The financial cost of the Afghan mission...

#1
I'm a bit late out of the box with this, sorry, but estimates for the cost of military operations in Helmand for 2009-10 are noted at £3.5 billion. Forcasted cost for 2008-9 is/was £2.5 billion and actual cost for 2007-8 was £1.5 billion.

The runaway train went over the hill and she blew,
The runaway train went over the hill and she blew,
The runaway train went over the hill and the last we heard she was going still,
And she blew, blew, blew, blew, blew.


All this is part of the MoD request for a tad under £40 billion for the year!

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmselect/cmdfence/773/77303.htm
 
#4
Argee2007 said:
The aid and restructuring costs will dwarf those figures as well.
Quite the contrary as you will see if you browse through the FCO and DfID reports. That's part of the worry. How can you "clear, hold and build" if there's little effort being put into the build.
 
#5
For example:

Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what expenditure his Department has incurred in (a) Helmand Province and (b) elsewhere in Afghanistan in 2009-10 to date. [286922]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: The budget for Helmand province in 2009-10 is £18 million and the rest of Afghanistan is £109.5 million. We anticipate spending our full combined budget of £127.5 million by the end of 2009-10.
So, MoD plans to spend the bulk of £3.5 billion supporting the effort in Helmand, DfID offers up £18 million.

Seems like a CLEAR, hold, build mission to me....


I think this analysis is quite appropriate:
In capsule form, the attitude of the British government is analogous to a certain breed of player in a high-stakes poker game. American readers should not underestimate the extent to which British ‘‘strategy’’ is motivated simply by the desire to be in the world ‘‘game’’ and to be partnered with the United States; policymakers of both major parties value the ‘‘special relationship’’ greatly. That is why Whitehall behaves strategically rather in the manner of an inveterate gambler with a small pot of chips. Britain wishes to stay in the strategic ‘‘game,’’ the rules of which are set in Washington, and it perceives that in order to do so it needs to place a stake on the table. That stake is the Army.
 

rampant

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#6
whitecity said:
Seems like a CLEAR, hold, build mission to me....
Good points w-c, the FCO/DfID show a startingly reluctance to get involved in "building". There is a massive discrepency between statement and action.

I have argued in the past, and will continue to do so, that we need a uniformed Civil Development Force or Disasters and Emergency Corps, organised along military lines, analogous to the german THW, or even the Peace Corps.

A Corps of c2-5000, with a reserve force, trained in development engineering, health, reconstruction, civil development etc etc.

During our Imperial Age Colonial officers underwent a training program at Oxford c. 6mths, which versed them in aspects of Civil Administration, Engineeering Public Works, language etc etc.

We need to create something similar, utilising the experinces of both the military and the NGOs, establish a central school, think Catterick/Sandhurst where they will recieve in depth training, those who do not join the CDF/DEC go on to work in the Aid Industry, the training would provide high skill levels and interoperability across the board.

Soft Power is seriously underated, a CDF/DEC would be a superb Foreign Policy weapon.
 
#7
whitecity said:
I'm a bit late out of the box with this, sorry, but estimates for the cost of military operations in Helmand for 2009-10 are noted at £3.5 billion. Forcasted cost for 2008-9 is/was £2.5 billion and actual cost for 2007-8 was £1.5 billion.
Peanuts. Last year people in the UK spent £4.6bln on video games.
 
#8
Peanuts to a government hell bent on bankrupting the country by borrowing 1.5 Trillion. Not peanuts to a beleaguered tax payer who has to pay this loan back. £3.5 Bn is 10% of the defence budget.
 
#9
parapauk said:
whitecity said:
I'm a bit late out of the box with this, sorry, but estimates for the cost of military operations in Helmand for 2009-10 are noted at £3.5 billion. Forcasted cost for 2008-9 is/was £2.5 billion and actual cost for 2007-8 was £1.5 billion.
Peanuts. Last year people in the UK spent £4.6bln on video games.
My concerns are not about the headline cost itself but whether it is being spent wisely.

Did you bother to read my subsequent posts, or did you deliberately ignore them and assume this was another simple knock on New Labour which required your automaton-like rebuttal service?
 
#10
whitecity said:
parapauk said:
whitecity said:
I'm a bit late out of the box with this, sorry, but estimates for the cost of military operations in Helmand for 2009-10 are noted at £3.5 billion. Forcasted cost for 2008-9 is/was £2.5 billion and actual cost for 2007-8 was £1.5 billion.
Peanuts. Last year people in the UK spent £4.6bln on video games.
My concerns are not about the headline cost itself but whether it is being spent wisely.

Did you bother to read my yada yada predictable insults yada yada..
We should be spending more on reconstruction, but frankly I'd wait for the new US troops to arrive in theatre before we start trying to build what we (nor anyone else) can protect.
 

OldSnowy

LE
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#11
rampant said:
Good points w-c, the FCO/DfID show a startingly reluctance to get involved in "building". There is a massive discrepency between statement and action.

I have argued in the past, and will continue to do so, that we need a uniformed Civil Development Force or Disasters and Emergency Corps, organised along military lines, analogous to the german THW, or even the Peace Corps.

