America

Adding Up The Cost Of Military Action In Libya

The USS Barry launches a Tomahawk missile in support of Operation Odyssey Dawn. This was one of approximately 110 cruise missiles fired from U.S. and British ships and submarines targetting about 20 radar and anti-aircraft sites along Libya's Mediterranean coast. i i

hide captionThe USS Barry launches a Tomahawk missile in support of Operation Odyssey Dawn. This was one of approximately 110 cruise missiles fired from U.S. and British ships and submarines targetting about 20 radar and anti-aircraft sites along Libya's Mediterranean coast.

U.S. Navy/Getty Images
The USS Barry launches a Tomahawk missile in support of Operation Odyssey Dawn. This was one of approximately 110 cruise missiles fired from U.S. and British ships and submarines targetting about 20 radar and anti-aircraft sites along Libya's Mediterranean coast.

The USS Barry launches a Tomahawk missile in support of Operation Odyssey Dawn. This was one of approximately 110 cruise missiles fired from U.S. and British ships and submarines targetting about 20 radar and anti-aircraft sites along Libya's Mediterranean coast.

U.S. Navy/Getty Images

In missiles alone, the first day of enforcing the no-fly zone over Libya cost the United States $100 million. That's an estimate from the National Journal, which took a long look at how much the U.S. could expect to spend over the course of these attacks:

The ultimate total that the United States spends will hinge on the length and scope of the strikes as well as on the contributions of its coalition allies. But Todd Harrison, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, said on Monday that the U.S. costs could "easily pass the $1 billion mark on this operation, regardless of how well things go."

The Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments bills itself as non-partisan and it just released a report that looks at the possible costs of different scenarios.

But perhaps the most interesting part of the report is when it looks back at how much no-fly zones have cost the U.S. in the past.

In Kosovo, in 1999, Operation Noble Anvil, which was "designed to destroy Serbian military infrastructure, including its air defenses," lasted nearly three months and cost the United States $1.9 billion or $2.4 billion in today's money.

In Iraq, where the U.S. and its allies enforced a no-fly zone from 1991 to 2003, the report found that the cost of enforcing that no-fly zone over a land area of 104,600 square miles averaged $1.3 billion (adjusted) a year from 1996 to 2001.

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