Speed Reads

Trump's Wall

Pentagon is reportedly filling Trump's border wall account from ICBM, reconnaissance aircraft programs

The Defense Department said Friday that it intends to build 80 more miles of border fence using $1.5 billion taken from other projects, and on Sunday, The Washington Post revealed some details of where the Pentagon found its spare cash. Since Congress and Mexico have declined to fund President Trump's southern border wall, he has ordered the military to build it without congressional authorization, using authority claimed under a national emergency he declared and also by moving money around in the Pentagon's massive budget.

According to a Pentagon document obtained by the Post, this $1.5 billion will come from funds set aside to upgrade the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile program and its aging ground control center; the Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) program and its reconnaissance aircraft, which provide airborne fighter jets surveillance and other information; an unidentified Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency (DARPA) "space test experiment"; funds to support coalition forces and the Afghan military; a military retirement fund; and other programs.

The Pentagon document doesn't detail how much money is being taken from each program, but The Associated Press reported Friday that $682 million will come from Afghan and coalition forces, $344 million from unspecified Air Force programs, $251 million from an ongoing program to destroy chemical weapons, and $224 from the military retirement system. In March, the Pentagon announced it's transferring $1 billion from military personnel funds for Trump's wall, and Trump plans to take another $3.6 billion in military construction funds.

The Pentagon said in the document obtained by the Post that it "carefully selected sources for the reprogramming that are excess or early to need and will not adversely affect military preparedness." Several top Democratic senators told the Pentagon on Friday that if it insists on flouting Congress' authority to dictate how federal money is spent, "we look forward to hearing your views on how you intend to repair the damaged relationship between the defense oversight committees and the department."