Rising Cost of Libyan Air Campaign

The Air Force has spent about $270 million on the air offensive in Libya, as of May 22, and officials are still trying to figure out exactly how to pay that bill. “The funding source for Libya operations has not been finalized,” Air Force spokesman Andre Kok told the Daily Report. For the time being, “Libya operations are being cash-flowed internally,” said Kok, but officials continue to work with the Pentagon comptroller and White House budget office to figure out from where the funding ultimately will come. Defense Secretary Robert Gates told the New York Times in mid May that Libya operations had cost the Pentagon about $750 million. The United States flew 1,206 of the 1,990 sorties during Operation Odyssey Dawn—the term for the air operation before NATO took control on March 31. That number includes fighters, strike aircraft, tankers, airlifters, surveillance platforms, and command and control assets, said 1st Lt. Adam Gregory, a spokesman with 17th Air Force (Air Forces Africa). Of those nearly 2,000 sorties, 952 were strike sorties, of which the United States conducted 463, Gregory told the Daily Report. (See also The Meter is Running.)

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