Osama bin Laden sparked America’s Global War on Terrorism. Since then, the government has spent more than $1 trillion on military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Jim McAleese, defense contracting expert and founder of McAleese and Associates, told Federal News Radio bin Laden has affected our national debt and impacted America in five ways.
“You’ve already captured the emotional and morale victory for the United States,” said McAleese, leaving the impact on operational, congressional, and budget issues remaining.
The following are the three remaining areas and selected comments from McAleese.
The critical role of the CIA “last night’s operations in Pakistan really reinforces the selection of the new secretary nominee.”
Provides perspective into the integration of the intelligence with military ops that General Patreus should be able to now bring to the CIA.
Has a “tremendous weakening of morale on the Taliban,” and
Undercuts credibility of Pakistan. “They were not able to find a compound that was 12 times the size of the average city in one of their most expensive and wealthiest suburbs next to the capital.”
Congress Already has two hearings scheduled this week. One is tomorrow on Afghanistan and the other is Thursday on Pakistan. Expect to see more in the coming weeks, said McAleese.
The killing of bin Laden, said McAleese will “absolutely provide credibility” for funding. National intelligence requested funding is at about $55 billion, “and in retrospect of yesterday’s decision, every penny of that money of that money is obviously well spent,” said McAleese. Military intelligence program funding within Defense is at about $30 billion a year. So, concluded McAleese, $80 to $85 billion per year “is what we, the American people, ought to be thinking that we’re spending on intelligence, which really paid off yesterday.”
From the beginning of the war with the GWOT to the OCO, total spending has been about $1.3 trillion. “That’s about the size of the federal deficit that we will run in our federal budget here in 2011. So that’s what we spent on the two wars,” said McAleese.
Summation and Advice for Contractors
Al qaida lives on and is vowing revenge, and that, said McAleese, “is certainly going to reinforce the need and the continued resourcing of the intelligence contractors.” In the short term, he said “if you are in the National Intelligence Program (NIP), which is basically CIA, NRO, a number of other entities; as a contractor going forward, it is highly unlikely that we will be seeing any funding reductions and those contractors are probably riding very high.”
As for overall changes to budgetary and operational calculus, McAleese said “most importantly, what (eliminating bin Laden) does is it gives the American people confidence. …Confidence that there is an end game in sight. It does put points up on the board, and it does give credibility to the CIA and to DoD, particularly Special Ops.”
This story is part of Federal News Radio’s daily DoD Report. For more defense news, click here.
Tom Temin is the host of The Federal Drive, which airs from 6-8 a.m. on 1500 AM in the Washington, D.C. region and online everywhere. Tom has 30 years experience in journalism, mostly in technology markets. Before coming to Federal News Radio, he was a long-serving editor-in-chief of Government Computer News and Washington Technology magazines.