President Donald Trump claims the $6.1 billion from the Defense Department's budget that he will now spend on his border wall was not going to be used for anything "important."
Trump announced on Friday that he was declaring a national emergency, allowing him to tap into military funding to help pay for barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border.
"We had certain funds that are being used at the discretion of generals, at the discretion of the military," Trump said during a White House press conference. "Some of them haven't been allocated yet, and some of the generals think that this is more important.
"I was speaking to a couple of them. They think this is far more important than what they were going to use it for. I said, 'What are you going to use it for?' And I won't go into details, but it didn't sound too important to me."
Of the money being reprogrammed from the Defense Department, $3.6 billion was meant to fund military construction projects and the remaining $2.5 billion comes from counter-narcotics funding, Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told reporters.
None of the money comes from the Army Corps of Engineers' funding for hurricane reconstruction projects in Puerto Rico or Texas, Mulvaney said during a conference call before the president's speech.
It was not immediately clear which military construction projects would be affected by the president's move.
"We will be looking at lower priority military construction projects," a senior administration official said during the conference call. "We will be looking at ones that are to fix or repair particular facilities that might be to wait a couple of months into next year. We're going through a filter to ensure that nothing impacts lethality, readiness on the part of our military construction budget – which is a budget that is substantially larger than $3.6 billion."
The Defense Department will be reimbursed for the $6.1 billion in the fiscal 2020 budget, a senior administration official said. The money will go toward building 284 miles of barriers on the southwestern border.
Trump argued that the money being reprogrammed for the border wall represents a small fraction of the $700 billion and $716 billion that Congress appropriated for the Defense Department in fiscals 2018 and 2019 respectively.
The president added that his proposed fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, which should be presented to Congress in March, will be "pretty big too."
"When you think about the kind of numbers you're talking about – so you have $700 billion, $716 billion – when I need $2 billion, $3 billion out of that for a wall, which is a very important instrument – very important for the military, because of the drugs that pour in … when you have that kind of money going into the military, this is a very, very small amount that we're asking for."
Two airmen were administratively punished for drinking at the missile launch control center for 150 nuclear LGM-30G Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming, the Air Force confirmed to Task & Purpose on Friday.
Two F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters recently flew a mission in the Middle East in "beast mode," meaning they were loaded up with as much firepower as they could carry.
The F-35s with the 4th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron took off from Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates to execute a mission in support of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Air Forces Central Command revealed. The fifth-generation fighters sacrificed their high-end stealth to fly with a full loadout of weaponry on their wings.
The U.S. Senate closed out the week before Memorial Day by confirming Gen. James McConville as the Army's new chief of staff and Adm. Bill Moran as the Navy's new chief of naval operations.
McConville, previously vice chief of staff of the Army, was confirmed on Thursday along with his successor, Lt Gen. Joseph Marin. Moran, currently vice chief of naval operations, was confirmed Friday along with his successor, Vice Adm. Robert Burke.
The Pentagon is producing precisely diddly-squat in terms of proof that Iran is behind recent attacks in the Middle East, requiring more U.S. troops be sent to the region.
Adm. Michael Gilday, director of the Joint Staff, said on Friday that the U.S. military is extending the deployment of about 600 troops with four Patriot missile batteries already in the region and sending close to 1,000 other service members to the Middle East in response to an Iranian "campaign" against U.S. forces.