The Cost of Fighting ISIS


By Debbie Gregory.

According to the Pentagon, the Defense Department spent more than $5 billion on operations related to the Islamic State (IS or ISIS) in Iraq and Syria. This averages out to approximately $11 million a day from September 2014 though the end November, 2015.

Even though the conflict in Afghanistan is winding down, over $35 billion was earmarked for the conflict for fiscal year 2015. Another $30 billion was allocated for a Pentagon fund not directly related to conflict, but used to evade legislated budget caps.

Since 2001, a total of approximately $715 billion has been allocated to the war in Afghanistan, with the war in Iraq costing $1.64 trillion. These figures are based on funding for the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account. This includes both military and non-military OCO spending, such as reconstruction and funds for the Department of State.

Operation Inherent Resolve has conducted a total of 8,912 airstrikes, about two thirds of them in Iraq and the rest in Syria. The vast majority in both countries were flown by U.S. aircraft. Each strike can include sorties by multiple aircraft; the total number of sorties by Dec. 12, the Pentagon said, was 60,735.

The Air Force is spending more than any other service on the fight, firing off more than 20,000 missiles and bombs since the U.S. bombing campaign against ISIS began 15 months ago.

Slightly more than half of the $5.36 billion total went to daily air operations, with $1.26 billion spent on munitions. This has led to depleted munitions stockpiles and calls to ramp up funding and weapons production, as munitions depot stocks are below the desired objective.

The balance was spent mostly on logistics and military pay.

One study estimated the total costs of U.S. wars through 2014 in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan at $4.4 trillion “and counting.”