U.S. Spending on its Military Commitments to the Persian Gulf

Book Chapter
Gholz, E. (2016). U.S. Spending on its Military Commitments to the Persian Gulf. In C. L. Glaser and R. A. Kelanic (eds.), Crude Strategy: Reexamining the Energy Logic of the U.S. Military Commitment to the Persian Gulf. Washington: Georgetown University Press.
pA reasonable estimate of the defense budget cost of protecting the Persian Gulf (and especially of protecting production and transit of oil) would make an important contribution to a rational assessment of the desirability of continuing to include this mission as part of U.S. military strategy. Unfortunately, such an estimate is not easy to produce. Ideally, it would incorporate three sources of defense budget cost: the avoidable future investment to acquire the force structure to perform the mission, the cost of the force posture linked to the mission (the incremental cost of forward basing, specific training exercises that could be cancelled, etc.), and the intermittent cost of military operations in the region (whether surges of forces to deter potential adversaries or actual wars). Each of these sub-estimates presents significant analytical challenges, and most previous attempts fall victim to one or more of them. This paper offers a new, careful estimate of the costs based on two alternative scenarios: one in which the United States maintains its commitment to a two-regional-war force-sizing construct even without planning to fight in the PG and one in which the United States shifts to a 1.5-war strategy. The resulting budget savings are relatively small compared to the current size of the U.S. defense budget./p
Research Topic
Defense Policy and Management