How much does Secret Service protection of the candidates cost?

Per day, let’s say.

That is hard to say. There are the agents themselves and equipment like hardened vehicles but these are also supported by the Secret Service bureaucracy as well as different intelligence agencies. You could make a strong case for many different numbers. If you just want to account for the agent’s salaries, equipment, and transportation for everyone, it would still be a lot but not absurd. If you traced every single protection day through to every single person involved, it would be quite high. I don’t think you can put one number on it. It is a matter of definition.

By how much would the Secret Service budget be cut if they did not provide protection for presidential candidates?

The Secret Service doesn’t do it all themselves. Everywhere the candidate goes, the SS advance team is there briefing the local cops and authorities on all the procedures, who goes where, etc. A huge amount of the physical gruntwork is done by local law enforcement at each site. The military provides support to the SS in terms of equipment and vehicle loans, and security personnel in some cases. The FBI has a large domestic intelligence operation that tried to uncover any potential threats in concert with the SS’s own investigations, and so on. The USPS goes around and unscrews all the mailboxes from the sidewalks, too, then bolts them down again after the event. It would be very hard to come up with a casual estimate, but I’d bet you a dollar that somebody at the GAO has done a detailed study.

I sure as hell don’t feel like searching for it right now, though. Good luck.

Private security runs $500-750 per operator, per day, in places like Iraq and Tel Aviv (edit- that is what the operator makes). Obviously, the client is probably charged double that.

I imagine that government agents cost considerably less than that.

Interesting tidbits in this story of how expensive it was to expected to be to protect 20 presidential candidates. They claimed protection for Obama’s presidential campaign would cost around $44,360 per day.

I am not being obtuse but imagine that Obama got assassinated because of that policy. That would require a complete overhaul of plans to institute a new plan for protection of presidential candidates. How much would that cost? I don’t know.

It is basically the same idea as figuring out the length of the coast of Maine (or any ocean-side state). It seems easy. You just get a big map a trace a big line and measure it. However, as you look closer and closer, the line gets more refined and the length becomes longer and longer. The real answer would have to include every person involved in the planning and execution of an Obama protection strategy. Some of that may be secretaries who just print out agendas for the SS but have have to include the cost of maintanence for those printers as well as the toner. The back-end bureaucracy for the SS is already built but you have to figure out how much time each of them needs daily to follow what they need to do to protect a candidate.

I work in a mega-corp and we go through this all the time. There is no one number. We eventually just pick one and go with it.