Pentagon Reports ISIS Air War Costs Up to $11 Billion
January 25, 2017
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com & Oriana Pawlyk / DODBuzz
Two and a half years in and with no end in sight, the cost of the US air war against ISIS continues to rise, with the Pentagon now saying the total cost is around $11 billion, a figure which only includes the direct costs of the military operation, and not the substantial additional costs associated with the conflict. 22% of the cost, or about $2.5 billion, was just the cost of the bombs the US dropped on Iraq and Syria in the course of the war.
Pentagon Reports ISIS
Air War Costs Up to $11 Billion
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(January 22, 2017) -- Two and a half years in and with no end in sight, the cost of the US air war against ISIS continues to rise, with the Pentagon now saying the total cost is around $11 billion, a figure which only includes the direct costs of the military operation, and not the substantial additional costs associated with the conflict.
22% of the cost, or about $2.5 billion, was just the cost of the bombs the US dropped on Iraq and Syria in the course of the war. The rest of the cost included the substant5ial cost of keeping the planes in the air throughout that period, and providing logistics for the protracted air war.
$11 billion is a lot for what President Obama initially presented as a very limited war against ISIS, and one which shows no sign of being anywhere near ending. Since President Trump has promised to eradicate ISIS, it seems unlikely that the air war is going to be wrapping up any time soon.
The figures released alongside the cost report provide a glimpse into the things the US is blowing up in the course of this air war too, which is likely to be a massive add-on cost, as the US will likely be on the hook for reconstruction, particularly in Iraq.
The figures show 164 tanks destroyed in the air war, and nearly 8,000 buildings either destroyed or damaged. Large numbers of oil tankers and a substantial amount of oil infrastructure is also being destroyed in the air war.
On top of that, recent reports have also suggested the cost of replacement munitions is rising, because manufacturers are struggling to make them as fast as the US drops them places. Replacement costs, and reconstruction, are likely to far dwarf the specific operational expenses, despite how much those expenses already are.
Cost of Air War Against ISIS
Climbs to $11 Billion: Pentagon
Oriana Pawlyk / DODBuzz
(January 19, 2017) -- The cost of the US-led air war against the Islamic State has climbed to nearly $11 billion since its inception, the latest figures show.
By the end of 2016, the Defense Department had spent $10.72 billion on Operation Inherent Resolve since the mission began in June 2014, up from $5.5 billion for the period ending the previous year.
The Air Force shouldered about two-thirds of the costs, or more than $6 billion. The Army accounted for 17 percent; the Navy, 12 percent; and Special Operations Command, 8 percent.
Roughly 40 percent of all costs went to air support in the counterinsurgency fight, with more than 17,000 strikes launched to date. Munitions accounted for 22 percent of overall costs; logistical support was at 19 percent.
The US-led coalition launched one of the largest airstrikes against ISIS near Palmyra, Syria, on Dec. 8, destroying 168 enemy oil tankers. The following day, coalition aircraft also struck and destroyed 20 more tankers operating in the area.
Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, Air Forces Central Command commander, told The New York Times the operation, code-named Olympus, had been planned for weeks, with additional ISR aircraft such as the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System plotting the militants' every move.
"There would be a larger strategic message we sent to them: Nice try. We found you," Harrigian said. "Keep trying to hide; we will hunt you down again."
Yet June was the Air Force's busiest month so far during the campaign, with 3,160 weapons dropped over Iraq and Syria. Operations last summer hit an all-time high for the service.
During that period, the service deployed a wide variety of aircraft to the mission on three fronts — Fallujah and Mosul in Iraq, and Raqqa in Syria. The types of planes included the F-15E Strike Eagle; F-16 Fighting Falcon; B-52 Stratofortress; F-22 Raptor; and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft armed with Hellfire missiles, such as the MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper.
In both countries, the Islamic State has lost roughly half the territory it had seized since 2014, according to The New York Times.
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