Sunday, September 28, 2014

Estimating the Cost of Operations against ISIL

My CSBA colleagues John Stillion, Eric Lindsey, Jacob Cohn, and I put together an estimate of the cost of operations against ISIL.  As we point out in the paper, there is a high degree of uncertainty about how these operations will unfold.  Below is a table summarizing our estimates for three notional scenarios.  A more detailed description, of each option and our methodology is provided in the paper.  One thing to note is that under all three scenarios, the two largest cost drivers are the number of ISR sorties and ground forces deployed.

Monthly Cost
Annualized Cost
Lower-Intensity Air Campaign
(90 ISR sorties per day; 2,000 ground troops)
$200M - $320M
$2.4B - $3.8B
Higher-Intensity Air Campaign
(120 ISR sorties per day; 5,000 ground troops)
$350M - $570M
$4.2B - $6.8B
Boots on the Ground
(150 ISR sorties per day; 25,000 ground troops)
$1.1B - $1.8B
$13B - $22B