Friday, March 2, 2012

Something is Wrong when a U.S. Soldier Costs $1 Million a Year

According to CNN, the Pentagon comptroller said during a congressional budget meeting that it cost "about $850,000 per soldier" per year in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments reached a more expensive conclusion: $1.2 million per soldier per year. The estimate is supposed to increase for 2012.

The Pentagon comptroller, Department of Defense undersecretary Robert Hale, said higher weapons operating costs were "a good part that's probably 50 percent of the budget" when explaining the $850,000 per-soldier statistic.

Something is wrong when the U.S. is spending around $1 million per soldier per year to fight in Afghanistan. It's more wrong when we're getting "probably" and "a good part" and other ambiguous terminology. While I'm struggling to pay my rent on a public school teacher's salary, I want to know why the Department of Defense lacks hard-and-fast figures on its overseas spending.

I want to know who allowed military spending to swell to the point that enough was being spent per individual soldier to pay 21 Americans at home a comfortable $40,500 annual salary.

Weapons operating costs? Are they firing shells of pure gold? Platinum bayonets? Are Humvees suddenly being made by Rolls-Royce? Read More