U.S. Air Strike Missions in the Middle East

The Quantitative Differences of Today’s Air Campaigns in Context and the Impact of Competing Priorities

Operations to degrade, defeat, and destroy the Islamic State (ISIL), al-Qaida, and the Taliban are being waged primarily by the U.S. Air Force’s inventory of aircraft, ISR assets, and munitions. The current campaign has cost the DoD $11.5 million per day, but the number of air strikes and weapons delivered pales in comparison to previous U.S.- led air campaigns.

If DoD leadership continues to increase operational tempo (optempo), what level of additional funding does Congress need to provide? What would historical air campaigns cost DoD today? And if the fiscal environment remains constrained by budgetary realities, what DoD priorities will be excluded from the FY2017 appropriations bill?

The following analysis examines today’s military operations, the quantitative differences between Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan, the historical context of these air campaigns, and how optempo scenarios will impact DoD funding and resource requirements.

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