A study released today by the Congressional Budget Office shows that the real troop increase associated with President Bush’s escalation policy could be as high as 48,000, more than double the 21,500 soldiers that Bush has claimed.
As DefenseTech notes, extra forces are expected because the combat units being sent into Iraq “need to be backed up by support troops, ‘including personnel to staff headquarters, serve as military police, and provide communications, contracting, engineering, intelligence, medical, and other services.’” The CBO’s low estimate envisions at least 15,000 additional support personnel. The alternative scenario “would require about 28,000 support troops in addition to the 20,000 combat troops.”
Additionally, the cost of the escalation could be as much as five times higher than White House estimates:
According to the study, the costs for the “surge” would also be dramatically different than the President has said. The White House estimated a troop escalation would require about $5.6 billion in additional funding, the CBO now believes “that costs would range from $9 billion to $13 billion for a four-month deployment and from $20 billion to $27 billion for a 12-month deployment, depending upon the total number of troops deployed.”
Read the full CBO report HERE.
UPDATE: A release from Rep. John Spratt’s (D-SC) office notes that the CBO report also predicts addition burdens on U.S. forces:
An average of 170,000 military personnel has been maintained in the Iraq theater of operations, and this high deployment level has taken a toll. Last year, CBO reported that the Department of Defense had reduced the amount of ‘dwell’ time for many troops from two years to one year in order to sustain troop levels. ‘Dwell’ time is the time troops spend in training at bases in the United States while living with their families. CBO questioned whether such a high pace of operations was sustainable over the long term. The President’s proposal will increase this level to above 200,000 troops, and to reach this level, the Pentagon will probably have to relax ‘dwell’ time standards even more.