The cost of international military operations - Commons Library Standard Note

Published 01 October 2012 | Standard notes SN03139

Authors: Gavin Berman

Topic: Afghanistan, Africa, Defence expenditure, Iraq, Military operations

This note provides details of the additional costs of military operations. The MoD identifies the costs of operations in terms of the net additional costs it has incurred. That is those costs which the MoD would have incurred had the operation not been undertaken, for example expenditure on wages and salaries or on conducting training exercises, are deducted from the total costs of the operation.

The outturn cost of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan totalled £21.6bn between 2002/03 and 2010/11, with a further £7.7m estimated to be spent in Afghanistan over the subsequent two years. The Government has estimated the total additional costs of the operation in Libya to be £320m.

Share this page

Related information

The House of Commons Library provides research, analysis and information services for MPs and their staff.

If you have any comments on briefings from the Commons Library, please contact

Please note, authors are not available to discuss the contents of papers with members of the general public. 

TwitterFollow House of Commons Library on Twitter

The House of Lords Library delivers research and information services to Members and staff of the House in support of parliamentary business.

Email with comments on Lords Library Notes.

Please note that authors are not available to discuss the contents of Library Notes with members of the general public.

POST produces independent, balanced and accessible briefings on public policy issues related to science and technology. You can leave feedback at