About $2 billion worth of equipment wears out every month

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About $2 billion worth of equipment wears out every month

Now here is something you don't take into account, that the materials of war actually are wearing out.

About $2 billion worth of Army and Marine Corps equipment from rifles to tanks is wearing out or being destroyed every month in Iraq and Afghanistan, military leaders and outside experts say.

That's equal to about a quarter of the $8 billion per month in military war costs.

The wear and tear may lead to future equipment shortages and cutbacks in more advanced weapons, such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter being developed with allies around the world and the Army's new, high-tech family of weapons and equipment, says William Cohen, secretary of Defense from 1997 to 2001.

The Pentagon needs $50 billion to $60 billion to re-equip and restore units returning from Iraq, says Leon Panetta, the former Clinton White House chief of staff and member of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group.

On Monday, the Pentagon said it had issued more than $1.7 billion in equipment repair and replacement contracts during November alone. This summer, the leaders of the Army and Marine Corps said their services rack up a combined $23 billion a year in repair costs.

The Pentagon is considering $127 billion to $160 billion in requests for war funding next year.

Vehicles and other equipment are far more complex now than they were in previous conflicts such as Vietnam, making repairs and replacements even more expensive, Wheeler says.

The Congressional Research Service says the entire Vietnam War cost an estimated $650 billion in today's money, while the global war on terrorism, including Iraq, has cost more than $500 billion so far.

The Army and Marines have reported using about 40% of their ground combat equipment in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

Units departing Iraq leave much of their heavy equipment behind, which further delays major maintenance and leaves holes in training for future missions, the report says.

A separate GAO report this month urged the incoming Democratic-controlled Congress to investigate the Pentagon's planning for repair, maintenance and replacement of war equipment.

If the United States entered another war, "it would be difficult for us to accomplish anything," says retired lieutenant general Donald Kerrick, who served on the National Security Council under presidents Clinton and Bush.

By netchicken: posted on 1-12-2006

The difference between Nam and Iraq is vast. Nam was a jungle, rough on equipment. Iraq is a desert. Sand kills equipment!!!
By Terry: posted on 1-12-2006

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