Here's what the U.S. government shutdown cost.
- By J. Dana StusterJ. Dana Stuster is an assistant editor at Foreign Policy. He has studied at the American University of Beirut and graduated in 2010 with degrees in English and International Relations from the University of California, Davis. Before coming to FP, his work appeared in the Atlantic and the National Interest, among other publications., Thomas StackpoleThomas Stackpole is an assistant editor at Foreign Policy. A native of Martha's Vineyard, MA, he received his bachelors degree in Political Theory from Bates College, and studied at Al Akhawayn University in Morocco. Previously, he covered climate and energy for Mother Jones and politics for the New Republic and MSN News, and once sailed from Maine to the Panama Canal, where he spent at least one afternoon playing coconut bocce on a desert island. , Ed JohnsonEd Johnson is the Art Director of Foreign Policy. Prior to FP, he was the Production and Creative Director at the New York Observer, and has held numerous positions at other publications as a designer, reporter and editor.
150 F-35s: The Pentagon’s most expensive weapons program features jets that cost $159 million a pop.
Twitter: Some projections of the short-form social networking site’s value after its IPO exceed $20 billion.
5 Large Hadron Colliders: The most powerful particle accelerator, which made last year’s discovery of the Higgs boson possible, cost $4.75 billion to build (but it costs another $1 billion annually to operate).
13 Weeks of War in Afghanistan: The United States spent $91.5 billion on the war in Afghanistan in fiscal year 2013 — that’s $1.76 billion a week.
Half a Warren Buffett: A little less, actually. The investment guru’s net worth is $58.5 billion.
El Salvador’s Economy: The country’s entire GDP last year clocked in at $23.86 billion.
Iceland’s Economy, Doubled: Icelandic GDP for 2012 was $13.66 billion.
2 Aircraft Carriers: The cost of the newest U.S. carrier, CVN 78, which has been in production since 2008, is $12.8 billion.
6 Freedom Towers: One World Trade Center isn’t the world’s tallest skyscraper, but it is the most expensive, costing $3.8 billion to build.
16 Burj Khalifas: The world’s tallest building was significantly less expensive than Freedom Tower: $1.5 billion.
9 Multi-Year Mars Exploration Missions: The Mars Curiosity Rover and Science Lab mission (including development, rocketing to Mars, landing, and rolling all over the Gale Crater) cost $2.5 billion.
14 percent of the Marshall Plan: The United States dedicated $17.6 billion to Europe’s recovery in 1948. Adjusted for inflation, that comes out to $165.59 billion today.
100 Louisiana Purchases: The United States paid France a cool $15 million for the Louisiana Territory in 1803. Even after two centuries of inflation, that’s just $226 million.
15 Buckingham Palaces: The fanciest digs in the world was appraised at $1.56 billion by Britain’s Nationwide Building Society last year.
1.75 Man-Made Island Paradises: The World, the failed effort to build a luxury private island complex in Dubai, cost $14 billion and was comprised of 300 islands dredged up off the Emirati coast.
A (Theoretical) Nuclear Fusion Reactor: American and European scientists are trying to develop that holy grail of energy production: a fusion reactor. Optimistic assessments project technology could be advanced enough to build a fusion facility for $20 billion — 15 years from now, maybe.
5 percent of the Starship Enterprise: Yes, the one from Star Trek. Raw materials, labor, computers, weapons, propulsion, and crew would come out to a whopping $479 billion.
0.000000028% of the Death Star: The Enterprise is a bargain compared to the Galactic Empire’s behemoth space station, which economists at Lehigh University estimated would cost $852 septillion. (It looks like this: $852,000,000,000,000,000.)
15 Iron Mans: That’s eight state-of-the-art armored, weaponized, flying suits and a playboy billionaire lifestyle (Malibu beach house and luxury cars included), at a cost of $1.6 billion — 15 times over.
120 Hope Diamonds: The Smithsonian centerpiece, a whopping 45.52 carats, is worth $200 million.
Half the Beijing Olympics: New airport terminals, sports stadiums, hotels, staffing — the whole shebang set China back an estimated $42 billion in 2008.
Two London Olympics: The Brits got a comparative bargain in 2012. Those games only cost $14.42 billion.
The Apollo Space Program: The two-decade effort to put men on the moon cost $25.4 billion — in the 1960s. Adjusted for inflation, the program racks up a $150 billion check.
John Arquilla earned his degrees in international relations from Rosary College (BA 1975) and Stanford University (MA 1989, PhD 1991). He has been teaching in the special operations program at the United States Naval Postgraduate School since 1993. He also serves as chairman of the Defense Analysis department.
Dr. Arquilla’s teaching interests revolve around the history of irregular warfare, terrorism, and the implications of the information age for society and security.
His books include: Dubious Battles: Aggression, Defeat and the International System (1992); From Troy to Entebbe: Special Operations in Ancient & Modern Times (1996), which was a featured alternate of the Military Book Club; In Athena’s Camp (1997); Networks and Netwars: The Future of Terror, Crime and Militancy (2001), named a notable book of the year by the American Library Association; The Reagan Imprint: Ideas in American Foreign Policy from the Collapse of Communism to the War on Terror (2006); Worst Enemy: The Reluctant Transformation of the American Military (2008), which is about defense reform; Insurgents, Raiders, and Bandits: How Masters of Irregular Warfare Have Shaped Our World (2011); and Afghan Endgames: Strategy and Policy Choices for America’s Longest War (2012).
Dr. Arquilla is also the author of more than one hundred articles dealing with a wide range of topics in military and security affairs. His work has appeared in the leading academic journals and in general publications like The New York Times, Forbes, Foreign Policy Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, Wired and The New Republic. He is best known for his concept of “netwar” (i.e., the distinct manner in which those organized into networks fight). His vision of “swarm tactics” was selected by The New York Times as one of the “big ideas” of 2001; and in recent years Foreign Policy Magazine has listed him among the world’s “top 100 thinkers.”
In terms of policy experience, Dr. Arquilla worked as a consultant to General Norman Schwarzkopf during Operation Desert Storm, as part of a group of RAND analysts assigned to him. During the Kosovo War, he assisted deputy secretary of defense John Hamre on a range of issues in international information strategy. Since the onset of the war on terror, Dr. Arquilla has focused on assisting special operations forces and other units on practical “field problems.” Most recently, he worked for the White House as a member of a small, nonpartisan team of outsiders asked to articulate new directions for American defense policy.| Argument |