Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
The Pentagon will decide by May 10 which military construction projects will be sacrificed for the border wall
In just under a month, the Defense Department should have a list of which military construction projects can be delayed in order to transfer $3.6 billion to pay for the border wall, according to a Pentagon memo obtained by Task & Purpose.
"I request that you identify, by May 10, 2019, existing military construction projects of sufficient value to provide up to $3.6 billion in funding for my consideration," Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan wrote in an April 11 memo to Elaine McCusker, the Pentagon's comptroller.
"You are not to consider family housing, barracks, or dormitory projects; projects that have already been awarded; or projects that have fiscal year 2019 award dates."
The memo, which mentions that Shanahan has "not yet decided to undertake or authorize" border wall construction under the president's emergency declaration, directed McCusker to consult with the military service secretaries, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and other senior Pentagon officials to look at the "pool of unawarded military construction projects" and prioritize which ones could potentially be used.
"Your review should confirm that projects under consideration have award dates in fiscal year 2020 or later to minimize effects on readiness and to be consistent with the strategic approach in the National Defense Strategy," Shanahan wrote.
When President Donald Trump declared a national emergency on Feb. 15, he provided the legal authority under Section 2808 of Title 10 of the U.S. Code for the Pentagon to use the military construction money for other projects "that are necessary to support such use of the armed forces," Shananan wrote.
Although Shanahan has not yet decided whether to use the money for border barriers, the fact that he is asking the Pentagon's comptroller to come up with a list of projects that could be defunded indicates he is likely to decide the border wall is necessary to support the military.
"We're going through a filter to ensure that nothing impacts lethality and readiness on the part of our military construction budget, which is a budget that's substantially larger than $3.6 billion," a senior administration official told reporters on Feb. 15.
Still, the use of funds under Section 2808 is "likely to be vigorously litigated," according to a February report from the Congressional Research Service.
Lawmakers have repeatedly pressed Shanahan on what military construction projects are at risk of being redirected to wall construction following Trump's February declaration of a national emergency, which he said allowed him to take $3.6 billion from military construction projects and another $2.5 billion from counter narcotics funding to pay for the border wall.
Previously, the Pentagon provided Congress with a list of every single military construction project that has yet to be awarded a contract — including those that are exempt from being used to pay for the border wall. The confusing 21-page list amounted to upwards of $6.7 billion in projects around the country.
Separately, the Army has awarded nearly $1 billion in contracts for 57 miles of border barriers. That money comes from counter narcotics funds, of which a large part comes from unused Army personnel money.
You can read the memo below:
SEE ALSO: The Air Force Vet Who Raised $20 Million For The Wall Is Fighting GoFundMe's Decision To Issue Refunds
WATCH NEXT: U.S. Army Soldiers arrive at Joint Base San Antonio - Lackland
The Navy is investigating reports that a female Marine discovered a hidden camera in one of the women's restrooms aboard the USS Arlington, an amphibious transport dock that's currently on at port in Greece, NBC News originally reported.
Today, an American service member died in a "non-combat incident" in Ninawa Province, Iraq according to a statement by Operation Inherent Resolve, the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State.
"I held one [sailor] in my hands as he passed. He died in my arms."
It's been 30 years since an explosion inside the number two gun turret on the USS Iowa killed 47 American sailors, but for Mike Carr, it still feels like yesterday.
"I knew all 47 guys inside that turret because as part of the ship's policy we had rotated between all three turrets," Carr, who served as a gunner's mate in the Iowa's aft 16-inch turret, told Task & Purpose. "We all knew each other rather intimately."
On April 19, 1989, the day of the blast, the ship was preparing for live-fire training at Vieques, Puerto Rico Naval Training Range.
Carr was wearing headphones that allowed him to hear what the crews in the other turrets were saying.
"At 10 minutes to 10 a.m., somebody came over the phones and said, 'We're having a problem, Turret 2, center gun,'" Carr recalled. "Then approximately two minutes later, I recognized Senior Chief [Reginald] Ziegler, who was the chief in charge of Turret 2, yell into the phones: 'Fire, fire, fire! Fire in center gun, turret 2. Trying to contain it.'"
Then came the blast, which was so strong that it ripped the headphones right off Carr's head.
Organizations offer training, certifications, networking to connect veterans, businesses
As a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and a newly minted second lieutenant, I felt well-prepared to tackle the challenges facing a junior field artillery officer in the U.S. Army. When the time came to leave the Army, however, I was much less prepared to make the transition into the yet-unknown civilian sector.
One of the primary issues facing veterans after we transition is that we lack the same sense of purpose and mission that we had with our military careers. Today, more than ever, our service members volunteer to put themselves in harm's way. They are defending our freedom across the globe and should be recognized as our country's true heroes. It's critical that employers educate veterans and provide viable options so we can make informed decisions about the rest of our lives.
The two-star general in charge of the roughly 15,000-strong 2nd Marine Division has turned micromanagement into an art form with a new policy letter ordering his Marines and sailors to cut their hair, shave their faces, and adhere to a daily schedule that he has prescribed.
In his "Policy Letter 5-19," Maj. Gen. David Furness lamented that he has noticed "a significant decline in the basic discipline" of troops he's come in contact with in the division area, which has led him to "FIX IT immediately," instead of relying on the thousands of commissioned and non-commissioned officers below him to carry out his orders.