Cost estimates for Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm: a budgetary analysis
Johnson, J. Andrew.
Gates, William R.
Terasawa, Katsuaki L.
Doyle, Richard B.
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Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm (DS/DS) presented unique challenges for estimating the cost of that conflict. This analysis reviews the cost estimates and methodologies developed for that purpose by DoD, CBO and GAO. It considers the budget climate and the role of foreign cash and in-kind contributions. Finally, it reviews the budgeting innovations used to provide and monitor DS/DS defense spending. At the outset of the crisis, costs were estimated to determine the defense funding requirements for DS/DS. Because of the specific provisions of the Budget Enforcement Act of 1990, these estimates focused on the incremental impact on DoD's budget. This was difficult because incremental costs were not defined and DoD's accounting structure does not measure incremental costs. As allied financial support for U.S. defense expenditures increased, cost estimates were also used to measure the relative contributions of donor countries. This led to debates over the proper definition of incremental costs. Comparing the DS/DS cost estimates and the foreign cash and in-kind contributions, it appears that foreign contributions will cover DoD's incremental budgetary costs, but not the total incremental costs of the war.
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