The Pentagon is diverting funds from 127 military construction projects to pay for Trump’s border wall

news
A soldier assigned to the National Guard is silhouetted while keeping watch near a section of the border fence between Mexico and United States, as pictured at Anapra neighborhood in Ciudad Juarez. (Reuters/Jose Luis Gonzalez)

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.

Few things say "I have come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass, and I'm all out of bubble gum" like a Navy amphibious assault craft absolutely covered with Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II joint strike fighters ready to bomb an adversary back to the Stone Age.

That's the logic behind the so-called "Lightning Carrier" concept designed to turn those "Gator Navy" amphibs into ad hoc aircraft carriers — and the Corps appears to be moving slowly but surely into turning that concept into a new doctrine for the new era of great power competition.

Read More Show Less

The National Transportation Safety Board released its preliminary report into the fatal crash of a B-17 bomber crash in Connecticut earlier this month.

Shortly after takeoff at 9:50 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 2, the pilot of the vintage WWII-era plane signaled to air traffic control at Bradley International Airport that he sought to land.

Read More Show Less

While America's forever wars continue to rage abroad, the streaming wars are starting to heat up at home.

On Monday, the Walt Disney Company announced that its brand new online streaming service, aptly titled Disney+, will launch an all-out assault on eyeballs around the world with an arsenal of your favorite content starting on November 12th. Marvel Cinematic Universe content! Star Wars content! Pixar content! Classic Disney animation content!

While the initial Disney+ content lineup looks like the most overpowered alliance since NATO, there's one addition of particular interest hidden in Disney's massive Twitter announcement, an elite strike force with a unique mission that stands ready to eliminate streaming enemies like Netflix and Hulu no matter where they may hide.

That's right, I'm talking about Operation Dumbo Drop — and no, I am not fucking around.

Read More Show Less

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

On Monday, The New York Times reported that U.S. officials were considering plans to move the U.S. nuclear arsenal from Inçirlik Air Base in Turkey.

This move would be likely to further deteriorate the tense relationship between the U.S. and Turkey, which has rapidly devolved as Turkey invaded northeastern Syria in assault on the Kurdish forces that fought ISIS alongside the U.S.

Read More Show Less

Soldiers are smoking a whole lot more weed if they happen to be stationed in or near a state where it's legal, and the Army has definitely noticed.

At nine Army bases in or near marijuana-friendly states, there has been a roughly 18% increase between 2017 and 2018 in positive drug tests for THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the principal psychoactive component in cannabis. For comparison, there has been a 5% increase in soldiers testing positive for THC across the entire Army.

Read More Show Less