Military spending Syria

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On September 16, during a Senate meeting, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel declared[1] that the cost of training 5,000 Syrian rebels in the course of one year to reclaim control over the territories in Eastern Syria from the self-proclaimed Islamic State will amount to a staggering figure of 500 million dollars.

Ten days later, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey[2] pointed out that the initial number of 5,000 rebels discussed represents a significantly lower figure than what is considered necessary - therefore, the U.S. envisions a number of 12,000 - 15,000 Syrian "trainees" at a sensibly higher final price.

Currently there is no clear estimate of the costs that the U.S. involvement in Syria will entail. Apparently, the operations are also being planned on a seemingly open time frame which leaves one clinging budget-wise to the hopes raised by President Obama:

"…American forces will not have a combat mission -- we will not get dragged into another ground war in Iraq. [The strategy] will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil."[3]

The U.S. involvement in Syria recently benefits from the support of the British Parliament that voted 524 to 43[4] in favor of aiding the air campaign at Prime-Minister David Cameron's initiative on Friday[5]. The general understanding revolves around the idea of long-term action, given as the training of the Syrian rebels must be done "right, not fast"[6]. However, the honorable practice of doing things right in such matters is usually ghastly expensive, albeit hopefully efficient.

According to the Pentagon, the U.S. involvement in Syria costs (and will continue to cost) approximately 7 - 10 million dollars a day[7]. If one were to judge this figure by the 2014 budget, worries would be put to rest. However, the 2015 budget was built around the idea that the U.S. military actions abroad are decreasing in number and expense, clearly a miscalculation judging by recent events.

Fast-forwarding to 2016 and glancing back at the unexpected costs of 2015, one cannot help but wonder whether there will be serious Defense budget issues at hand to be tackled perhaps alongside with popular discontent regarding a new war abroad.

As Martin Dempsey eloquently stated, the answer would be: "Yes."[8]

 

[1] "Dempsey Opens Door to Potential U.S. Ground Combat Role" by John Hudson, September 16, 2014, available at http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2014/09/16/top_military_officer_raises_possibility_of_us_troop_involvement_on_ground_in_iraq;

[2] "Extended Anti-ISIS Mission Will Strain Pentagon Budget" by Kate Brannen, September 26, 2014, available at http://complex.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2014/09/26/extended_anti_isis_mission_will_strain_pentagon_budget;

[3] "Dempsey Opens Door to Potential U.S. Ground Combat Role" by John Hudson, September 16, 2014, available at http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2014/09/16/top_military_officer_raises_possibility_of_us_troop_involvement_on_ground_in_iraq;

[4] "MPs support UK air strikes against IS in Iraq" by Nick Robinson, September 26, 2014, available at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-29385123;

[5] "Cameron urges parliament to back 'years' of Iraq action" by Katherine Haddon, September 26, 2014, available at http://news.yahoo.com/british-mps-vote-joining-iraq-airstrikes-021753967.html;

[6] Martin Dempsey quoted in "Extended Anti-ISIS Mission Will Strain Pentagon Budget" by Kate Brannen, September 26, 2014, available at http://complex.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2014/09/26/extended_anti_isis_mission_will_strain_pentagon_budget;

[7] "Extended Anti-ISIS Mission Will Strain Pentagon Budget" by Kate Brannen, September 26, 2014, available at http://complex.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2014/09/26/extended_anti_isis_mission_will_strain_pentagon_budget;

[8] Ibidem.

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