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The F-35 of walls: $1.57 billion spent for just 1.7 miles of fence on the US-Mexico border
The F-35 Joint Strike Program may be the most expensive weapons program in modern military history, but it looks as though the new border wall is giving the beleaguered aircraft a run for its money.
On Tuesday, a government lawyer disclosed in a court filing to a federal judge in Oakland, California that Customs and Border Patrol personnel had only managed to erect 1.7 miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico with the $1.57 billion Congress doled out for construction in 2018, Bloomberg News reports.
If accurate, the figures disclosed by the government would mean that each mile of fence costs $923 million, which absolutely does not jive with CBP's latest figure. From the Bloomberg News report:
A May 20 report by Customs and Border Protection on the status of the border wall specified that the $1.5 billion in 2018 funding is being used to update or build 80 miles of the border wall.
That includes 14 miles of new and updated wall panels near San Diego, which is expected to be finished early next year, and 13 miles of new construction in the Rio Grande Valley. It's not clear when that part will be finished.
The report doesn't state how much of the $1.5 billion has been spent to date, and doesn't contradict Letter's claim. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers did hand out more than $800 million of the 2018 funding for new contracts, according to the report.
To be clear, the new cost-per-mile of $923 million disclosed on Tuesday would mean that each mile of fence has roughly the same cost as 10 F-35A Lightning II aircraft at the latest price of less than $90 million apiece.
That also means that, at this rate, that magic $5.7 billion in funds the White House requested for wall construction during last winter's government shutdown would only yield 6.3 more miles of fortifications.
Indeed, completing 1,000 miles of wall construction that Trump fixated on during his presidential campaign would cost upwards of an eye-popping $900 trillion — or, say, 600 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter programs that have projected lifetime costs of $1.5 trillion.
WATCH NEXT: A US-Mexico Border Wall Time Lapse
Retired Army Master Sgt. Mark Allen has died 10 years after he was shot in the head while searching for deserter Pvt. Bowe Bergdahl in Afghanistan.
Allen died on Saturday at the age of 46, according to funeral information posted online.
For U.S. service members who have fought alongside the Kurds, President Donald Trump's decision to approve repositioning U.S. forces in Syria ahead of Turkey's invasion is a naked betrayal of valued allies.
"I am ashamed for the first time in my career," one unnamed special operator told Fox News Jennifer Griffin.
In a Twitter thread that went viral, Griffin wrote the soldier told her the Kurds were continuing to support the United States by guarding tens of thousands of ISIS prisoners even though Turkey had nullified an arrangement under which U.S. and Turkish troops were conducting joint patrols in northeastern Syria to allow the Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, to withdraw.
"The Kurds are sticking by us," the soldier told Griffin. "No other partner I have ever dealt with would stand by us."
Most of the U.S. troops in Syria are being moved out of the country as Turkish forces and their Arab allies push further into Kurdish territory than originally expected, Task & Purpose has learned.
"I spoke with the president last night after discussions with the rest of the national security team and he directed that we begin a deliberate withdrawal of forces from northern Syria," Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Sunday's edition of CBS News' "Face the Nation."'
More than 700 women and children affiliated with ISIS escape Kurdish prison camp after Turkish shelling
BEIRUT/ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Women affiliated with Islamic State and their children fled en masse from a camp where they were being held in northern Syria on Sunday after shelling by Turkish forces in a five-day-old offensive, the region's Kurdish-led administration said.
Turkey's cross-border attack in northern Syria against Kurdish forces widened to target the town of Suluk which was hit by Ankara's Syrian rebel allies. There were conflicting accounts on the outcome of the fighting.
Turkey is facing threats of possible sanctions from the United States unless it calls off the incursion. Two of its NATO allies, Germany and France, have said they are halting weapons exports to Turkey. The Arab League has denounced the operation.
Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is warning that it's "absolutely a given" that ISIS will come back if the U.S. doesn't keep up pressure on the group, just one week after President Trump announced the withdrawal of U.S. military forces from northern Syria.
"It's in a situation of disarray right now. Obviously the Kurds are adapting to the Turkish attacks, and we'll have to see if they're able to maintain the fight against ISIS," Mattis said in an interview on NBC's "Meet The Press," set to air on Sunday. "It's going to have an impact. The question is how much?"