Originally Published: 2/28/2007
THE COST OF THE WAR ON TERRORISM
By The Issue Wonk
On February 7, 2007 the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report summarizing “the funding provided for military and diplomatic operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and for other operations in the war on terrorism through January 31, 2007.” The report also estimated the costs for these operations over the next 10 years using two different scenarios. The report was requested by Senator Kent Conrad (D, ND), chair of the Committee on the Budget.
Funding to Date. The U.S. government has provided $503 billion for “military and diplomatic operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other regions” since September 2001. This includes funding for Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom (in and around Afghanistan), Operation Noble Eagle (homeland security missions, such as combat air patrols in the U.S.), the restructuring of Army and Marine Corps units, classified activities other than those funded by appropriations for the Iraq Freedom Fund, and other operations. But, the report says, at least 70% of the $503 billion “has been allocated for the war in Iraq.”
Nearly $448 billion has gone to the Department of Defense (DoD), while less than 1% has gone for intelligence agencies and the Coast Guard. About $20 billion has gone to train and equip indigenous security forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. More than $34 billion has been spent for diplomatic operations and foreign aid to Iraq, Afghanistan, and other countries that are assisting the United States. About $40 billion has been appropriated for “activities related to international affairs,” including $5 billion to the State Department for Iraqi security forces and $21 billion for the Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund.
Not all costs are included in this estimate, however. The CBO notes that “for fiscal years 2005 through 2007, funding for operation Noble Eagle has been intermingled with regular appropriations for the Department of Defense; that funding is not included in this table because it cannot be identified separately. Also, trying to separate where funding has gone was problematic. The CBO explained in a footnote to Table 1:
The Congress has not appropriated funds by military operation. For the 2003-2005 period, CBO estimated funding provided for Operation Iraqi Freedom by allocating funds on the basis of obligations reported by the Department of [Defense] (DoD). Estimates of funding for that operation over the 2006-2008 period were provided by DoD in budget justification material for the fiscal year 2008 budget request. For more information about funding the operation Iraqi Freedom, see Congressional Budget Office, Estimated Costs of U.S. Operations in Iraq Under Two Specified Scenarios (July 13, 2006).
On February 5, 2007 President Bush submitted a supplemental budget request for almost $100 billion in additional funding for the following: $84 billion for military operations, $10 billion for indigenous security forces, and almost $5 billion for diplomatic activities and foreign aid. And, the president’s 2008 budget request includes another $137 billion for military operations, $5 billion for indigenous security forces, and $3 billion for diplomatic operations and foreign aid. If all these requests are appropriated, along with some other smaller requests, the total for all operations in the war on terrorism would be $746 billion, with the amounts for Operation Noble Eagle not included, as noted above.
© The Issue Wonk, 2007