How much would an Afghan surge cost? The Pentagon estimates that sending additional troops to Afghanistan will cost $500,000 per year for each additional service member sent over, but the White House estimated a cost of twice that much, underscoring the different priorities and calculation methods for each group. As the Pentagon pushes for an increase of as many as 40,000 troops, sticker shock is a consideration, while the White House wouldn't want to underestimate costs and then lose the public's faith. For Obama's part, he's promised not to take war costs off the federal budget books. The White House's assessment includes everything it deems necessary to wage war, including troop housing and equipment. Pentagon budgets tend to include higher combat wages, extra aircraft hours, and other operations, but generally omit new weapons purchases—a one-time cost, support equipment, and the cost of new bases. Although this time around, the Pentagon broke with tradition and included construction and equipment in its current estimates. It's not easy to make up a budget by looking into the past either—many chunks are paid through emergency measures, and thus omitted from budget totals.
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