Tuesday, December 1, 2009

U.S. Budget Deficits affect everything (including war)

Tonight President Obama will present the latest planned changes in the Afghanistan war strategy in a speech to be given at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.  There will likely be few surprises in the speech as the contents have been widely published already, including an increased 30,000 additional troops.  Today's Wall Street Journal contains an interesting article http://tiny.cc/vVaR1 on the economics of such troop additions.

A few numbers according to the article:
  • $1,000,000-  annual cost per soldier in Afghan theater (White House estimate)
  • $500,000-  annual cost per soldier in Afghan theater (Pentagon estimate)
  • $400 per gallon-  cost of fuel when delivered to certain Afghanistan locations
  • $1 per gallon-  cost of same fuel in the United States
  • $30 billion-  annual cost of 30,000 additional soldiers (per White House)
  • $3.6 billion-  present monthly cost of U.S. military deployment in Afghanistan
  • $65 billion and $61 billion-  Afghanistan and Iraq, respectively, Pentagon budget requests for fiscal year ending September 2010 (prior to tonight's announced troop additions) 
Expect these costs and the affect they will have on the already outsized U.S. budget deficit to be front and center in the debate over the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan.