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The Cost of Detention at Guantanamo Bay
Posted by Staff on June 05, 2013 | comments
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The Cost of Detention at Guantanamo Bay 

Today, the House Armed Services Committee will debate the merits of continuing to operate an expensive and unnecessary detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (GTMO). Recently, Ranking Member Adam Smith authored an oped, An Exit Strategy from Detention at Guantanamo,” laying out the reasons why the facility should be closed.

Beyond the national security reasons for closing the facility, there are persuasive cost justifications for closing the facility as well. For example, we are currently spending approximately $1.6 million per detainee each year at Guantanamo Bay, compared to $34,046 per inmate at a High Security Federal Prison. Below, you will find a more detailed breakdown of what it costs to maintain and operate GTMO, some of the historical costs associated with the facility, and, in comparison, what it costs per inmate at a High Security Federal Prison. Additionally, both the Associated Press (story) and Reuters (story) wrote extensive stories laying out the exorbitant cost of running and maintaining the facility.

As the committee debates what should be done to close the facility, Smith will propose multiple amendments designed to give the President the flexibility needs. Specifically, Smith will move to strike section 1035 of the FY 2014 National Defense Authorization, which restrict the President’s ability to transfer detainees.

Additionally, the Chairman’s mark provides $61 million more than the Department of Defense had planned to spend on replacing existing temporary infrastructure to instead construct permanent facilities at Guantanamo Bay. At a time when our country is facing the negative effects of sequestration, we should be working to close this expensive and unnecessary facility rather than seeking to spend additional funds to make it permanent.

At a minimum, prior to proceeding with construction of replacement facilities at Guantanamo Bay, Members should have a full accounting of the costs required to keep Guantanamo Bay open, including detention operations and future infrastructure investments. For this reason, Congressman Rob Andrews will offer an amendment to condition funding for military construction at Guantanamo Bay on Congress receiving a report on the historical and future costs of operating and maintain Guantanamo Bay. The amendment would also reduce the amount of funding authorized for construction at Guantanamo Bay by $61 million so no permanent facilities are authorized for construction.

 

Annual Cost of Detention Operations at Guantanamo Bay

Budget Category

FY2013

Detention Operations

$79,000,000

Linguists at Guantanamo Bay

$13,625,000

Operations & Maintenance, Army (OCO)

$80,502,900

Office of Military Commissions

$12,625,000

Office of Military Commission (NCR)

$68,871,074

Office of Military Commission (USARSO)

$9,564,000

TOTAL

$264,187,974

Annual Cost Per Detainee (166 detainees)

$1,591,493

Source: Department of Defense 

Annual Cost Per Inmate in High Security Federal Prison

Fiscal Year

FY2008

FY2009

FY2010

FY2011

FY2012

Annual Cost Per Inmate

$27,924

$32,119

$33,858

$34,629

$34,046

Source: CRS Report: The Federal Prison Population Buildup: Overview, Policy Changes, Issues, and Options. January 22, 2013.

Historical Construction Costs at Guantanamo Bay

Project

Amount

Detention Facility PH I (408 Cells)

$20,643,000

Detention Facility PH II (204 Cells)

$13,374,000

Detention Facility PH III (204 Cells)

$18,200,000

Detention Facility PH IV (192 Cells)

$4,472,000

JTF Military Commission Complex

$21,740,000

JTF Troop Support

$8,500,000

JTF Interrogations/Interview

$17,860,000

Planning and Design

$1,800,000

Psychiatric Ward

$3,050,000

Camp 6 Detention Facility (220 Cells)

$36,000,000

Radio Range Security Fence

$4,400,000

Classified Project

$1,800,000

Expeditionary Legal Complex

$3,600,000

TOTAL

$155,439,000

Source: U.S. Army: GTMO Contract Actions Spreadsheet Analysis. January 27, 2010

FY2014 Proposed Construction Costs at Guantanamo Bay

MILCON Project

Authorized in NDAA

Cost of Temporary Facility

Seaside Galley

$12,000,000

$12,000,000

High Value Detainee Facility

$52,000,000

$52,000,000

Medical Support Facility

$11,800,000

$11,800,000

Communications Network Facility

$11,600,000

$11,600,000

Barracks (496 Person)

$94,000,000*

$68,000,000

Barracks (352 Person)

$66,000,000*

$31,000,000

TOTAL

$247,400,000

$186,400,000

*The Chairman’s mark authorizes an increase in scope above what the Department of Defense had planned in order to make these facilities permanent.

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