Over a full year, the cost for the military surge could rise to $2.2 billion, according to the estimate.
Since the Oct. 7 terrorist attack, the Pentagon has ordered an additional aircraft carrier strike group, Marine-carrying amphibious ships, fighter jets, air defenses and hundreds of troops to the Middle East. Those forces initially served to deter additional groups from getting involved in the conflict, and more recently have been protecting civilian ships in the Red Sea from attacks by Houthi rebels.
But because lawmakers have not yet agreed on a full-year spending bill for the Defense Department, the military does not
have the money to pay for those unplanned operations, as POLITICO reported in November.
“It will be, I think, a hole that we would want to be filled,” said one of the officials. “It is a bill that will be due and we will have to pay for it within a limited amount of resources.”
Lawmakers are aware of the unplanned cost and are weighing how to pay for it. Options include adding it to the annual spending bill, adding it to the $111 billion emergency supplemental for Ukraine and Israel, or funding it through a stand-alone supplemental for war costs.
The cost to support the unplanned Middle East operations associated with the 120-day window between October and January totals $1.6 billion: $29.2 million in military personnel costs; $708.6 million in operations and maintenance; $528.4 million in procurement; $51.9 million in research, development, test and evaluation; and $248.5 million for transportation, pulled from the Department of Transportation’s working capital fund.
The Pentagon also projected the cost to maintain those operations for a full year, estimating a total price tag of $2.2 billion: $47.2 million in military personnel; $940.7 in operations and maintenance; $531.4 million in procurement; $96.1 million in research, development, test and evaluation; and $549.8 million in transportation.