A Corps of c2-5000, with a reserve force, trained in development engineering, health, reconstruction, civil development etc etc.

During our Imperial Age Colonial officers underwent a training program at Oxford c. 6mths, which versed them in aspects of Civil Administration, Engineeering Public Works, language etc etc.

We need to create something similar, utilising the experinces of both the military and the NGOs, establish a central school, think Catterick/Sandhurst where they will recieve in depth training, those who do not join the CDF/DEC go on to work in the Aid Industry, the training would provide high skill levels and interoperability across the board.

Soft Power is seriously underated, a CDF/DEC would be a superb Foreign Policy weapon.

Sorry, nice idea, but nonsense for several reasons. Firstly, 'Building' given the context of Helmand - which has pretty much Zero infrastructure in 99% of its area - would be far too expensive for anyone - UK, US, UN, whole lot combined - to do. Reconstruction is of course not even a starter, as you need something to have been there in the first place to 'reconstruct'. Iraq it is not.

Secondly, it's not safe to do so, nor practical for the Afghans to get too involved in most areas. Until the Clear and Hold bits are working, there will be no Afghan Govt presence there - and without that, 50,000 Uniformed or Peace Corps or VSO experts building and rebuilding would be wasting their time. Look at Kajaki - we ensure the electricity flows (when it does) but the Talibs tax the locals, who pay nothing to the Govt for their electricity supply. The result is that we get the blame when there is no power, and the Taliban get the money when there is.

In truth the FCO-DfID team in the PRT are doing a pretty good job in the circs - and the circumstances are, that there is not a lot of 'Held' area in which to work. They aren't stupid, or windy, or ignorant - they are a large group of professionals in many fields from all over the world - UK, US, Denmark, and several other Nations - who are doing all they can, often at considerable risk to themselves. Easy to criticise, harder to improve on.


Until ground is truly 'Held', anything built will be taken over/used to the benefit of /destroyed by the Taliban, as the Afghan Govt presence isn't there - and it won't be until things are more peaceful. You wouldn't get UK Local Govt officials working in a War Zone (parts of the UK excepted), and should not expect it of Afghans. THey simply are not paid enough for that sort of sh'it.
 
#12
parapauk said:
whitecity said:
parapauk said:
whitecity said:
I'm a bit late out of the box with this, sorry, but estimates for the cost of military operations in Helmand for 2009-10 are noted at £3.5 billion. Forcasted cost for 2008-9 is/was £2.5 billion and actual cost for 2007-8 was £1.5 billion.
Peanuts. Last year people in the UK spent £4.6bln on video games.
My concerns are not about the headline cost itself but whether it is being spent wisely.

Did you bother to read my yada yada predictable insults yada yada..
We should be spending more on reconstruction, but frankly I'd wait for the new US troops to arrive in theatre before we start trying to build what we (nor anyone else) can protect.
It is worth remembering that the UK mission to Helmand was planned to last 3 years. That date has already passed and yet you think the lack of security is something that can be used in defence of abysmal policy and strategy.

I suppose it's a roundabout way of admitting that New Labour policy and strategy in Afghanistan has failed. Efforts now are simply to achieve something - anything - that can be proclaimed a 'success'.
 
#13
parapauk said:
whitecity said:
parapauk said:
whitecity said:
I'm a bit late out of the box with this, sorry, but estimates for the cost of military operations in Helmand for 2009-10 are noted at £3.5 billion. Forcasted cost for 2008-9 is/was £2.5 billion and actual cost for 2007-8 was £1.5 billion.
Peanuts. Last year people in the UK spent £4.6bln on video games.
My concerns are not about the headline cost itself but whether it is being spent wisely.

Did you bother to read my yada yada predictable insults yada yada..
We should be spending more on reconstruction, but frankly I'd wait for the new US troops to arrive in theatre before we start trying to build what we (nor anyone else) can protect.
Blind stupidity then. Good weekend sven? Dull as fcuk as usuall. Wouldn't want you to break into a sweet would we, fat boy....
 

rampant

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#14
OldSnowy said:
Sorry, nice idea, but nonsense for several reasons. Firstly, 'Building' given the context of Helmand - which has pretty much Zero infrastructure in 99% of its area - would be far too expensive for anyone - UK, US, UN, whole lot combined - to do. Reconstruction is of course not even a starter, as you need something to have been there in the first place to 'reconstruct'. Iraq it is not.

Secondly, it's not safe to do so, nor practical for the Afghans to get too involved in most areas. Until the Clear and Hold bits are working, there will be no Afghan Govt presence there - and without that, 50,000 Uniformed or Peace Corps or VSO experts building and rebuilding would be wasting their time. Look at Kajaki - we ensure the electricity flows (when it does) but the Talibs tax the locals, who pay nothing to the Govt for their electricity supply. The result is that we get the blame when there is no power, and the Taliban get the money when there is.

