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War On Terror Costs Americans $250 Million Per Day

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The U.S. Department of Defense spends $250 million a day on the war on terrorism, according to the Pentagon's most recent tabulation of war costs.

The Federation of American Scientists obtained a copy of the DOD report, which says the U.S. has spent more than $1.46 trillion for direct war-related costs since Sept. 11, 2001, according to FAS' Secrecy Blog.

The persistent presence of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and continued aerial surveillance of ISIS in Syria and Iraq account for the largest bulk of the DOD's daily spending, according to the International Business Times. Since 2014, those operations have cost a combined $120 billion.

During the war on terror's 16 years, American taxpayers have spent more than $1.46 trillion. Spending for direct war-related expenses for the Vietnam War totaled $738 billion in today's dollars for the nearly 20 years it lasted. World War II is the only war in U.S. history to cost more than the global war on terrorism, costing $4.1 trillion.

In August, The New York Times reported that President Donald Trump announced there would be no "blank check” for the U.S.' involvement in Afghanistan, but did not discuss how he would change the DOD's splurging in terms of anti-terror efforts.

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The DOD report does not include what the U.S. spends to prevent more attacks at home rather than sending our troops overseas to continue the global war on terrorism, according to the IB Times.

Attacks on Americans at home carried out by those who claim inspiration from Islamist terror groups like ISIS have increased in the last decade. Most recently, a 29-year-old man allegedly drove a truck onto a New York City bike path, killing eight people and injuring more than a dozen in what the city's mayor Bill de Blasio called "a particularly cowardly act of terror," The Guardian reports.

Meanwhile, Trump's response to that attack was to argue for tougher vetting on immigration into the U.S., tweeting on Nov. 1: "We are fighting hard for Merit Based immigration, no more Democrat Lottery Systems. We must get MUCH tougher (and smarter)."

A Nov. 1 analysis by The Washington Post notes that this strategy would not provide much result due to the increasing problem with homegrown terrorists.

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Additionally, the DOD's report does not include spending for the 1,060,408 veterans who subscribe for benefits through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The 2016 annual report by the Veteran's Benefits Administration said the cost per veteran a year is $15,907.

Harvard Kennedy School professor Linda Bilmes projects spending will increase to $600 billion to 1 trillion annually in the next 40 years. The current annual benefits cost for veterans of the global war on terror total $16.8 billion a year and is projected to reach $674 billion in the next 40 years.

The DOD's report also does not include how much the U.S. has spent on intelligence agency efforts, which have the biggest hand in terrorist prevention. A separate Federation of American Scientists report says the U.S. has requested $57.7 billion in the 2018 fiscal year budget for National Intelligence Program and $20.7 billion for the Military Intelligence Program.

Sources: International Business Times, The Guardian (2), The New York Times, The Washington Post, Federation of American Scientists / Featured Imaged: Richard W. Jones Jr./U.S. Army via Defense Video Imagery Distribution System / Embedded Images: Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo/DOD via Wikimedia Commons, Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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