The Cost of Peace

The cost of peacetime operations continues to rise, even though the overall size of the force has declined as have indicators like flight hours and steaming days, said Todd Harrison, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments in Washington, D.C. In fact, the cost of Air Force peacetime flight operations has gone up 90 percent since Fiscal 2001, yet the actual number of USAF’s flight hours has gone down over that span, Harrison told reporters Monday during a briefing on defense budget issues. Although the Air Force has seen the largest spike, it certainly is not alone. The cost of ship operations has risen 20 percent, while the number of steaming days has declined 11 percent, he said. The Army’s budget has not really been hit even though the cost per tank mile has gone up 11 percent. That’s because the high operational demand has offset the land service’s need for regular training activities, said Harrison. (For more from Harrison’s briefing, read Mission Impossible)