Watchdog: Cost of ISIS war nearing $1 billion

The cost of the military campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is crossing the $1 billion mark, according to a group that tracks federal spending.

The National Priorities Project has a fast-ticking clock that documents the estimated cost of the U.S. operations against ISIS, which now involves advisers and airstrikes. As of Monday morning, the counter was at $999,500,000.

“Every hour, taxpayers in United States are paying $312,500 for cost of military action against ISIS,” the group says.

ADVERTISEMENT
The group notes that $1 billion isn’t a huge amount for the Pentagon, amounting to around 1 percent of the Defense Department’s annual budget.

Still, the cost of the war against ISIS is expected to grow, particularly since Obama administration officials have warned the campaign could take years.

The Pentagon hasn't given complete numbers on how much it has spent so far battling ISIS. Spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters last week the war had cost roughly $424 million, but that was only since airstrikes were first launched on Aug. 8. 

That total didn’t include the amount spent since mid-June, when President Obama first authorized U.S. troops to deploy to the region to help advise Iraqi forces on the Islamic group. 

Kirby said operations have cost an average of $7.6 million per day. If that amount has been spent every day since mid-June, then the U.S. has spent about $1 billion so far.  

A report last month from the nonpartisan Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments estimated the war could cost between $2.4 billion and $22 billion per year depending on a possible increase in U.S. troops. 

Defense Secretary Chuck HagelChuck HagelHagel says NATO deployment could spark a new Cold War with Russia Overnight Defense: House panel unveils 5B defense spending bill Hagel to next president: We need to sit down with Putin MORE, meanwhile, recently said the administration would ask Congress for more money to pay for the battle against ISIS.