Promised list of military construction projects finally sent to Capitol Hill

Promised list of military construction projects finally sent to Capitol Hill

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan awaits arrival of President Donald Trump's arrival at the Pentagon for meetings on Monday. (U.S. Army Sgt. James K. McCann) /DoD)

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon sent to Capitol Hill on Monday a 21-page list of military construction projects that could have their funding shifted to help pay for President Donald Trump’s wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

“The pool of potential military construction projects from which funding could be reallocated to support the construction of border barrier are solely projects with award dates after September 30, 2019,” the Pentagon said in the memo with the list.

The lists shows projects in at least 43 states and territories, 28 foreign nations and “worldwide classified” and “CONUS (Continental United States) classified” locations.

The projects on the list total about $12.9 billion and are not listed in priority. That includes $6.9 billion for projects not likely to be started before September of this year, the most likely targets, Pentagon officials said.

“The appearance of any project within the pool does not mean that the project will, in fact, be used” to fund the border wall, the Pentagon said in its memo.

Under his national emergency declaration, Trump is seeking $3.6 billion from fiscal year 2019 military construction funds to help pay for the wall construction. He is also seeking $7.2 billion in emergency funding for the border in his proposed fiscal 2020 budget — half to go to new wall mney the remaining to refund the current projects that get raided for money.

“No military construction projects that already have been awarded, and no military construction projects with FY 2019 award dates will be impacted. No military housing, barracks, or dormitory projects will be impacted,” the Pentagon said.

Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) requested the list on Thursday when Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Shanahan promised to send the list by the end of that day. He did not. Nor apparently did he send the list Friday.

On Monday, during a brief meeting with Pentagon reporters during the arrival of the French defense minister, Shanahan said he had sent the list as he promised.

“Have you fulfilled your promise to Congress and provided them with a list of potential military construction projects that will be cut or at least lose funding?” Shanahan was asked six minutes and 30 seconds into the press availability. “I have,” he replied.

At the end of the same press availability, he was asked the same question and gave the same response — “I have.”

Reed reacted with distain to the move. “”He (Trump) is planning to take funds from real, effective operational priorities and needed projects and divert them to his vanity wall,” Reed said in a statement.

The Pentagon memo also said that, “To make decisions about the use of military construction funds, the Joint Staff and USNORTHCOM (Northern Command) will examine a project list of specific border barrier construction projects provided by the Department of Homeland Security and will conduct a mission analysis on which border barrier projects would support the use of the armed forces.

In that regards, Shanahan said he has not received a list he needs — that of projects where the Department of Homeland Security needs the Pentagon’s help.

“I know it’s in the works,” Shanahan told Pentagon reporters. “I haven’t checked my mailbox today.”

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