Washington, DC, United States (VoA) – The Pentagon is shifting $1.5 billion in funds originally targeted for support of the Afghan security forces and other projects to help pay for construction of 80 miles of wall at the U.S.-Mexican border, officials said Friday.
Congress was being notified of the move, which follows the Pentagon’s decision in March to transfer $1 billion from Army personnel budget accounts to support wall construction. Some lawmakers have been highly critical of the Pentagon shifting money not originally authorized for border security.
The combined total of $2.5 billion is in response to President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the border, where Customs and Border Protection personnel are struggling to cope with increasing numbers of Central American families attempting to gain entry. Trump vetoed Congress’ attempt to reverse his emergency declaration.
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, who has said he plans to visit the border on Saturday, said in announcing the shift of funds that the Pentagon is “fully engaged” in fixing the border crisis. He said more than 4,000 troops and 19 aircraft are supporting Customs and Border Protection personnel.
“Today, I authorized the transfer of $1.5 billion toward the construction of more than 80 miles of border barrier,” he said. “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.”
Some in Congress, however, are opposed to the use of Pentagon funds to build the wall.
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