On Friday, the Pentagon made the huge announcement that it was taking a staggering $1.5 billion from various existing military programs and using it to help fund the construction of President Donald Trump’s border wall.
The Washington Post reported that programs such as the ballistic missile system and its Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) would be affected. The original announcement of the big money move conveniently left out the details of what programs would be directly affected, but the Post report cited a Department of Defense document for info, and acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan also confirmed as much.
Seeking to reassure the public’s growing concerns that this move could negatively impact the nation’s security by putting military preparedness in jeopardy, the document reads, “The Department carefully selected sources for the reprogramming that are excess or early to need and will not adversely affect military preparedness.” According to the Associated Press, Shanahan elaborated on the document, saying in a statement to reporters:
“We have very smart people here in the department, and we found ways to do this without having any impact on readiness.”Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan
In recent months, the US-Mexico border has seen an increase in the number of immigrants seeking to enter the US and undoubtedly this has left already understaffed border officials completely swamped and overwhelmed. Rather than seeking to re-imagine ways to properly staff and equip the border to handle such a surge, of course this has only served to fuel President Trump’s “wall fever” and heighten his great desire to construct the wall at all costs.
The $1.5 billion in funds from the military programs will be added to the $1 billion coming from Army personnel funds and $3.6 billion coming from military construction projects. The AP also reports that of the $1.5 billion figure just announced on Friday, the largest portion of it – $604 million – will come directly from the Afghan Security Forces Fund, which is a Defense Department program that provides assistance to not only security forces but also civilian personnel and armed groups in Afghanistan.
More tallies include $344 million coming from contracts within Air Force programs where the Pentagon decided they could cut costs, and $251 million will be taken from a project which was set up to effectively destroy devastating chemical agents and munitions as agreed upon at the Chemical Weapons Convention.
Are these massive figures shocking to you? They should be. And they are to Democrats who are laying into Trump over this audacious move to literally use any and all means necessary to build a wall which Congress has already refused to fund.
In response to the announcement, Rep. John Garamendi, the Democratic chairman of the House Armed Services readiness subcommittee, blasted the president in a statement to the AP:
“Once again, the president has shamefully ignored his oath of office to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States and stolen $1.5 billion in Pentagon funds to pay for his ineffective border wall.”Rep. John Garamendi