Libya Price Tag

By Thomas Duffy / March 23, 2011 at 6:32 PM

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) today said he has asked his staff to work with Pentagon officials to come up with a good estimate for the cost of the U.S. military's participation in Operation Odyssey Dawn which has established a no flight zone in the skies above Libya.

During a conference call with reporters, Levin said he thinks the U.S. portion of the bill for Odyssey Dawn "will cost a lot less because we are going to be the junior partner in a multilateral effort."

Levin added that he thinks there will be some support in terms of costs that will be coming from other countries. "That may be in terms of equipment or fuel but we need to sort that out as well," he said.

The key to holding down the costs of U.S. participation is when leadership of the operation is handed off to a coalition of other countries, Levin said.

Next Tuesday, Adm. James Stavridis, head of U.S. European Command and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, will appear before Levin's committee. Libya will certainly be discussed, the senator said.

Sens. Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Jack Reed (D-RI) joined Levin on the conference call.