Only Friday, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan made an announcement: the Pentagon’s given the go-ahead for an additional $1.5 billion in border wall funding.
And how much does a cool one-and-a-half getcha? According to Stars and Stripes, it’s more than 80 miles of barrier:
The Department of Defense is fully engaged in addressing the crisis on our southwest border, with more than 4,000 servicemembers and 19 aircraft currently supporting the Department of Homeland Security. Today, I authorized the transfer of $1.5 billion toward the construction of more than 80 miles of border barrier. The funds were drawn from a variety of sources, including cost savings, programmatic changes, and revised requirements, and therefore will have minimal impact on force readiness.”
In March, $1 billion was added for 60 miles of wall through Yuma, Arizona and El Paso (see my coverage here).
And what’s the dough’s source? More than half will come from Afghan security forces support, as well as from a military retirement system.
The allocation trails a quarter of a year behind The Donald’s seminal National Emergency declaration (which Lindsey Graham loved — here), setting aside $6 billion in military money and personnel for border business.
The new bil will be put towards replacing fences on four different projects.
But how much more money is there, and how much more wall is guaranteed?
Shanahan told lawmakers that there’s enough Pentagon contracts and funding from their budgets and other agencies in place to build more than 250 miles of new border fencing. That represents the construction of about 63 miles of border barriers during the next six months. “We now have on contract sufficient funds to build about 256 miles of barrier,” he said.
It sounds like a decent start. This whole funding paradigm, incidentally, is a new one:
Traditionally, the Pentagon conducts a midyear review in April to hunt down budget savings that can be moved to programs that need the money. Now, the Pentagon is redirecting funds to build the wall that would normally go to military accounts that might be running short, such as re-enlistment bonuses and health care, according to Mark Cancian, a senior adviser with the Washington think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies.
The border saga continues…and so, no doubt, will the lunacy of those in Congress, grandstanding against national security
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