20th C US wars - Costs of Major U.S Wars Stephen Daggett...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–3. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
CRS Report for Congress Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress Costs of Major U.S. Wars Stephen Daggett Specialist in Defense Policy and Budgets June 29, 2010 Congressional Research Service 7-5700 www.crs.gov RS22926
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Costs of Major U.S. Wars Congressional Research Service Summary This CRS report provides estimates of the costs of major U.S. wars from the American Revolution through current conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. It presents figures both in “current year dollars,” that is, in prices in effect at the time of each war, and in inflation- adjusted “constant dollars” updated to the most recently available estimates of FY2011 prices. All estimates are of the costs of military operations only and do not include costs of veterans benefits, interest paid for borrowing money to finance wars, or assistance to allies. The report also provides estimates of the cost of each war as a share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) during the peak year of each conflict and of overall defense spending as a share of GDP at the peak. Comparisons of war costs over a 230-year period, however, are inherently problematic. One problem is how to separate costs of military operations from costs of forces in peacetime. In recent years, the Department of Defense (DOD) has tried to identify the additional “incremental” expenses of engaging in military operations, over and above the costs of maintaining standing military forces. Figures used in this report for the costs of the Vietnam War and of the 1990-1991 Persian Gulf War are official DOD estimates of the incremental costs of each conflict. Costs of post-9/11 military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere are estimates of amounts appropriated to cover war-related expenses. These amounts appear to reflect a broader definition of war-related expenditures than earlier DOD estimates of incremental Vietnam or Persian Gulf War costs. Before the Vietnam conflict, the Army and Navy, and later the DOD, did not identify incremental expenses of military operations. For the War of 1812 through World War II, CRS estimated the costs of conflicts by calculating the increase in expenditures of the Army and Navy compared to the average of the three years before each war. The premise is that increases reflect the cost of a temporary buildup to fight each war. Costs of the Revolutionary War and of the Confederate side in the Civil War are from other published sources. Costs of the Korean War were calculated by comparing DOD expenditures during the war with a trend line extending from the average of three years before the war to the average of three years after the war. Figures are problematic, as well, because of difficulties in comparing prices from one vastly different era to another. Inflation is one issue—a dollar in the past would buy more than a dollar today. Perhaps a more significant problem is that wars appear vastly more expensive over time as the sophistication and cost of technology advances, both for military and for civilian purposes. The estimates presented in this report, therefore, should be treated, not as truly comparable
Background image of page 2
Image of page 3
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 05/24/2011 for the course ECON 488 taught by Professor Brunton during the Spring '11 term at James Madison University.

Page1 / 8

20th C US wars - Costs of Major U.S Wars Stephen Daggett...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 3. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online