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Paying for War: Funding U.S. Military Operations Since 2001

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Doctoral thesis

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From 2001 through 2011, the United States allocated about 1.2 trillion to the DoD to conduct worldwide military operations that primarily focused on Afghanistan and Iraq. The funding for previous prolonged military operations in Korea and Vietnam was incorporated into the base budget within a few years however, the U.S. government has continued to use separate budgetary titles to allocate resources for operations since 2001. Through 2009, emergency supplemental appropriations provided most of the funding for operations while a separate title in the annual appropriations bill has been used to allocate most of the wartime funding since then. This dissertation analyzes the outcomes of using separate budgets for military operations. The dissertation begins with an examination of the period when emergency supplemental appropriations were the primary instrument used for allocating funds for military operations. The continued use of supplemental appropriations weakened the normal checks between executive and legislative participants in the budgetary process. Wartime supplemental appropriations were used to introduce defense policy changes, augment annual defense budgets, and provide a convenient way to pass additional legislation that was often unrelated to operations and was politically contentious. The next part of the dissertation examines how recent wartime budgets influenced different portions of the annual defense budget. Changes made to personnel policies in wartime budgets introduced large costs into the annual defense budget. Also, the migration of some costs from the base budget into wartime budgets and the introduction of new programs into wartime budgets will likely lead to additional claims on the base budget as operations end. The dissertation concludes with an analysis of how the Army should manage its fleet of MRAP vehicles after operations in Iraq and Afghanistan cease, and an examination of how U.S. military operations should be funded in the future.

Subject Categories:

  • Administration and Management
  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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