The current cost to station 68,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan: just over $65 billion—or, to quote a figure politicians have extrapolated, about $1 million a soldier. (Obama's budget director has cited this ratio in estimating surge costs.) Why so much? A breakdown, using 2010 Defense numbers:
OPERATIONS: The biggest expense—transporting soldiers and equipment to, and around, Afghanistan.
WORN-OUT GEAR: When units leave, their damaged stuff gets a complete overhaul or is replaced altogether.
PROTECTIVE MATERIALS: Armor and equipment, including 1,080 Òmine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles.
TRAINING AFGHANS: Providing Afghan National Security Forces with infrastructure and arms.
INTELLIGENCE: Includes airborne sensors and surveillance of high-value targets.
Flexible funds for small-scale civil and humanitarian projects and miscellaneous building costs.
COALITION SUPPORT: Reimbursement for operational and logistical support by cooperating nations.
RESEARCH: Development of technology to combat IEDs (improvised explosive devices).
TRAINING PAKISTANIS: Financial support for Pakistani Security Forces to secure borders and fight insurgents.