Tallying the Cost of the Wars

The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have cost the US a total of $904 billion, from 2001 to 2009, according to a new study released Monday by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. CSBA’s Steven Kosiak said he drew data not just from DOD but also from the Congressional Research Service and Congressional Budget Office, attempting to provide a tally and critique previous estimates as an aid to understanding the total war costs. He said the lion’s share of the costs—$816 billion—is lumped under the category military operations (DOD), with the remainder under indigenous security forces ($40 billion), foreign assistance and diplomatic activities ($45 billion), and veterans affairs ($3 billion). The study provides a very speculative range of $416 billion to $817 billion for the outyears 2009-18, said Kosiak, adding: “We tended to be conservative in what we considered as the costs of war. Even then, the costs are quite large.”