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The Pentagon is diverting funds from 127 military construction projects to pay for Trump’s border wall
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - More than 120 U.S. military construction projects will be adversely affected as the Pentagon prepares to use $3.6 billion to help build or enhance 175 miles (282 km) of the border wall with Mexico, U.S. officials said on Tuesday.
Earlier this year, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency in a bid to fund his promised wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The emergency declaration allows the Trump administration to use money from the military construction budget and the Pentagon has said it could use $3.6 billion from the budget.
In March, the Pentagon provided Congress with a broad list of projects that could be affected, but did not provide details.
On Tuesday, Pentagon officials said 127 would be affected and the first $1.8 billion would come from deferred military construction projects outside the United States. The second tranche would come from deferred military projects inside the United States, the officials said.
Elaine McCusker, the deputy under secretary of defense comptroller, said construction could begin as early as within 100 days on land owned by the Defense Department, such as the Barry Goldwater Air Force Range in Arizona.
There are more than 4,500 active duty and National Guard troops on the border.
Lieutenant General Andrew Poppas, director of operations at the Joint Staff, said he expected that building the wall would reduce the number of troops needed on the border.
Trump made the border wall a major 2016 campaign promise. The wall, which critics have called a political stunt, is part of his hardline immigration policies that are central to his 2020 re-election bid.
"Department of Defense components and military departments provided input and prioritized projects based on effects on readiness and consistency with the national defense strategy," Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said.
Hoffman added that the specific projects affected would be released after lawmakers were notified of the decision.
The announcement was criticized by Democratic lawmakers.
In a conference call with U.S. House of Representatives Democrats, Speaker Nancy Pelosi discussed her phone conversation with Defense Secretary Mark Esper about the decision earlier in the day.
"My view of it is that stealing money from military construction, at home and abroad, will undermine our national security, quality of life and morale of our troops, and that indeed makes America less safe," Pelosi said, according to an aide.
She said she told Esper that Trump was negating the constitutional principle of separation of powers, the aide said.
"This decision will harm already planned, important projects intended to support our service members at military installations in New York, across the United States, and around the world," Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement.
Just before 8 a.m. on a Sunday morning 78 years ago, Lauren Bruner was preparing for church services and a date that would follow with a girl he'd met outside his Navy base.
The 21-year-old sailor was stationed as a fire controlman aboard the U.S. battleship USS Arizona, overseeing the vessel's .50-caliber guns.
Then alarms rang out. A Japanese plane had bombed the ship in a surprise attack.
It took only nine minutes for the Arizona to sink after the first bomb hit. Bruner was struck by gunfire while trying to flee the inferno that consumed the ship, the second-to-last man to escape the explosion that killed 1,177, including his best friend; 335 survived.
More than 70% of Bruner's body was burned. He was hospitalized for weeks.
Now, nearly eight decades after that fateful day, Bruner's ashes will be delivered to the sea that cradled his fallen comrades, stored in an urn inside the battleship's wreckage.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
Joshua Kaleb Watson has been identified as one of the victims of a shooting at the Naval Air Station Pensacola, CBS News reported.
The 23-year-old Alabama native and Naval Academy graduate was named to the Academy's prestigious Commandant's and Dean's lists, and also competed on the rifle team, Alabama's WTVY reported.
NAS Pensacola shooter railed against the US and quoted Osama bin Laden online hours before the attack
PENSACOLA, Fla. (Reuters) - The Saudi airman accused of killing three people at a U.S. Navy base in Florida appeared to have posted criticism of U.S. wars and quoted slain al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden on social media hours before the shooting spree, according to a group that monitors online extremism.
Federal investigators have not disclosed any motive behind the attack, which unfolded at dawn on Friday when the Saudi national is said to have began firing a handgun inside a classroom at the Naval Air Station Pensacola.
NAS Pensacola shooter reportedly hosted a 'dinner party' to watch mass shooting videos the week before the attack
The Saudi military officer who shot and killed 3 people at Naval Air Station Pensacola on Friday reportedly hosted a "dinner party" the week before the attack "to watch videos of mass shootings," the Associated Press reports, citing an unnamed U.S. official.
The Minnesota National Guard has released the names of the three soldiers killed in Thursday's helicopter crash.