Pentagon: Libya Mission Cost U.S. $550M so Far

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The Pentagon announced Tuesday that the financial cost to taxpayers for the mission in Libya has reached $550 million so far.

The figure is not a full picture of the price tag for the operation in that it does not include such money as pay for U.S. sailors, airmen and other forces, who would have been deployed somewhere in the world anyway, officials said.

U.S. Navy ships and submarines have fired about 190 tomahawk cruise missiles, costing more than $268 million.

In addition, U.S. war planes have dropped 455 guided bombs costing tens of thousands of dollars a piece.

Of the $550 million in added spending through Monday, about 60 percent was "for munitions, the remaining costs are for higher operating tempo" of U.S. forces and of getting them there," Cmdr. Kathleen Kesler, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said Tuesday.

The U.S fighter jet that crashed during the operation will cost more than $60 million to replace.

All this comes on top of the fuel it costs to keep U.S forces positioned off the Libyan coast and in the skies. The spending report only concerns the U.S. cost in Libya.

"Future costs are highly uncertain," Kesler said. But officials estimate that they'll see added costs of about $40 million over the next three weeks as U.S. forces are reduced and NATO assumes more responsibility for the operation started March 19, she said.

After that, officials expect to spend about $40 million a month, "if U.S. forces stay at the levels currently planned and the operation continues," Kesler said.

One U.S. lawmaker last week predicted that Libya could be a $1 billion campaign.


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