Are you outraged that $3.6 Billion from the Pentagon Budget is going to be diverted to pay for the border wall?
The news has been filled with headlines like this one from a CNN opinion piece “Trump is hurting the military for his own political benefit”. According to the September 3, 2019, DOD Briefing on Use of 2808 MILCON Funds for Construction of the Border Wall, $3.6 billion dollars from the military construction budget will be reallocated to help fund the border wall. I found myself pretty angry for a variety of reasons. One of the listed projects is near where I live affecting one of our military bases and the local economy. The second reason is that budgeting falls under Congress and I didn’t like the use of Executive Orders with President Obama and I don’t like this use with President Trump. It violates our constitution and the separation of powers between the Executive, Legislative and Judicial Branches of the government.
Background. (compiled from the Sept 3, DOD Briefing)
So how can this happen? The president declared a national emergency at the border between Mexico and the United States under the use of Title 10, U.S. Code, Section 2808. The Defense Department then evaluated whether military construction projects (the wall) on the border would support the use of Armed Forces deployed to the border. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford concurred that such projects support the use of armed forces. So after all the analysis, Secretary of Defense Esper determined these construction projects are necessary and that the DOD will take on 11 border barrier military construction projects on the border.
Next the DOD identified which construction projects could be deferred with the goal of minimizing the impact within the United States and its territories. They also did not include housing for both troops and families or those that were awarded for 2019. Approximately $1.8 billion will come from projects outside the U.S. and about $1.8 billion from with the U.S. and its territories.
According to a Military Times article, “Here’s everything the Pentagon is putting on hold to concentrate on building the border wall,” dated Sept. 4. It is quite a few. “In total, the list included 43 projects in 23 states ― two of which had been slated for cancellation ― along with 21 in three U.S. territories and another 63 in 20 partner nations abroad. Now, they are all delayed in favor of 11 new projects that will make up 175 miles of new or reinforced border barriers.”
Where the politics come in – now the DOD is going back to Congress to request these funds that were reallocated to the wall be returned to the Pentagon budget. In regards to the 63 projects occurring in partner nations, it seems the goal is to ask them to pay for the projects as part of President Trump’s plan to make allies pay a fair share of defense expenses.
Current headlines about money being pulled from the Defense Department to pay for the wall made me very angry. Some even stated that the military would be less safe because of the reduced funding. I found that many of these headlines are very inflammatory and really designed to elicit the response I had. After reviewing all the information I could find and going to the source (Department of Defense briefing about this issue) I realized that the Pentagon has worked to choose construction projects which will have the least impact if they are delayed and I don’t believe any directly affect the safety of our military service members. So, I am still angry that Pentagon money is still going to pay for the wall but it is not a damaging as the headlines would have you believe.
What do you think about this issue? When you see inflammatory headlines do you take them at face value or do you delve into the story a little deeper to find the facts?
Marguerite Cleveland is a freelance writer who specializes in human interest and travel stories. She is a military brat, a veteran and now a military spouse. Her military experience is vast as the daughter of a Navy man who served as an enlisted sailor and then Naval Officer. She served as an enlisted soldier in the reserves and on active duty, then as an Army Officer. She currently serves as a military spouse. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two sons. Visit her website www.WanderWordsWine.com