News / USA

US Costs for Libya Soaring, Report Finds

In this photo taken on a organized government tour, foreign journalists take photographs next to a damaged truck at the Hadba agricultural area, outside Tripoli, Libya, on June 8, 2011, which Libyan officials claim was a target of a NATO air strike.
In this photo taken on a organized government tour, foreign journalists take photographs next to a damaged truck at the Hadba agricultural area, outside Tripoli, Libya, on June 8, 2011, which Libyan officials claim was a target of a NATO air strike.

A memo obtained by the Financial Times says the U.S. military effort in Libya is costing hundreds of millions of dollars more than first estimated.

The Pentagon memo, which the newspaper says was given to some U.S. lawmakers, says the military is spending $2 million a day on air strikes, refueling operations and intelligence gathering missions.  That adds up to a cost of $60 million a month.

Earlier estimates from the Defense Department said the U.S. was spending about $40 million a month on its Libyan operations.

The Financial Times says U.S. military operations in Libya could cost Washington almost $300 million more than the Pentagon anticipated.

The increased costs are a concern for the U.S. military because the money comes from its normal budget.  Funding for the U.S. military efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq come from separate, supplemental budgets.

NATO has been leading the air campaign against the forces of Libyan leader Moammar Ghadhafi.  Earlier this week, outgoing U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates urged five key military allies to assume a greater role in the effort.

Last month, Gates said the total cost for U.S. operations in Libya had reached $750 million.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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