The chair of the Department of Political Science at Boston University estimates that, as of fiscal year 2019, the U.S. will have to spend $5.9T to pay for all the wars the country has been involved in following the 9/11 terror attacks.
Professor Neta Crawford, who also serves as the director of the Costs of War Project at BU, breaks down this cost projection in detail in a recently-released paper titled “United States Budgetary Costs of the Post-9/11 Wars Through FY2019: $5.9 Trillion Spent and Obligated”.
Crawford’s computation factors in not just the Defense Department’s war funding since FY 2001, which, on its own, amounts to roughly $1.9T as of FY 2019, but also war-related expenses across the federal government — such as those incurred by the State Department and the Homeland Security Department — bringing the running total to roughly $4.9T.
Crawford then incorporates the cost of having to take care of U.S. veterans in the next few decades, an obligation that the professor says would amount to around $1T.
Crawford notes, however, that actual costs would likely be higher since there is no projected end date for U.S. overseas contingency operations.
Crawford estimates an additional $808B in war expenses through FY2023.