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The Pentagon is sacrificing F-35s and other weapons systems to find $3.8 billion to fund the border wall
The Defense Department has determined President Donald Trump's border wall is more important than the F-35s, ships, and drones.
On Thursday, Congress received an explanation from the Pentagon about how it plans to shift $3.8 billion to pay for more wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.
About $2.2 billion would be siphoned from money that was supposed to buy F-35s and other weapons systems according to the document provided to Congress, which was obtained by Task & Purpose. Another $1.6 billion would come from the U.S. military's overseas contingency operations budget, part of which funds wartime expenses.
In total, the Navy is sacrificing two F-35Bs, two V-22s, and one P-8A Poseidon to pay for the border wall, the document says. It will lose an addition $911 million from its shipbuilding account. That money would have gone toward the landing helicopter assault ship replacement and the expeditionary fast transport.
These cuts come as the Navy also plans to make steep cuts to shipbuilding in its fiscal 2021 budget. It expects to purchase one fewer Arleigh Burke-class destroyer and Virginia Class submarine than originally planned.
The Air Force will lose $156 million that would have gone to buy F-35s in the future, another $180 million for the observation attack replacement light attack aircraft program, and four C-130J Hercules aircraft and eight MQ-9 Reapers.
In addition, the Army is giving up $100 million for its Humvee modernization program and another $101 million for trucks.
Meanwhile, the National Guard and Reserve will lose a total of $1.3 billion that had been slated for equipment.
So far, the Defense Department has not commented on its plans to transfer the $3.8 billion for the border wall.
Rep. Mac Thornberry, the ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, has objected to "diverting critical military resources that are need and in law" to pay for the border wall.
Once Congress has appropriated money to the Defense Department, the Pentagon cannot change how those funds will be spent without lawmakers' approval, Thornberry said in a statement on Thursday.
"Attempts to do so undermine the principle of civilian control in the military and is in violation of the separation of powers within the Constitution," Thornberry said. "The re-programming announced today is contrary to Congress's constitutional authority, and I believe that it requires Congress to take action. I will be working with my colleagues to determine the appropriate steps to take."
Though the Army has yet to actually set an official recruiting goal for this year, leaders are confident they're going to bring in more soldiers than last year.
Maj. Gen. Frank Muth, head of Army Recruiting Command, told reporters on Wednesday that the Army was currently 2,226 contracts ahead of where it was in 2019.
"I will just tell you that this time last year we were in the red, and now we're in the green which is — the momentum's there and we see it continuing throughout the end of the year," Muth said, adding that the service hit recruiting numbers in February that haven't been hit during that month since 2014.
Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.
We are women veterans who have served in the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. Our service – as aviators, ship drivers, intelligence analysts, engineers, professors, and diplomats — spans decades. We have served in times of peace and war, separated from our families and loved ones. We are proud of our accomplishments, particularly as many were earned while immersed in a military culture that often ignores and demeans women's contributions. We are veterans.
Yet we recognize that as we grew as leaders over time, we often failed to challenge or even question this culture. It took decades for us to recognize that our individual successes came despite this culture and the damage it caused us and the women who follow in our footsteps. The easier course has always been to tolerate insulting, discriminatory, and harmful behavior toward women veterans and service members and to cling to the idea that 'a few bad apples' do not reflect the attitudes of the whole.
Recent allegations that Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie allegedly sought to intentionally discredit a female veteran who reported a sexual assault at a VA medical center allow no such pretense.
KABUL/WASHINGTON/PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - The United States and the Taliban will sign an agreement on Feb. 29 at the end of a week long period of violence reduction in Afghanistan, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Taliban said on Friday.
Active-duty service members, Reservists and National Guard members often serve side-by-side performing highly skilled and dangerous jobs, such as parachuting, explosives demolition and flight deck operations.
Reservists and Guard members are required to undergo the same training as specialized active-duty troops, and they face the same risks. Yet the extra incentive pay they receive for their work — called hazardous duty incentive pay — is merely a fraction of what their active-duty counterparts receive for performing the same job.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers, led by U.S. Rep. Andy Kim, D-3 of Moorestown, are partnering on legislation to correct the inequity. Known as the Guard and Reserve Hazard Duty Pay Equity Act, the bill seeks to standardize payment of hazardous duty incentive pay for all members of the armed services, including Reserve and National Guard components.
Another Marine was hit with jail time and a bad-conduct discharge in connection with a slew of arrests made last summer over suspicions that members of a California-based infantry battalion were transporting people who'd crossed into the U.S. illegally.