WAND is joining a broad coalition to support the Cost of War Act of 2022, H.R. 7147. This bipartisan legislation would create stronger accountability measures on military spending and operations since 2001, allowing American taxpayers to understand how these operations have affected them.
Making information on military expenditures more accessible and comprehensive reinforces needed accountability, especially in the face of a Pentagon that has failed audits every year since said audits began. The Pentagon needs to answer for its excessive and wasteful spending, and H.R. 7147 is an opportunity to move toward greater transparency for all.
Dear Reps. Williams, Meijer and Jacobs:
On behalf of the undersigned organizations, which represent a broad, ideologically diverse community, we are proud to endorse your Cost of War Act of 2022 (H.R. 7147). This bipartisan legislation would promote greater transparency and accountability concerning the financial burden imposed on taxpayers by U.S. military operations since Sept. 18, 2001.
Since FY 2017, thanks to the leadership of the late Congressman John Lewis (D-Ga.), the Department of Defense has been required to provide annual per-taxpayer cost-estimates of U.S. engagement in the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, referred to as Section 1090 reports. These reports have provided taxpayers and decision-makers with meaningful insight into the fiscal impact of these wars. But much has changed over the past five years, and Section 1090 is ready for some sensible updates that build on its past success.
Two of the wars covered under Section 1090, Syria and Afghanistan, are considered officially over by the Pentagon. However, in addition to ongoing troop involvement in Iraq, the U.S. military continues to be engaged in counterterrorism efforts in 85 countries, according to Brown University’s Costs of War project. By expanding the activities covered by Section 1090 reports to capture “any contingency operation conducted by the United States Armed Forces on or after September 18, 2001,” H.R. 7147 will help provide a more accurate perspective on the cost of our military operations around the globe.
H.R. 7147 would also require this information to be shared in a more user-friendly format online and to be updated in a timely manner. Together with the enhanced scope of reporting, these updates will help the public and policymakers better understand the spending involved to maintain this level of engagement. This is particularly vital as we collectively consider our national priorities in a time of economic uncertainty and massive deficits.
We are pleased to endorse the Cost of War Act of 2022 and urge all members of Congress to cosponsor and work toward its enactment.