Cost of Fielding A Single Troop Has Nearly Tripled Since 1980

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Despite decades of efficiency efforts designed to wring every flabby dollar from Pentagon spending, the cost of fielding one active-duty airman, sailor, soldier or Marine continues to climb.

The $57,000 it cost to field a troop in 1980 ballooned to $217,000 in 2010 — not including inflation. Sure, as the Congressional Budget Office notes in a new report, some of that increase was because of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But the cost growth has been dramatic even once the wars’ costs are removed from the accounting:

At $158,000 in 2013, the O&M cost per active-duty service member is $29,000 (or 22 percent) above what the historical trend would indicate, which implies that such spending has grown by an average of more than $4,000 per year since 2001, or about 85 percent greater than the historical rate…In addition, as it has in the past decade, increased reliance on contractors to perform functions previously performed by military personnel could further increase O&M costs per active-duty service member.

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Phil Candreva
Phil Candreva

Imagine a military of 1000 soldiers and the cost is $100,000 to field them. $100M in Oamp;M costs. Then you realize that it is pretty stupid to have a soldier peel potatoes, cut the grass, and stand guard at the main gate to the post. You outsource 1oo soldiers and hire cooks, landscapers and rent-a-cops.  Let's say that increases the Oamp;M costs by $10 million per year.  Now you have 900 soldiers and an Oamp;M cost of $110M and your cost to field a soldier is $122,222.   OMG!  A 22.2% increase in the cost to field a soldier. How inefficient!!

Kevin Brent
Kevin Brent

And all of that cost is money laundered to BIG EDUCATION, using the service member as a money mule. They do not see one dime of that cost increase in their pay.


yeah, if those rat bastards weren't so picky about keeping us from getting shot or getting blown up, we could save millions. What were we doing in the 80's? That's right-guarding the Fulda Gap, eating schnitzel and hanging out in garrison


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