GAO: CAR Peacekeeping Operation Would Have Cost U.S. Twice as Much as UN

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A GAO report found that it would have cost the U.S. twice as much as it has cost the UN to carry out peacekeeping operations in the Central African Republic.

The first 39 months of the peacekeeping operation, the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), cost the United Nations around $2.4 billion. A provision in the Department of State Authorities Act requires GAO to compare the costs, strengths and limitations of UN and U.S. peacekeeping operations. To achieve that, it compares a real operation like MINUSCA to the estimated costs of a hypothetical, comparable effort carried out by the U.S.

In total, GAO estimated that the hypothetical operation would cost nearly $5.7 billion, more than twice as much as MINUSCA, and almost eight times what the U.S. actually contributed to the UN operation. The main reasons for the cost difference are that the U.S. would airlift water into the Central African Republic to a greater extent than the UN currently does, it would pay troop and police salaries which the UN does not, and there would be higher standards required for certain operational elements.

Ultimately, the report concluded that there were different strengths from both the UN and the U.S. – in particular, U.S. peacekeeping operations would have greater military capability but the UN would have greater international acceptance.

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