by Rebecca Kheel
November 14, 2018
from TheHill Website



Getty Images

The United States is on track to have spent nearly $6 trillion on war since the Sept. 11, 2001, 'terrorist' attacks, according to a report released Wednesday.

The annual analysis from the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs (WIIPA) at Brown University far exceeds Pentagon estimates because it looks at all war-related costs - including the Pentagon's war fund, related spending at the State Department, veterans care and interest payments - for military operations in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

"We were told to expect wars that would be quick, cheap, effective and beneficial to the U.S. interest," study author Neta Crawford said at a Capitol Hill news conference.


"Because we finance these wars on a credit card, the costs of the wars themselves pose a national security challenge."

The study (Costs of War through FY2019) estimates that war-related spending through fiscal 2019 will total $4.9 trillion. Another projected $1 trillion for veterans care through fiscal 2059 brings the total to $5.9 trillion, according to the study.

Should the wars continue through fiscal 2023, total costs will be more than $6.7 trillion, the study added, citing the Pentagon's projected future years' spending and likely needs for veterans.

"It's important for the American people to understand the true costs of war, both the moral and monetary costs," Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) said in a statement.


"Our nation continues to finance wars and military operations through borrowing, rather than asking people to contribute to the national defense directly, and the result is a serious fiscal drag that we're not really accounting for or factoring into deliberations about fiscal policy or military policy."

The latest Pentagon estimate pegged its costs in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria since 9/11 at $1.5 trillion, according to its August report to Congress.

The Watson Institute study says the Pentagon and State Department war funds for Iraq and Afghanistan make up $1.8 trillion of its total alone, with,

  • Iraq costing $822 billion

  • Afghanistan costing $975 billion

  • Syria has cost $54 billion

  • Pakistan has cost $10 billion

  • the post-9/11 homeland security mission known as Operation Noble Eagle has cost $23 billion

  • other war funds for Africa and Europe have cost $137 billion,

...the study adds.

In addition to spending, the study (Human Cost of the Post-9/11 Wars) estimates the total death toll in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan related to U.S. military operations since 9/11 at between 480,000 and 507,000.


The number includes,

  • U.S. military personnel

  • Pentagon civilians

  • U.S. contractors

  • allied forces

  • civilians

  • opposition forces

  • journalists

  • humanitarian workers,

...and others.





Pentagon Fails

...its First-ever Audit - Official Says...
by Idrees Ali and Mike Stone
November 15, 2018
from Reuters Website




The Pentagon in Washington, U.S.,

is seen from aboard Air Force One,

March 29, 2018.


Yuri Gripas - RC125AF3E6D0


The Pentagon has failed what is being called its first-ever comprehensive audit, a senior official said on Thursday, finding U.S. Defense Department accounting discrepancies that could take years to resolve.

Results of the inspection - conducted by some 1,200 auditors and examining financial accounting on a wide range of spending including on weapons systems, military personnel and property - were expected to be completed later in the day.

"We failed the audit, but we never expected to pass it," Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan told reporters, adding that the findings showed the need for greater discipline in financial matters within the Pentagon.

"It was an audit on a $2.7 trillion dollar organization, so the fact that we did the audit is substantial," Shanahan added.

The U.S. defense budget for the 2018 fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30 was about $700 billion.


The Pentagon is a huge agency with,

  • multiple branches of the military

  • costly weapons systems

  • large personnel needs

  • numerous military bases of various sizes at home and abroad

  • troops deployed in far-flung locales...

Patrick Shanahan said areas the Pentagon must improve upon based on the audit results include compliance with cybersecurity policies and improving inventory accuracy.


In a briefing with reporters, he did not provide a figure detailing how much money was unaccounted for in the audit.

It was unclear what consequences there would be after the audit, but Shanahan said the focus would be on fixing the issues.

"We need to develop our plans to address the findings and actually put corrective actions in place," Shanahan said.

"Some of the compliance issues are irritating to me... The point of the audit is to drive better discipline in our compliance with our management systems and procedures," Shanahan added.

A 1990 federal law mandated that U.S. government agencies be audited, but the Pentagon had not faced a comprehensive audit until this one was launched in December.

Defense officials and outside experts have said it may be years before the Pentagon is able to fix its accounting gaps and errors and pass an audit.

"To clarify, the audit is not a 'pass-fail' process. We did not receive an 'adverse' finding - the lowest possible category - in any area," U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Buccino, a Pentagon spokesman, said in an email.


"We did receive findings of 'disclaimer' in multiple areas. Clearly more work lies ahead of us," Buccino added.