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War Drives Defense Cost

April 30, 2007— The Congressional Budget Office paints a picture of rising defense costs through 2024, estimating that the costs will go higher than Pentagon projections because of the ongoing war on terror. CBO charts total obligational authority from 1980, noting a decline through the late 1980s and 1990s and thereafter a rise, reaching $353 billion by 2001. By 2006, the defense TOA had reached $549 billion, including around $120 billion to fund operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. The dashed lines forecast CBO’s expectation—as weapons costs continue to rise and the war on terrorism continues—compared to Pentagon projections. The share afforded to research and development gets the short straw in the outyears as operations and maintenance and military personnel accounts go up.