The Pentagon has released its list of military construction projects that could be cut to fund President Donald Trump’s requested border wall. The bottom line: basically every state has a project that could be delayed in order to get construction underway, but only a very specific set could actually be cut.
To tally up $12.8 billion for wall construction, the Pentagon has proposed culling unobligated spending from approved construction projects. From the list, only funds from projects that had a projected award date after Oct. 1, 2019, are eligible to be used, and it can not include military barracks.
The list released by the Pentagon includes all unobligated projects — not all of which would be eligible to be used, based on their criteria.
For example, under the rules the Pentagon has established, $5.2 million for Anniston Army Depot in Alabama to build a weapons maintenance shop that was due to be awarded in March 2020 could be cut. On the other hand, $77 million for a vehicle maintenance shop at Fort Carson that was due to be awarded in June 2019 could not be cut.
Once the Pentagon’s selection rules are applied, however, the actual number of military construction projects that can be used is far less - only $4.3 billion, based on a Military Times analysis of the list. The Pentagon has previously said it intends to have cut military construction projects fund $3.6 billion of the border wall project. That means almost every eligible construction project is likely to be hit.
The list laid out to members what their constituents had to lose, which some Democrats suggested could fuel enough opposition to be able to override President Trump’s veto last week of the National Emergency Declaration. The president’s declaration of a national emergency was what had loosened up the potential to use this military construction funding in the first place; last week both chambers voted to recall that emergency — which Trump then vetoed.
It becomes a much clearer fight though, said Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., when members see the lost spending in their districts.
“A bipartisan majority of Congress went on record in voting to rebuke this ill-conceived idea. Now that members of Congress can see the potential impact this proposal could have on projects in their home states, I hope they will take that into consideration before the vote to override the president’s veto," Reed said.
Some of the projects on the list that are at risk:
- $31 million for a mission training complex at East Camp Grafenwoehr, Germany
- $50 million for a rotary wing apron at Wheeler Army Air Field in Hawaii
- $16 million for a railcar holding area for Crane Army Ammunition Plant in Indiana
- $53 million for a UAV hangar for Kunsan Air Base in Korea
- $40 million for a information systems complex at White Sands, New Mexico
- $95 million for an engineering center at the U.S. Military Academy
This story is developing and will be updated.
Tara Copp is the Pentagon Bureau Chief for Military Times and author of the award-winning military nonfiction "The Warbird: Three Heroes. Two Wars. One Story."