Budget For Soldiers Stagnant As Contractor Funds Skyrocket

At the start of the Iraq invasion, the US military spent twice as much on its own personnel as it did on procurement from private sources. Within a few years’ time, the military was spending three times as much on outside contractors as on its own men and women in uniform.

That’s one tidbit from a 57-page report on escalating war spending by US Congressional researchers I mentioned in a post last week, but only got around to reading this morning. Here’s another:

Increased military contracting costs accounted for half of the total rise in war spending between the second half of 2003 and 2008. In that period, the report says, procurement spending increased from $7.2 billion to nearly $62 billion.

The above chart shows how the wartime gravy train has slowed a bit since Obama took over the White House—or, as the authors put it, how the “dramatic growth in investment costs [has] moderated.”

Note how personnel costs have actually fallen below fiscal year 2004 levels. Don’t forget to file for stop-loss benefits!