There's one definitive source for the cost of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
For more than a decade National Priorities Project's Cost of War site has been keeping track of war spending in real time. And our Cost of War counters will keep on rolling through 2014, when U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan will decline to around 38,000, according to the Department of Defense.
But now the Cost of War site is going to tackle new terrain. Instead of tracking war costs alone, the site is going to expand and transform to encompass different kinds of security spending. You'll see the real-time costs of funding the Pentagon's base budget, which is many times larger than the costs of war. You'll see total homeland security spending since Sept. 11, 2011. You'll see how much this country spends on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
And then, right next to these security programs, you'll see spending for other kinds of national security: Nutrition assistance for food-insecure families; an education budget that funds Pell grants, federal work study, and Title I grants for disadvantaged public schools; and the Medicaid program, which offers health insurance to some low-income families. And, just like the Cost of War counters, you'll be able to localize these new counters to show the costs to your own community and embed them on your own website.
This exciting transformation is ahead in Summer 2013, and the first steps of the transition have already begun. The famous Cost of War Trade-Offs tool has been integrated into National Priorities Project's main website and offers a menu of options beyond war costs. And the tool has been updated so that you can make custom decisions – to decide how many teachers, Head Start slots, and Pell grants are needed in your community. Take a moment to explore the possibilities.
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