US air war on ISIS costs $8.3m a day

2014-10-28 08:39

Washington - The Pentagon has revised its estimate of the cost of the US air war in Iraq and Syria, saying the price tag for the campaign against ISIS (Islamic Sate of Iraq and Syria) comes to about $8.3m a day.

Since air strikes began on 8 August, the campaign, which has involved about 6 600 sorties by US and allied aircraft has cost $580m, said Pentagon spokesperson Commander Bill Urban.

The defense department had previously put the average daily cost of the military operation at more than $7m a day.

The higher figure reflected the increased pace of air strikes and related flights, a defence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP.

But independent analysts say the defense department is underestimating the genuine cost of the war effort, which began in mid-June with the deployment of hundreds of US troops to secure the American embassy in Baghdad and to advise the Iraqi army.

Some former budget officials and outside experts estimate the cost of the war has already exceeded a billion dollars, and that it could rise to several billion dollars in a year's time.

Todd Harrison of the centre for strategic and budgetary assessments projected the war could cost $2.4 to $3.8bn a year, in an analysis issued on 29 September.

If the intensity of the bombing raids is expanded, the air war could cost as much as $4.2 to $6.8bn per year, according to Harrison's report.

One of the biggest drains on the budget for the air war is the large number of surveillance and reconnaissance flights that bombing raids require, analysts say.

The campaign, dubbed "operation inherent resolve", has seen thousands of spy flights and aerial refueling runs.

The cost of flying the spy planes range from about $1 000 an hour for Predator and Reaper drones to $7 000 an hour for high-altitude Global Hawk drones, or as much as $22 000 per hour for E-8 J-STAR (joint surveillance target radar attack system) aircraft.

Funds for the air war are coming out of the Pentagon's de facto war budget, the Overseas Contingency Operations fund.

Separate from the regular defense "base" budget, the OCO fund is often portrayed as a "credit card" to cover the costs of wars.

Congress increased the OCO budget to about $85bn for last fiscal year, ending 30 September. The proposed fund for the new fiscal year 2015 is due to drop to $54bn.

  • Abdul Khan - 2014-10-28 08:49

    Wonder how much of that is dedicated to their massive PR campaign, designed to fool the masses.

      Ewan Doyle - 2014-10-28 09:20

      Sorry Abdul, I forgot: we need to refer to your information sources to get the truth? Please enlighten us? Please dont quote again - tell us your 'truthful' sources - the whole world is waiting??

      Rashid Kara - 2014-10-28 09:45

      Ewan, you ranting now!!!!!!

      Abdul Khan - 2014-10-28 10:21

      Ewan i think you are confusing me with someone else, i have never read the news source you are talking about, so i could never have quoted it. Regarding what is going in in Syria, i honestly cannot tell you myself, but all i can say, is that the situation is very murky, and we are not being given an accurate representation.. so please excuse me for not believing everything i read.

      Ewan Doyle - 2014-10-28 12:30

      Come on Rashid and Abdul, you will believe anything that suits your anti-American/Israel agenda - irrespective of the source

      Abdul Khan - 2014-10-28 12:39

      Perhaps Ewan, just as you believe every anti Islamic agenda. I can personally relate, as i was brought up a muslim and refuse to accept the false labels placed on my religion.. since i know what my religion teaches is simply not i read sometimes in the media. Whereas, you are using what you read on the news toi come to your conclusions, instead of personal experience, which is far more profound and has many more imlpications.

      Hosni Mubar - 2014-10-28 13:41

      Rashid and Abdul prefer to lazilly, ignorantly and irresponsibly blame the US. Nothing about the millions of deaths and untold suffering caused by members of their own community to their own community and the world at large in the centuries-old Shia-Sunni fight.

      Ewan Doyle - 2014-10-28 14:12

      Totally agree with you Hosni. One cannot debate with them

      Ewan Doyle - 2014-10-28 14:13

      Totally agree with you Hosni. One cannot debate with them

  • Sean Mitchell - 2014-10-28 09:22

    The arms industry only makes up 3.8% of the USA economy. I think the harping on about a military industrial complex is a bit worn out.

      Warren - 2014-10-28 10:39

      I happen to think the price tag above is cheap: to my knowledge only one American life has been lost too. They question is not just how much it costs, but how effective it is.

      Hosni Mubar - 2014-10-28 13:50

      To think that the freer world is taking primary responsibility for a key element and by-product of the Shia-Sunni fight that hs been raging for 1,200 years. Incredibly irresponsible of the Muslim community.

  • Sean Mitchell - 2014-10-28 09:24

    Abdul. Your comment is meaningless and without value.

      Abdul Khan - 2014-10-28 09:46

      It was meant as a lighthearted comment tbh, but what is funny is that there definitely is a certain element of truth to my statement. There is a PR campaign, whether small or big.. you can decide

      Rashid Kara - 2014-10-28 09:48

      Sean, don't refute the comment, its got true merit, think about it!!!! a

      Hosni Mubar - 2014-10-28 13:56

      Sadly, Rashid, it is you who is being fooled. Plus you are being incredibly irresponsible to the point of almost causing the untold suffering of your own community and infectation of that suffering on the world at large.

  • Sean Mitchell - 2014-10-28 10:18

    That's cool Abdul

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