Each Afghan-deployed US troop will cost some $2 million during the final months of the US military's campaign there, according to a newly-published Pentagon budget assessment.
Since 2008, the average cost, per troop, has remained at approximately $1.3 million but, factoring in a revised war budget, that figure is now set to rise significantly.
According to the US Defense Department, the increased per-troop cost mirrors changing circumstances and includes the finances involved in transporting/shipping personnel and equipment back to US soil.
Todd Harrison from the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Analysis contests that statement. In comments published by the Defence Once website, he stresses that such troop and equipment movements have been a part of earlier budget years.
US Troop Cost Rises
Besides commenting on the reported US troop cost rises, Harrison, the new Pentagon budget study's author, also describes the present moment as "a very chaotic time for the defense budget" and questions the ongoing need for certain military technologies in the post-Afghanistan era.
The likes of the MQ-9 Reaper and MQ-1 Predator have proved highly useful assets in Afghanistan's skies but don't necessarily have a role in the Asia-Pacific region - the US military's next key focus area - Harrison believes. Instead, he expects the emphasis to be more on stealth than reconnaissance.
Afghan-Deployed US Troops
Initiated in July 2011, the US Armed Forces' Afghan troop drawdown is scheduled to be finished by December 2014. After the Afghan-deployed US troops have left, explained US President Barack Obama in his most recent State of the Union Address: "...America's commitment to a unified and sovereign Afghanistan will endure, but the nature of our commitment will change."
Obama continued: "We're negotiating an agreement with the Afghan government that focuses on two missions - training and equipping Afghan forces so that the country does not again slip into chaos, and counter-terrorism efforts that allow us to pursue the remnants of al-Qaeda and their affiliates."