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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

How Much Will the Surge Cost?

The CBO released estimates today of the costs of the escalation in Iraq:

Statement of J. Michael Gilmore Assistant Director for National Security, Estimating the Costs of Military Operations in Iraq, CBO: ...This testimony will briefly discuss CBO’s estimate of the costs of the President’s plan and other scenarios for increasing forces in the theater. It will also discuss some of the budgeting and reporting issues that make it difficult for CBO to estimate the costs of military operations in Iraq. ...

At the request of the House Armed Services and Budget Committees, CBO has estimated the incremental cost of the President’s plan to increase the number of military personnel deployed to Iraq under different scenarios... CBO estimates that costs would range from $9 billion to $13 billion for a four-month deployment and from $20 billion to $27 billion for a 12-month deployment, depending upon the total number of troops deployed and including additional costs that would be incurred during the build-up and ramp-down periods. Those incremental costs would be in addition to the $8 billion to $10 billion per month in obligations that the current level of activities in Iraq have required...

A substantially longer deployment would cost much more. A 48,000-person increase in deployed forces sustained for 24 months would cost $49 billion, in CBO’s estimation; a corresponding 35,000-person increase would cost about $26 billion.

CBO’s analysis does not incorporate any effect on federal tax revenues from an increase in the number of troops serving in combat zones, nor does it include any indirect effects on spending (from changes in veterans’ benefits, for example)

Finally, CBO’s analysis does not address the effects that sustaining such increases in deployed forces would have on military readiness and other operational considerations. ...

How much is this? A lot, and as noted, not all costs are included. Here's some perspective from the CBO's budget outlook:

Family Support. Spending for family support programs— grants to states to help fund welfare programs, child support enforcement, and child care entitlements—is projected to ...[be] $24 billion in 2007... The largest program in this category, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), is capped by law at roughly $17 billion per year. ...

So the cost of the escalation is roughly equivalent to total spending on family support programs such as welfare.

    Posted by on Tuesday, February 6, 2007 at 10:08 AM in Budget Deficit, Economics, Iraq and Afghanistan | Permalink  TrackBack (0)  Comments (56)

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