WASHINGTON, September 30 (RIA Novosti) - The Pentagon is primarily looking at lower intensity, lower cost military operations against Islamic State (IS) in the budget range of $2.4 to $3.8 billion per year, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment (CSBA) director, Todd Harrison told RIA Novosti on Tuesday.
"Most of the responses I've gotten from folks in the Pentagon I've talk to said we're really only looking at something toward the lower intensity option, the lower end of the spectrum, so the costs would be more in line with that," Harrison said. "The high end option that we used, we called it "boots on the ground," that scenario has basically been ruled out," he added.
On Monday the CSBA published a report showing that up through September 24, the costs of US military operations against IS militants has likely been between $780 and $930 million. The agency stated future costs will depend "primarily on how long operations continue, the intensity of air operations, and whether additional ground forces are deployed beyond what is already planned." Those costs, covering the full spectrum of engagement could range anywhere between the lower-intensity $2.4 billion annually up to $22 billion.
Deputy Secretary of Defense, Robert O. Work, stated on Tuesday that funding for these operations will be paid for out of the Overseas Contingency Operations budget.
Although President Barack Obama has ruled out the possibility of a combat mission in Iraq with a large American contingent of ground forces, some members of Congress are still looking at the option. "Other members of Congress, some Republicans, even John Boehner, have alluded to this idea of we should put a large number of boots on the ground," Harrison said. He explained that the costs for a "boots on the ground" scenario, ranging from $13 to $22 billion annually, was included in the report "because there are people around town that are floating that idea."
The Islamic State (IS), also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), is a Sunni extremist group which has seized vast territories in Iraq and Syria.
The United States began conducting airstrikes against the IS targets in Iraq in August, expanding them to Syria in September.