The United States is expected to spend nearly $6 trillion through 2018 on government-wide costs related to the wars waged in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria since 2001, reveals a study by Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs.
According to Brown University’s Cost of War project analysis, authored by Neta Crawford, the total estimated cost of U.S. wars between 2001 and 2018 amounts to about $23,386 per individual American taxpayer, which is more than three times the amount ($7,740) calculated by the Pentagon.
The Pentagon’s study, dubbed the “Estimated Cost to Each Taxpayer for the Wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria,” places the total authorized war spending on those conflicts between 2001 and 2018 at $1.5 trillion.
Unlike assessments conducted by the Pentagon and other analysts, Crawford’s estimate takes into account trillions in conflict-linked spending appropriated mainly through the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security, State, Defense, and Veteran Affairs.
On top of direct war spending through the Pentagon, the Brown University study includes $880 billion in new base defense costs linked to combat operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria, in addition to nearly $780 billion in Department of Homeland Security costs.
Moreover, the study notes that spending on veterans benefits has increased by nearly $300 billion since 2001 due to those wars.