U.S. Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan talks with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., during the retirement ceremony for U.S. Army Gen. Raymond A. Thomas III, Tampa, Florida, March 29, 2019. (DoD photo by Lisa Ferdinando)
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."
President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that to send additional U.S. troops to the southwestern border with Mexico — and he indicated he wants service members to do more than just build physical barriers.
"I'm going to have to call up more military," Trump told reporters in Texas. "Our military – don't forget – can't act like a military would act. Because if they got a little rough, everybody would go crazy."
Despite the Pentagon already having received pushback from Congress about plans to help build the border wall, the Army announced two multi-million dollar contracts on Tuesday for border wall construction in New Mexico and Arizona.
U.S. Marines deploy concertina wire at the U.S.-Mexico border in preparation for the arrival of a caravan of migrants at the San Ysidro border crossing in San Diego, California, November 15, 2018. (Reuters/Mike Blake)
Lawmakers moved to block the Department of Defense's move to transfer $1 billion for the construction of a physical barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border, the latest showdown in the battle over the border wall that President Trump has vowed to build.
Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert B. Neller speaks to Marines and guests during the Semper Fidelis Society of Boston Luncheon at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, Nov. 12, 2018. Gen. Neller was the guest of honor and guest speaker. (U.S. Marine Corps/Sgt. Olivia G. Ortiz)
WASHINGTON — The commandant of the Marines has warned the Pentagon that deployments to the southwest border and funding transfers under the president's emergency declaration, among other unexpected demands, have posed "unacceptable risk to Marine Corps combat readiness and solvency."
In two internal memos, Marine Corps Gen. Robert Neller said the "unplanned/unbudgeted" deployment along the border that President Donald Trump ordered last fall, and shifts of other funds to support border security, had forced him to cancel or reduce planned military training in at least five countries, and delay urgent repairs at bases.
Congress asked the Defense Department for a list of all military construction projects that could be defunded to pay for the wall. Instead, the Pentagon provided lawmakers 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.