Terrorism War: The Cost of Military Operations in the GWOT
by Jim Kouri, CPP
Since 2001, the US Congress has provided the Department of Defense with hundreds of billions of dollars in supplemental and annual appropriations for military operations in support of the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT).
DOD's reported annual costs for the GWOT have shown a steady increase from about $0.2 billion in fiscal year 2001 to about $98.4 billion in fiscal year 2006. So far in fiscal year 2007, Congress has provided DOD with $70 billion in annual appropriations for the GWOT. To continue its GWOT operations, DOD has requested an additional $93.4 billion in supplemental appropriations for fiscal year 2007 and $141.7 billion in appropriations for fiscal year 2008.
The United States' commitments to GWOT will likely involve the continued investment of significant resources, requiring decision makers to consider difficult trade-offs as the nation faces an increasing long-range fiscal challenge. The magnitude of future costs will depend on several direct and indirect cost variables and, in some cases, decisions that have not yet been made.
DOD's future costs will likely be affected by the pace and duration of operations, the types of facilities needed to support troops overseas, redeployment plans, and the amount of equipment to be repaired or replaced. DOD compiles and reports monthly and cumulative incremental obligations incurred to support GWOT in a monthly Supplemental and Cost of War Execution Report. DOD leadership uses this report, along with other information, to advise Congress on the costs of the war and to formulate future GWOT budget requests.
DOD reports these obligations by appropriation, contingency operation, and military service or defense agency. The monthly cost reports are typically compiled in the 45 days after the end of the reporting month in which the obligations are incurred. DOD has prepared monthly reports on the obligations incurred for its involvement in GWOT since fiscal year 2001.
Section 1221 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006 requires the Government Accounting Office to submit quarterly updates to Congress on the costs of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom based on DOD's monthly Supplemental and Cost of War Execution Reports.
From fiscal year 2001 through April 2007, Congress has provided DOD with about $454 billion for its efforts in support of GWOT. DOD has reported obligations of about $407.1 billion for military operations in support of the war from fiscal years 2001 through 2006 and from the beginning of fiscal year 2007 through February 2007, the latest available data.
The $46.9 billion difference between DOD's GWOT appropriations and reported obligations can generally be attributed to certain fiscal year 2007 appropriations and multiyear funding for procurement; military construction; and research, development, test, and evaluation from previous GWOT-related appropriations that have yet to be obligated, and obligations for classified activities, which are not included in DOD's reported obligations. DOD's total reported obligations related to GWOT have demonstrated a steady annual increase each fiscal year through 2006.
Sources: US Department of Defense, Security Management Institute, Government Accounting Office
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.