- President Trump wants to divert nearly $4 billion in military spending away from equipment programs to build his wall along the Mexico border.
- The spending would cut more than dozen aircraft, a U.S. Navy ship, and cut funding for other programs.
- This is the second year the administration has sought to use military spending to fund a project voters were assured Mexico would pay for.
President Donald Trump wants to shift nearly four billion dollar in the defense budget away from military procurement to fund his border wall construction project. Trump’s defense budget cuts F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, P-8A patrol aircraft, MQ-9A Reaper attack drones, C-130 transports, and other programs, as well as delaying construction on a key amphibious ship.
The plan would cancel weapons used in the war against the Islamic State and meant to deter countries like China—all to build a wall along the Mexican border that is already being defeated by smugglers.
The Trump administration wants to move approximately $3.8 billion in fiscal year 2020 spending away from equipment purchases and wartime spending to fund the wall. That amounts to $2.202 billion in fiscal year 2020 defense appropriations and $1.629 billion in fiscal year overseas contingency operations—spending for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as other overseas operations.
The president’s request, according to Defense News, would cancel two F-35B Joint Strike Fighters for the U.S. Marine Corps, two MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, one P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft for the U.S. Navy, four C-130J Super Hercules transports for the Air Force Reserve and National Guard, and eight MQ-9A Reaper attack drones. It also cancels a expeditionary fast transport built for the U.S. Navy.
In addition it also strips money from advanced F-35 procurement, the Air Force’s light attack aircraft program (which is actually already dead), Army National Guard Humvee modernization, trucks for the U.S. Army, and advanced procurement of an 844 foot-long America-class amphibious assault ship, a move that will probably delay construction by at least a year.
Some of the equipment, such as C-130J Super Hercules transports and MQ-9A Reapers are used in the fight against the Islamic State in Syria and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Others, such as the F-35B, P-8A Poseidon, and amphibious assault ship, are considered vital to prepare for the possibility of conflict with China, Russia, or some other major military power.
Last year the administration similarly looted Department of Defense programs for wall spending, particularly military construction. Among those cut were schools for the children of U.S. military personnel in the U.S. and overseas, special forces training facilities, and construction to support the Puerto Rico National Guard. According to Defense News, over 100 construction programs were drained of funding.
President Trump repeatedly assured voters during his 2016 presidential campaign that his wall project along the U.S.-Mexico border would be paid for by Mexico. So far, only U.S. government spending has funded Trump’s wall.
Source: Defense News
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