The Pentagon says it has spent at least $1 trillion prosecuting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and defending the U.S. homeland, according to newly released Defense Department figures through April 30.
Spending growth on Afghanistan operations helped push the Pentagon over the $1 trillion mark, increasing to $6.2 billion per month in April from $4.3 billion in the first two months of fiscal 2011 that began Oct. 1. Afghanistan spending in fiscal 2009, as Barack Obama became president, averaged $3.9 billion per month.
The spending total includes war-related operations, transportation, special combat pay and benefits, food, medical services, maintenance, replacement of lost combat equipment and building the Iraq and Afghanistan security forces.
Still, the $1 trillion does not include about $95 billion in funds appropriated but still to put on contract or paid to personnel to cover operational costs over the rest of the fiscal year as well as procurement of replacement weapons systems and construction that take years to spend, said Amy Belasco, a Congressional Research Service budget expert.
It also does not include about $100 billion the Pentagon excludes as not ‘war-related,’ such as intelligence, Belasco said. Nor does it include long-term costs for Veterans Administration care, disability costs for wounded Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, or all reconstruction funding for the war- damaged countries.