Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Costs of War

Costs of War project

The Costs of War project conducts and publishes research to facilitate debate about the ongoing consequences of the United States post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere; the costs of the U.S. global military footprint; and the domestic effects of U.S. military spending. Created in 2010 and housed at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, the Costs of War project builds on the work of over 60 scholars, experts, human rights advocates, and physicians from around the world. 

We aim to raise awareness and foster discussion by providing the fullest possible account of the human, economic, political, and environmental costs of U.S. militarism, laying the foundation for better informed U.S. foreign and domestic policies.

Research Goals:

  • To account for the wars’ costs in human lives and the consequences for immediate and long-term public health and wellbeing, both in the U.S. and in the war zones;

  • To assess the wars’ budgetary costs, including the financial legacy, as well as the opportunity costs of the U.S. military budget;

  • To describe the scope of the U.S. global military footprint and its political and social impact in the U.S. and around the world; 

  • To examine the environmental and ecological impact of the U.S. global military presence, including military carbon emissions;

  • To evaluate alternatives that provide for meaningful, just, and inclusive human safety and security.

Further information is available from project co-Directors Catherine LutzNeta Crawford, and Stephanie Savell.