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The cost of a soldier deployed in Afghanistan

U.S. Soldiers from Blackfoot Company of the Army's 1st Battalion 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment in Matakhan, Afghanistan

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

JEREMY HOBSON: Ok, it's quiz time here on the Marketplace Morning Report. And our quizmaster Stephan Richter of TheGlobalist.com joins us now from Washington. Good morning, Stephan.

STEPHAN RICHTER: Good morning Jeremy. Are you ready for today's quiz?

HOBSON: I am ready.

RICHTER: This one is in the context of all the budget debates and what costs money in the United States and for U.S. taxpayers. So my question for you today is this: How much does it cost per year to support one U.S. service member deployed in Afghanistan? Is it A) $67,000 a year; B) $132,000 a year; C) a staggering $685,000 per year; or D) an unbelievable $1.2 million a year?

HOBSON: Well, I am going to guess it is on the higher end of things. But I will just go with a staggering $600,000-some a year, not the unbelievable $1.2 million.

Buzz

RICHTER: Not quite. This number would be right for the war in Iraq, according to numbers from the Washington-based Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. $685,000, that's by the way, over 10 times more than the cost of a soldier deployed in World War II. So these wars are getting more expensive all the time.

HOBSON: All right, so I'll guess the $1.2 million.

Ding, ding, ding!

RICHTER: $1.2 million per year. Of course, the least of that is wages or salary for the soldiers themselves. Most of it is due to the sheer lack of infrastructure in Afghanistan; its geographical position as a landlock nation. And the biggest single item in this? Fuel costs.

HOBSON: Wow.

RICHTER: Per troop deployed: $200,000 to $350,000 a year just in fuel costs. With all this heavy stuff that's coming in now, that number's probably going to go up as the oil prices are going up.

HOBSON: All right, Stephan Richter, editor-in-chief at The Globalist. You can find out more about the world at theglobalist.com. Thanks again Stefan.

RICHTER: Good to be with you today.

UPDATE: The source for these figures are detailed on page 17 of the full PDF report.

About the author

Stephan Richter is the publisher and editor-in-chief of The Globalist, a daily online magazine on the global economy, politics and culture.

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