War costs near $549 billion
In the current fiscal year, the Pentagon is expected each month
to spend $1.5 billion in Afghanistan and $8 billion in Iraq.
By Drew Brown
Post " -- -- Washington - The total cost of
military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and enhanced
security at military bases since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist
attacks could reach $549 billion this year, a new report to
The projection by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service
is based on an update in July from the White House Office of
Management and Budget, which estimated that war costs will total
$110 billion for fiscal year 2007, which begins Sunday.
In fiscal year 2005, the Pentagon spent an average of $6.4
billion a month in Iraq and $1.3 billion a month in Afghanistan.
During fiscal year 2006, it's projected that those costs will
have increased to about $8 billion a month in Iraq and $1.5
billion per month in Afghanistan.
"Everybody expects that troops will come home and that next year
will be cheaper, but it just never happens that way," said
Winslow Wheeler, director of the Straus Military Reform Project
at the Center for Defense Information, a policy-research group
The report says war costs are expected to continue to grow in
the next decade.
Even if U.S. forces were reduced from 258,000 today in Iraq,
Afghanistan and other military operations around the globe
related to the war on terrorism to 74,000 by 2010, the
Congressional Budget Office estimates that war costs would still
grow by $371 billion from fiscal year 2007 to fiscal year 2016.
Given the amount already spent, total war funding could reach
$808 billion by 2016, according to the Congressional Research
Congress has appropriated about $437 billion so far for the wars
in Iraq and Afghanistan and other anti-terrorism efforts around
the world, according to the report.
This includes money for military operations, base security,
reconstruction, foreign aid, embassy costs and veterans' health
programs related to the war. Another $2 billion is in fiscal
2007 spending bills for foreign aid and diplomatic operations in
Iraq and Afghanistan and veterans' medical programs, the agency
The House approved a record $448 billion in defense spending for
2007 late Tuesday, including $70 billion as a down payment, or
bridge fund, for military operations during the next fiscal
year. Final passage by the Senate could come today.
The White House expects to ask for at least $50 billion in
bridge funding to pay for the war in fiscal year 2008, according
to the Congressional Research Service.
Copyright 2006 The Denver Post
Click on "comments" below to read or post comments