Afghanistan Fact Sheet: The Numbers Behind the Troop Increase

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Christopher Hellman, Director of Research, (413) 584-9556 (o)

Afghanistan Fact Sheet: The Numbers Behind the Troop Increase

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama is making a major policy speech on Afghanistan tonight. According to numerous press reports, this speech will include his intention to significantly increase the number of U.S. forces deployed in the region to conduct combat operations and assist with the training of Afghanistan's national security forces.

 
The following are quick facts about the U.S. commitment in Afghanistan.
 
Funding Additional Troops
U.S. Troop Levels in Afghanistan – historical data
Annual Funding for U.S. Combat Operations in Afghanistan
Figures of U.S. Military Fatalities in Afghanistan
Link to NPP's “Cost of War” Counter
Issues to Consider As Troop Levels Increase
– Funding for Military vs. Non-military Activities
– Reliance on Private Contractors
– Stress on the “Total Force”
– Staffing a “Civilian Surge”
Additional Resources
 
 
Funding Additional Troops
 
Prior to Fiscal Year 2010, combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have been funded outside the normal Defense Department budget through “supplemental” spending bills. The Obama Administration pledged that it would end this practice after Fiscal Year 2009 and included, as part of its Fiscal Year 2010 budget request, a $130 billion request for “Overseas Contingency Operations,” the majority of which was dedicated to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
 
The Fiscal Year 2010 funding, which awaits final approval from Congress, does not include the funds that will be required to support any further increase in U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan. Thus it is very likely that the White House will again resort to a supplemental spending bill to secure additional war funding in the coming year.
 
It has been widely reported in recent weeks that both the Pentagon and the White House estimate that any additional forces sent to Afghanistan will require $1 billion per year for every 1,000 troops sent, or $1 million per soldier.
 
IN ALL, total funding for Afghanistan could exceed $325 billion in Fiscal Year 2010. (See “Annual Funding for U.S. Combat Operations in Afghanistan” below.)
 
U.S. Troop Levels in Afghanistan
 
Fiscal Year
Troops
2001
N/A
2002
5,200
2003
10,400
2004
15,200
2005
19,100
2006
20,400
2007
23,700
2008
30,100
2009
50,700
(Congressional Research Service estimate, as of July 2009)*
* It has been reported subsequently that there are roughly 62,000 U.S. troops currently in Afghanistan. This number is expected to grow to at least 68,000 by year's end. [“Gates Says Additional Local Forces May Be Needed In Afghan War,” Bloomberg News, September 1, 2009.]
NOTE: The Defense Department reports troop levels involved in military operations in several ways. The figures shown here are taken from the Pentagon's “Boots on the Ground” (BOG) reports to Congress. They reflect only personnel located in Afghanistan and do not include other personnel deployed as part of Operation “Enduring Freedom,” such as those providing logistical support in neighboring countries.
 
Source: “Troop Levels in the Afghan and Iraq Wars, FY2001-FY2012: Cost and Other Potential Issues,”CRS Report R40682, July 2, 2009, http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/R40682.pdf
 
 
Annual Funding for U.S. Combat
Operations in Afghanistan
 
Fiscal Year
$ in Billions
2001
N/A
2002
20.8
(See “NOTE” below)
2003
14.7
2004
14.5
2005
20
2006
19
2007
36.9
2008
42.1
2009
60.2
TOTAL
228.2*

* Of the $130 billion for Fiscal Year 2010 operations in Iraq and Afghanistan currently awaiting final approval by Congress, roughly half, or around $65 billion, will likely go to Afghanistan. This additional funding will not cover any further increases in troop levels that President Obama might request. Adding in the cost of 30,000 additional troops (an estimated $30 billion), together with Afghanistan's portion of the $130 billion, total funding for Afghanistan could exceed $325 billion in Fiscal Year 2010.

NOTE: 2002 figure includes both FY 2001 and 2002 funding.
 
Source: “The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror Operations Since 9/11,”
Congressional Research Service Report RL33110, Sept 28, 2009, http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/RL33110.pdf
 
 
U.S. Military Fatalities in Afghanistan
 
Year
U.S. Fatalities
2001
12
2002
49
2003
48
2004
52
2005
99
2006
98
2007
117
2008
155
2009
298*
TOTAL
928
*NOTE: As of November 30, 2009
###

The National Priorities Project (NPP) is a 501(c)(3) research organization that analyzes and clarifies federal data so that people can understand and influence how their tax dollars are spent.  Located in Northampton, MA, since 1983, NPP focuses on the impact of federal spending and other policies at the national, state, congressional district and local levels.  For more information, go to http://nationalpriorities.org.

Share This Article

More in: