Operation Noble Eagle” for enhanced base security internationally and some domestic U.S. costs. A new report from the Congressional Research Service, “The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on terror Operations Since 9/11” (by Amy Belasco, March 14, 2007) provides the following data:

• “about” $378 billon (74 percent) has been appropriated for Iraq.
• $99 billion (19 percent) has been for Afghanistan.
• $28 billion (5 percent) has been for other operations.

If one includes the additional money President George W. Bush has requested to complete the current fiscal year ($94.4 billion to complement the $70 billion already appropriated for FY 2007) and the $141.7 billion requested for FY 2008, total costs would be $752 billion, including

• $564 billion for Iraq.
• $155 billion for Afghanistan.
• $28 billion for Operation Noble Eagle.

Of these totals, $5 billion is unallocated: just one of the many problems CRS, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found with the completeness and accuracy of DOD’s data on the costs of the wars. For more on this, see pp. 26-28 and pp. 31-36.

It is also apparent that the costs of both the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are accelerating. Just as one example, per soldier/Marine costs have increased from $320,000 to $390,000 per deployed troop per year. DOD has explained some of these increases, but not all. See pp. 12-25.

The total costs of the wars could range from $980 billion to $1.4 trillion under two scenarios estimated by CBO. These future predictions should be treated carefully, however. Up to now, there has been no downturn of costs, which CBO postulates in both of the scenarios it assessed.

Read the full report; click here.

Winslow Wheeler, Director, Straus Military Reform Project, Center for Defense Information at the Project On Government Oversight

By: Winslow Wheeler
Director, Straus Military Reform Project, CDI at POGO, POGO

Mr. Wheeler's areas of expertise include Congress, the Defense Budget, National Security, Pentagon Reform and Weapons Systems

The goal of the Straus Military Reform Project is to secure far more effective military forces and much more ethical and professional military and civilian leadership at significantly lower budget levels.

We would like to thank Philip A. Straus Jr. and family for their generous support.

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