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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter May 1, 2013

How Many Wars Is the US Fighting Today?

  • Linda Bilmes EMAIL logo and Michael D. Intriligator


The US has withdrawn from Iraq and is planning to do likewise from Afghanistan in 2014. This article argues that the US has been fighting at least 5 wars, most of which are unannounced and undeclared, and are fought with air power and robotics technology.


Bilmes, L.J., J.E.Stiglitz. (2008), The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict, Norton, New YorkSearch in Google Scholar

DeYoung, K., G.Jaffe. (2010). “US ‘Secret War’ Expands Globally as Special Operations Forces Take Larger RoleWashington Post, June 4, 2010.Search in Google Scholar

Jennings, G. (2010). Predator-Series UAVs Surpass One Million Flight Hours, IHS Jane’s. Retrieved from, Accessed September 4, 2010.Search in Google Scholar

Shachtman, N. (2011), Computer Virus Hits U.S. Drone Fleet., WIRED, Retrieved from, Accessed October 7, 2011.Search in Google Scholar

Singer, P.W. (2010). Unmanned Systems and Robotic Warfare, Brookings, March 23, Retrieved from in Google Scholar

Wilson, G.I. (2011), The Psychology of Killer Drones – Action Against Our Foes; Reaction Affecting Us, Fabius Maximus, in Google Scholar

  1. Paper presented at the 6th Defence and Security Economics Workshop, Monday, 14 November 2011 at the Royal Military College of Canada and Defence Management Studies, School of Policy Studies, Queen’s University.

  2. 1

    U.S. Department of Defense, Base Structure Report, Fiscal Year 2010 Baseline.

  3. 2

    U.S. National Security Agency, Military Construction Budget, Fiscal Year 2011 Estimates,

  4. 3

    Area of Responsibility Countries, United States Central Command, Department of Defense,

  5. 4

    Fact Sheet: United States Africa Command, May 12, 2012,

  6. 5

    The Predator War: What are the risks of the C.I.A.’s covert drone program?

  7. 6

    General David H. Petraeus, U.S. Army, Commander, U.S. Central Command, The Senate Armed Services Committee on the Afghanistan-Pakistan Strategic Review and the Posture of U.S. Central Command, March 16, 2010,

  8. 7

    See studies by Joseph E. Stiglitz and Linda J. Bilmes which estimated the cost at $3 trillion (Bilmes and Stiglitz 2008); the Brown University “Costs of War” study in 2011, which estimated the cost at $3.7 trillion (; and Joint Economic Committee of the US Congress (2008), which estimated the cost at $3.5 trillion (

  9. 8

    America’s Costly War Machine, Los Angeles Times, Spetember 18, 2011,

Published Online: 2013-05-01

© 2013 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin / Boston

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