Sep 13, 2019

Trump's plan to use Air Force funds for border wall poses national security risks

Photo: Paul Ratje/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump's plan to redirect funds from 51 U.S. Air Force construction projects for the southern border wall presents a variety of national security risks for U.S. armed forces, according to a report composed by the Air Force that NBC News obtained.

Why it matters: The diversion of resources delays many of those military projects, increasing vulnerabilities both domestically and abroad. There is no assurance the money will be automatically replenished, according anonymous officials, and funding for these projects could be set back by a year or more, reports NBC.

Some of the affected Air Force projects:

  • Storage for $1 billion of munitions overseas.
  • Replacing a boiler at a base in Alaska, "whose failure is 'imminent'" and could result in the evacuation of the base, per NBC.
  • A new entry-control point at the Incirlik Air Base in Turkey to protect vulnerable troops.
  • Stalled construction in support of the European Defense Initiative, a program to boost U.S. military presence and discourage Russian aggression.

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Pentagon halts 3 planned border projects over lack of funding

A Customs and Border Protection helicopter flies over the U.S.-Mexico border wall on April 5 in Mexicali, Mexico. Photo: Luis Boza/VIEWpress/Corbis via Getty Images

The Defense Department halted 3 planned "border barrier" construction projects on Sept. 13 after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) determined there were insufficient savings to move forward, per a court filing obtained by Politico this week.

The big picture: The USACE overestimated how much money would be available for these projects after the Pentagon redirected $2.5 billion in July for border wall construction. These projects would have been funded with money "left over" from the $2.5 billion, per Politico.

Go deeperArrowSep 18, 2019

Trump border wall threatens archaeological sites in Arizona

A sign warns against smuggling in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument near Lukeville, Arizona. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Unrecorded archaeological sites within Arizona’s Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument could be destroyed by President Trump's border wall construction, according to a newly public National Park Service report obtained by the Washington Post.

The big picture: Customs and Border Patrol plans to finish construction through the Arizona International Biosphere Reserve by January, according to the report. Construction began on Aug. 29. The Trump administration told Axios in August it expects to build 450 miles of wall by the end of 2020 — but was unable to say when it would add its 1st mile of new wall to a border area without pre-existing barriers.

Go deeperArrowSep 17, 2019

Where U.S. troops and military assets are deployed in the Middle East

An American soldier stands guard during a joint patrol with Turkish troops in the Syrian village of al-Hashisha. Photo: Delil Souleiman/AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. has maintained a costly presence in the Middle East for decades, with at least 60,000 troops currently stationed around the region, according to United States Central Command.

Driving the news: The killing of Iran's Gen. Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in a U.S. drone strike has put the world on edge, with Iran promising revenge. The U.S. is preparing to deploy about 3,000 additional troops to the region, and had already sent 750 troops after protesters attacked the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jan 8, 2020 - World