The Cost of the US War on ISIS: $7 Billion and Counting
April 27, 2016 Martin Matishak / The Fiscal Times<
The war against the Islamic State has now cost American taxpayers more than $7 billion, a figure that could increase dramatically as the US prepares to send 200 more troops to Iraq to help fight the extremist network. As of March 15, the price tag for 568 days of war was $6.8 billion, with an average cost of $11.5 million per day -- or $345 million per month -- according to a Defense Department report.
The Cost of the War Against ISIS:
$7 Billion and Counting Martin Matishak / The Fiscal Times
(April 19, 2016) -- The war against the Islamic State has now cost American taxpayers more than $7 billion, a figure that could increase dramatically as the US prepares to send 200 more troops to Iraq to help fight the extremist network.
As of March 15, the price tag for 568 days of war was $6.8 billion, with an average cost of $11.5 million per day, according to a Defense Department report released on Tuesday. If the daily tab has held steady since then, another $402.5 million can be added to the sum, putting the total over $7.2 billion.
Given the Obama administration's airpower-first approach to battling ISIS it's not surprising that daily flight operations accounted for 48 percent of the war's cost, or about $3.2 billion.
Mission support -- including personnel, logistics, surveillance and reconnaissance -- accounted for 28 percent of the cost, or $1.8 billion, and munitions made up 24 percent, or just under $1.6 billion.
Broken down by military branch, the Air Force has spent the most by far on the anti-ISIS fight, roughly $4.6 billion. The Army has spent $918 million, the Navy $734 million and special operations forces account for $503 million, according to the Pentagon.
The cost to the other services will likely increase soon. On Monday, the Defense Department announced it would loosen he restrictions on what US troops deployed to Iraq can do there and send another 200 service members to support Baghdad's forces as they try to recapture the city of Mosul.
he new forces will raise the US troop level in Iraq to more than 4,000 and there's no indication it will stop there as Baghdad's security forces prepare to retake Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city. The city fell to ISIS in the summer of 2014 after Iraqi army soldiers abandoned their posts, allowing the jihadists to claim vast amounts of territory inside Iraq and Syria.
The Rise of ISIS
The Fiscal Times (March 24, 2016)
The boost in forces "does not change the basic elements of the strategy, which is that this has to be a fight that is led by local forces with the support and assistance of the United States and our coalition partners," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Monday.
As usual, it's the Obama administration's anti-ISIS strategy, not the cost, that has invoked the wrath of Capitol Hill lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
Senate Armed Services Committee chair John McCain (R-AZ) welcome the additional deployment but called it "yet another example of the kind of grudging incrementalism that rarely wins wars, but could certainly lose one."
Martin Matishak is Washington Correspondent, based in Washington, D.C. He has written for The Hill, Atlantic Media and Inside Washington Publishers, among other publications.
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