Secrecy News

Post-9/11 War Costs Reach $1.6 Trillion

The U.S. has spent $1.6 trillion on post-9/11 military operations, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and other counterterrorism activities, according to a new report from the Congressional Research Service.

“Based on funding enacted from the 9/11 attacks through FY2014, CRS estimates a total of $1.6 trillion has been provided to the Department of Defense, the State Department and the Department of Veterans Administration for war operations, diplomatic operations and foreign aid, and medical care for Iraq and Afghan war veterans over the past 13 years of war,” the report said. See “The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror Operations Since 9/11,” December 8, 2014.

The CRS report provides detailed tabulations of funding by agency, operation and fiscal year, along with appropriation source and functional breakdown. An appendix provides a monthly listing of U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan and Iraq, among other hard-to-find data assembled by CRS.

Ideally, the record compiled in the 100-page CRS report would serve as the basis for a comprehensive assessment of U.S. military spending since 9/11: To what extent was the expenditure of $1.6 trillion in this way justified? How much of it actually achieved its intended purpose? How much could have been better spent in other ways?

There is little sign of a systematic inquiry along these lines, but the CRS report identifies various “questions that Congress may wish to raise about future war costs,” as well as legislative options that could be considered.

The findings of the CRS report were reported on December 19 by Bloomberg News.

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Other noteworthy new reports from the Congressional Research Service that Congress has withheld from online public distribution include the following.

Russian Compliance with the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty: Background and Issues for Congress, December 16, 2014

Economic Crisis in Russia, CRS Insights, December 17, 2014

Overview of Selected Federal Criminal Civil Rights Statutes, December 16, 2014

Ebola: Selected Legal Issues, December 16, 2014

Cybersecurity Issues and Challenges: In Brief, December 16, 2014

The 2013 Cybersecurity Executive Order: Overview and Considerations for Congress, December 15, 2014

Federal Research and Development Funding: FY2015, December 17, 2014

Border Security: Immigration Enforcement Between Ports of Entry, December 18, 2014

Radio Broadcasting Chips for Smartphones: A Status Report, December 15, 2014

Mexico: Background and U.S. Relations, December 16, 2014

The Islamic State in Egypt: Implications for U.S.-Egyptian Relations, CRS Insights, December 18, 2014