The military construction projects that are being defunded to provide $3.6 billion for President Trump’s border wall are of vital importance to the Pentagon, according to documents submitted by the Defense Department to Congress in the last few years.
Released earlier this month, the list of 127 projects that are losing funding (which you can see here) provides no explanation of why those projects were chosen, or what might happen if they are not completed, according to Aaron Gregg and Erica Werner of The Washington Post. Reviewing recent budget requests from the Department of Defense, Gregg and Werner found that the Pentagon portrayed many of the construction projects as essential, and in some cases potentially a matter of life and death.
“In numerous instances, Defense Department officials wrote that the infrastructure problems were hurting the military’s readiness, and impeding the department’s national security mission,” Gregg and Warner wrote Wednesday.
Here‘s a sample of the construction projects reviewed by the Post that are losing funding:
- A parking ramp used by armed aircraft in the Air National Guard in New Orleans sits next to a public road, exposing passersby to “unacceptable risk” from accidental explosions, the Air Force said in 2018. The airbase was scheduled to receive $15 million for renovations.
- Military personnel have been violating safety standards at an ammunition plant in Indiana due to inadequate storage facilities. The Army had planned a $16 million project to improve the facilities.
- To make way for the new Air Force One, the Pentagon needs to relocate a facility that handles hazardous cargo at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. The $37 million project has been placed on hold.
For its part, the Pentagon says that the construction projects are merely being delayed and will resume once Congress provides new funding. But Democrats appear to be unwilling to go along with this plan, saying it raises serious constitutional issues and would absolve the Trump administration of responsibility for redirecting the money in the first place. A fight over the issue seems likely this fall.
Read the full analysis at the Washington Post.