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Thursday
Mar312011

Libya Price Tag for US: $550 Million and Counting

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Sunderman/Released(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- The intervention in Libya has cost the United States $550 million through Monday, and, going forward, it will cost an estimated $40 million a month as the United States reduces its role, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday.

The expense will likely come out of the Defense budget, Gates said, but there may be need for a supplemental budget, given U.S. military and humanitarian commitments in Japan.

The number is slightly lower than the $600 million figure provided by the Pentagon earlier this week.

Obama administration officials Thursday continued to tout coalition efforts and the need for intervention, saying they have successfully degraded Col. Moammar Gadhafi's defense capabilities but not to the point where he can be broken.

With millions of dollars being poured into the conflict, members of Congress on both sides of the political aisle have grown increasingly agitated about the mission and endgame in Libya, which has cost the United States millions of dollars.

NATO has taken over the day-to-day operations, and the United States will continue to provide some capabilities, such as "electronic attack, aerial refueling, lift, search and rescue, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support," Gates said.

But the endgame is unclear, and rebels in Libya seem to be losing the momentum they have gained over the past week. Opposition forces have expressed frustration at the lack of airstrikes in cities where Gadhafi's forces quickly outnumber opposition forces.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio