The Pentagon has spent roughly $36 million on its initial class of U.S.-trained rebels—or $600,000 per anti-ISIS trainee, Nancy Youssef reports for the Daily Beast. The average fighter makes between $200-$400 a month, depending on his skillset. In all, officials have allotted $500 million for the training program.
U.S. defense officials recently boasted that more Syrians signed up to receive U.S training and take on the self-proclaimed Islamic State since the inaugural class of only 60 fighters. As it turns out, the new class is short of 100 fighters, two defense officials told the Daily Beast. With that, the keystone of the U.S. approach to the war against ISIS in Syria – building up a force to counter the group continues to falter.
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter is scheduled to appear before the Senate Armed Service Committee Wednesday, where he is likely to be asked about the U.S. effort to train Syrian fighters. Earlier this month, he revealed the size of the initial class. “I said the number 60, and I can look out at your faces and you have the same reaction I do, which is that that’s an awfully small number,” Carter told the committee earlier this month.