In truth the FCO-DfID team in the PRT are doing a pretty good job in the circs - and the circumstances are, that there is not a lot of 'Held' area in which to work. They aren't stupid, or windy, or ignorant - they are a large group of professionals in many fields from all over the world - UK, US, Denmark, and several other Nations - who are doing all they can, often at considerable risk to themselves. Easy to criticise, harder to improve on.


Until ground is truly 'Held', anything built will be taken over/used to the benefit of /destroyed by the Taliban, as the Afghan Govt presence isn't there - and it won't be until things are more peaceful. You wouldn't get UK Local Govt officials working in a War Zone (parts of the UK excepted), and should not expect it of Afghans. THey simply are not paid enough for that sort of sh'it.
Ta for that, good riposte, not much to really argue against there. I certainly agree with the issue of holding the ground, which is key. I suppose it is pertinent to add that we missed the boat in the early years when we first went in, we were under resourced and under manned.
 
#15
whitecity said:
parapauk said:
whitecity said:
parapauk said:
whitecity said:
I'm a bit late out of the box with this, sorry, but estimates for the cost of military operations in Helmand for 2009-10 are noted at £3.5 billion. Forcasted cost for 2008-9 is/was £2.5 billion and actual cost for 2007-8 was £1.5 billion.
Peanuts. Last year people in the UK spent £4.6bln on video games.
My concerns are not about the headline cost itself but whether it is being spent wisely.

Did you bother to read my yada yada predictable insults yada yada..
We should be spending more on reconstruction, but frankly I'd wait for the new US troops to arrive in theatre before we start trying to build what we (nor anyone else) can protect.
It is worth remembering that the UK mission to Helmand was planned to last 3 years. That date has already passed and yet you think the lack of security is something that can be used in defence of abysmal policy and strategy.

I suppose it's a roundabout way of admitting that New Labour policy and strategy in Afghanistan has failed. Efforts now are simply to achieve something - anything - that can be proclaimed a 'success'.
Or, for those of us in the reality based community, it might be suggested that when things don't go to plan we alter the plan, as opposed to stomping off in a huff when the egg-timer goes off.
 
#16
parapauk said:
Or, for those of us in the reality based community, it might be suggested that when things don't go to plan we alter the plan, as opposed to stomping off in a huff when the egg-timer goes off.
Or, for those of us in the reality based community, there comes a time when you have to accept that pushing fog uphill really is a thankless and pointless task - so why invest so much effort and treasure trying to do the impossible.

Security, development and possibly democracy has gone backwards in the past 3 years inspite of our efforts. How much longer do we let concerns about sunk costs dictate our future costs?

I shall repeat the quote from above:
In capsule form, the attitude of the British government is analogous to a certain breed of player in a high-stakes poker game. American readers should not underestimate the extent to which British ‘‘strategy’’ is motivated simply by the desire to be in the world ‘‘game’’ and to be partnered with the United States; policymakers of both major parties value the ‘‘special relationship’’ greatly. That is why Whitehall behaves strategically rather in the manner of an inveterate gambler with a small pot of chips. Britain wishes to stay in the strategic ‘‘game,’’ the rules of which are set in Washington, and it perceives that in order to do so it needs to place a stake on the table. That stake is the Army.
For HMG, 'success' in Afghanistan is not measured by the realities on the ground in Helmand, it's measured by the degree of apparent (or deluded) influence it wields in Washington and New York.
 
#17
I imagine that al Qaeda must be rubbing it's collective hands to know how much it's costing us to be in that dump, whilst they are not. So much for Bush and Blairs' main objective for this war.
 
#18
parapauk said:
whitecity said:
parapauk said:
whitecity said:
parapauk said:
whitecity said:
I'm a bit late out of the box with this, sorry, but estimates for the cost of military operations in Helmand for 2009-10 are noted at £3.5 billion. Forcasted cost for 2008-9 is/was £2.5 billion and actual cost for 2007-8 was £1.5 billion.
Peanuts. Last year people in the UK spent £4.6bln on video games.
My concerns are not about the headline cost itself but whether it is being spent wisely.

Did you bother to read my yada yada predictable insults yada yada..
We should be spending more on reconstruction, but frankly I'd wait for the new US troops to arrive in theatre before we start trying to build what we (nor anyone else) can protect.
It is worth remembering that the UK mission to Helmand was planned to last 3 years. That date has already passed and yet you think the lack of security is something that can be used in defence of abysmal policy and strategy.

I suppose it's a roundabout way of admitting that New Labour policy and strategy in Afghanistan has failed. Efforts now are simply to achieve something - anything - that can be proclaimed a 'success'.
Or, for those of us in the reality based community, it might be suggested that when things don't go to plan we alter the plan, as opposed to stomping off in a huff when the egg-timer goes off.
You're about as based in reality as R2D2 sven.
 
#19
The original plan is widely acknowledged to be, well, not really a plan at all, more send in the paras and see what happens.

As a result we have a new plan, which is actually a strategy, Clear, Hold, Build.

Trouble is there aren't enough troops to Hold, so presumably in 3 years time we will have another strategy, errm, I mean plan, hopefully it too will consist of three words.