The Pentagon will divert more than 3,600 million funds to schools, services and military bases to finance the construction of the Trump border wall. In total, about 127 projects will lose their funds to raise more than 280 kilometers of fences and barriers on the US border with Mexico, in compliance with the president's order.
The decision is particularly hard for Puerto Rico, which will lose some 400 million destined, among other plans, to rebuild military bases affected by Hurricane 'María', which devastated the island in September 2017. Another 770 million will be diverted from projects. of support for European defense in allied countries, aimed at preventing a military attack by Russia. These are plans approved by President Barack Obama after the Russian annexation of Crimea and the war in eastern Ukraine, and includes actions in Italy, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary. Collaterally, the diversion of funds will leave military families without new schools and nurseries.
- "Hard hit".
Senators and congressmen believe that the decision will undermine the morale and preparation of the troops
In its announcement, the Pentagon said the funds will be used to support border fencing operations as part of the National Emergency declared in February by Donald Trump. Officially the Pentagon says that the projects will be postponed, although to be re-funded in the future they will require a new approval from Congress. The Republican majority Senate said it will do so in its annual Defense budget, but the Democrats, head of the House of Representatives, confirmed once again that they will not refinance military projects that were already approved by law.
The head of Defense, Mark T. Esper, based the diversion of these amounts on a dark section of the Military Code, 2808, which allows the appropriation of military construction funds during a national emergency without congressional approval. Esper, who until 3 years ago was a recognized executive in charge of government relations with Raytheon, a corporation with major Defense contracts, suggested that military support in the construction of the border barrier will help the Army in defending the country against National Emergency of the immigration crisis. Trump declared this emergency to circumvent the refusal of Congress to give him funds for the wall and thus access the Pentagon budgets.
The leader of the Senate Democratic minority, Chuck Schumer, called the decision a "hard blow" to the Army, which will "undermine" the morale and preparation of the troops. Among the projects that will be delayed, Schumer said, is the West Point military academy in New York. Democratic congressman Ben Ray Luján named the case of the Holloman Air Force school, which will lose some 85 million to train new drone squad pilots MQ-9 Reaper in New Mexico.