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Trump's raid on military construction funds for his border wall will screw over critical Air Force projects, report says
An Air Force assessment indicates that the Trump administration's decision to reroute funding from dozens of the service's planned military construction projects "poses various national security risks for the U.S. armed forces," NBC News reports.
The internal report, obtained by NBC News on Friday, details how the Trump administration's September move to reprogram $3.6 billion in Defense Department funding for military construction projects to erect a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border impacts 51 specific Air Force projects out of 127 identified by the Pentagon.
Those projects include repairs and replacements that the service deemed critical to addressing safety and security concerns at various installations around the world, per NBC News, including:
- An entry control point at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey at which the main gate is "degrading and not properly configured to provide proper protection for pedestrian and vehicle passage" among an increase in security breaches following the start of U.S. military operations against ISIS in neighboring Syria in 2014.
- New facilities at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam for the storage of more than $1 billion in munitions, one of the largest stockpiles in U.S. Indo-Pacific Command's area of responsibility.
- Critical repairs for boiler at Eielsen Air Force Base in Alaska that provides all electricity and heat for the base, the failure of which would "bee devastating to facilities and the missions housed by them within hours."
In March, a pair of internal memos authored by then-Marine Commandant Gen. Robert Neller and obtained by the Los Angeles Times indicated that the "unplanned/unbudgeted" deployment of Marine Corps personnel to the U.S.-Mexico border posed an "unacceptable risk to Marine Corps combat readiness and solvency.
As Task & Purpose previously reported, the Trump administration is diverting funding from a total of 127 projects both in the U.S. and overseas, including $400 million form 10 projects related to Hurricane Maria recovery and more than $700 million in projects meant to help deter Russia in Europe.
When reached for comment, Air Force spokesperson Ann Stefanek reassured NBC News that "these projects are still very important, and we continue to be committed to our allies and partners."
But speaking to reporters following his February emergency declaration, Trump had claimed that the billions in funding he planned on diverting from the Pentagon budget wasn't going to be used for anything "important" anyway.
"We had certain funds that are being used at the discretion of generals, at the discretion of the military," Trump said at the time. "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," he added. "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."
The admiral in charge of Navy special operators will decide whether to revoke the tridents for Eddie Gallagher and other SEALs involved in the Navy's failed attempt to prosecute Gallagher for murder, a defense official said Tuesday.
The New York Times' David Philipps first reported on Tuesday that the Navy could revoke the SEAL tridents for Gallagher as well as his former platoon commander Lt. Jacob Portier and two other SEALs: Lt. Cmdr. Robert Breisch and Lt. Thomas MacNeil.
The four SEALs will soon receive a letter that they have to appear before a board that will consider whether their tridents should be revoked, a defense official told Task & Purpose on condition of anonymity.
‘It’s Lt. Col. Vindman’ — Active-duty witness in Trump impeachment inquiry sharply corrects congressman
Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman made sure to take the time to correct a Congressman on Tuesday while testifying before Congress, requesting that he be addressed by his officer rank and not "Mr."
'What happens after that is out of their control' — Former military leaders and lawyers react to Trump's war crimes pardons
On Friday, President Donald Trump intervened in the cases of three U.S. service members accused of war crimes, granting pardons to two Army soldiers accused of murder in Afghanistan and restoring the rank of a Navy SEAL found guilty of wrongdoing in Iraq.
While the statements coming out of the Pentagon regarding Trump's actions have been understandably measured, comments from former military leaders and other knowledgable veterans help paint a picture as to why the president's Friday actions are so controversial.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. aircraft carrier strike group Abraham Lincoln sailed through the vital Strait of Hormuz on Tuesday, U.S. officials told Reuters, amid simmering tensions between Iran and the United States.
Tensions in the Gulf have risen since attacks on oil tankers this summer, including off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, and a major assault on energy facilities in Saudi Arabia. Washington has blamed Iran, which has denied being behind the attacks on global energy infrastructure.
Iran continues to support the Taliban to counter U.S. influence in Afghanistan, a recent Defense Intelligence Agency report on Iran's military power says.
Iran's other goals in Afghanistan include combating ISIS-Khorasan and increasing its influence in any government that is formed as part of a political reconciliation of the warring sides, according to the report, which the Pentagon released on Tuesday.