Where did the $ 5 trillion spent in Afghanistan and Iraq go?Here it is | Linda J. Bilms

Washington, if any, while arguing about what was achieved 20 years later Almost $ 5tn There is one clear winner spent in the “eternal war”: the US defense industry.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. military relied unprecedentedly on private contractors for assistance in virtually all areas of war operations. Contractors provided trucks, planes, fuels, helicopters, ships, drones, weapons, munitions, and provided support services from catering and construction to IT and logistics.Number of on-site contractors a lot US military for most years of conflict. By the summer of 2020, the United States had 22,562 contractors in Afghanistan. This is about twice as many as the US military.

The gravy train for the defense industry was also fueled by the way war budgets and payments were made. Congress used “urgent” and “urgent” funds to circumvent the normal budgeting process. During the first decade of the conflict, the United States used emergency budgetary measures. This is usually reserved for one-off crises such as floods and hurricanes. Detailed spending monitoring was minimal. And because this type of spending is excluded from budget forecasts and deficit estimates, everyone was able to maintain the pretense that the war was about to end.

As a result, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates Called “Infinite money culture” in the Pentagon. The Pentagon has made an operational decision. I managed the contractor’s bidding process. Awarded a contract (mainly using non-competitive bidding). We kept at least 10% of our wartime funds in a classified account.

Even the 2008 financial crisis couldn’t prevent spending. Parliament has imposed full spending caps on government programs, but war spending has been specifically excluded. The Pentagon was able to use a special “accidental” war budget to purchase upgrades, services, and new equipment that had little to do with Iraq or Afghanistan. As a result, the Pentagon’s budget continues to grow, double Size from 2001 to 2020.

Defense stock Outperform During the Afghanistan War, the surge in war spending enabled a wave of industry integration, resulting in a nearly 60% increase in the overall stock market. Big Five (Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman) and a few other companies have acquired next-stage manufacturers such as Hughes Aircraft and McDonnell Douglas.

Big Five in one year until June 2020 Accounting Almost one-third of the $ 480 billion that the Pentagon requires contractors in the defense industry.I went only a small part of these sales In particular For Iraq and Afghanistan, the conflict was in great favor of all major defense contractors. Lockheed Martin, for example, manufactured the widely used Blackhawk helicopter in Afghanistan. Boeing sold aircraft and land combat vehicles. Raytheon has won a major contract to train the Afghan Air Force. Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics provided electronics and communications equipment. Thousands of subcontractors around the world have made money by selling night-vision goggles, engines, sandbags, telecommunications equipment, and all sorts of things to war effort. The Pentagon was the only largest fuel purchaser in the world, so oil companies around the world were the major beneficiaries of the war.

Meanwhile, the defense sector spent more than $ 2.4 billion Lobbying It has been a parliament since 2001 and has made direct election donations to most members.

Not surprisingly, much of the wartime spending was very wasteful.Inspectors in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Wartime Contracts Commission, and the Pentagon’s own inspectors are all documentation Waste, profit, corruption, and “ghost spending” (money spent on activities that prove to be completely nonexistent).

According to government analysts Net As a result of the large-scale private sector involvement in Iraq Afghanistan It was to significantly increase the cost of war operations. Much of the $ 145 billion in reconstruction funding was spent on suspicious projects that seemed over-budgeted or simply couldn’t be explained. Many of these projects, which are now destroyed and dilapidated, have cluttered their homepages in the past week.

This may be the end of the US presence on the ground. But America still needs to digest huge price tags. The war was fully paid in debt, not the first tax increase in US military history, but the United States still owes $ 2 trillion in debt. Future veterans’ interests.. This economic hangover is exacerbated by the need to replace destroyed or simply left behind and pay for the weapons and equipment purchased during the last 20 years of GoGo defense costs. The legacy of defense spending overeating after 9/11 will continue to eat up US budgets for the next few years.

  • Professor Linda J. Bilms is Chairman of Harvard University’s Public Policy and Finance Daniel Patrick Moynihan and a former Assistant Secretary of Commerce. She is a co-author of the $ 3 Trillion War (with Joseph E. Stiglitz): Iraq Conflict

Where did the $ 5 trillion spent in Afghanistan and Iraq go?Here it is | Linda J. Bilms

Source link Where did the $ 5 trillion spent in Afghanistan and Iraq go?Here it is | Linda J. Bilms

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