Leadership: Money Games in Iraq


January25, 2007: The cost of the Iraq war has gone from $4.4 billion a month in 2003, to $8 billion a month in 2006. Why the increase? A large part of it is wear and tear on equipment. Helicopters and armored vehicles have taken a real beating in the heat and dust. These vehicles must be repaired, maintained and refurbished. But another, less publicized, reason is that the U.S. Army is using the refurbishment as an opportunity to upgrade equipment. Older parts and components, especially electronics, are replaced with newer stuff. In some cases, the refurbishment is actually a substantial upgrade. A lot of those billions are also going into research and development. Nothing sneaky here, the R&D is directly related to conditions in Iraq (dealing with roadside bombs and the special intelligence needs for running down terrorist groups.) The new techniques developed include lots of computers and cutting-edge sensors. This stuff will be useful in any kind of war, and the army is getting the money to develop and build this advanced gear years before they could expect it in peacetime. Moreover, they can take the new equipment and test it under combat conditions. So, while the war is expensive, the army is seeing to it that lots of the money goes to fund long range needs.


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