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Additional Media Encounter with Deputy Secretary Hamre, February 25, 1998

Presenter: Deputy Secretary of Defense John J. Hamre
February 25, 1998

Q: How much is this costing, to keep our forces in the Persian Gulf?

A: We're currently building that estimate. We will send to Congress next week a supplemental requesting funds. Obviously, we have... there are two elements to it. How much have we spent so far? And how much may we be spending the rest of the year. I don't have a good answer for the latter. We're working on that and we'll have that by next week. What we spent so far is probably over 600 million dollars. But it's going to be bigger than that when it's all done.

Q: How much of this additional cost is being picked up by our friends in the Gulf? Is it half? Or more?

A: I'll have to get back to you on that. I don't know. They have been sharing costs along the way, but I don't know what the precise figure is in this instance.

Q: ...And what did they pay for?

A: Oh, for example, the Saudi Arabians pay for fuel. I mean, they give us fuel. Same way with Kuwait. Rent-free facilities, things of that nature. But I don't have it in this particular case. You know, most of the cost here is actually not in Saudi Arabia, they're out in the Gulf. And that would be entirely our costs.

Q: Have you projected a ballpark figure for the endgame here? Well into the billions? Well over one million?

A: No we haven't at all because there are still some important policy issues that have to be resolved.

Q: But is it fair to say that the allies in the Gulf, because they are picking up, for example, fuel which is a huge cost of operating, are picking up a large chunk or our expense?

A: We, we... Let me characterize it because I really, honestly, don't know. We're getting great support. A lot of people say we aren't; but we are. We're getting very good support in the region. But I ... we'll give you some precise numbers. You're just three or four days ahead of me here. I don't have answers right now.

Q: But the figures that you've projected so far, they won't come from the US taxpayer? In addition, this is above and beyond what would be, under ordinary circumstances, is expected to be well in excess of 600 million dollars.

A: It's been about 600 million dollars so far. And the forces that we have deployed through their time of their deployment.

Q: But it will rise substantially from there? I mean...

A: I can't say substantially or not, because I don't, we don't have that done yet.

Q: And Bosnia is about the same? Or...

A: Bosnia is going to be between 500 and 600 million dollars for the rest of this fiscal year.