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Collateral Damage Grows While Trump and GOP Maintain Their Manufactured “National Emergency” Border Crisis

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The true cost of President Trump’s national emergency declaration continues to grow. Molly O’Toole from the Los Angeles Times reports on the national security implications of stripping money from the military, focusing on funding for crucial Marine Corps training across the globe. In addition, Paul Sonne and Erica Werner of the Washington Post write on the impacts to Puerto Rico’s military schools, much-needed base repairs and training programs and the hit European allies will take when funding is slashed for programs that help deter Russia.

Pili Tobar, Deputy Director of America’s Voice said: “There are no limits to how far the Trump administration will go and what they will risk for political benefit and this is the perfect example. The administration will go to any lengths to maintain their fake national emergency and keep feeding a narrative about crisis and chaos, even if it hinders our military preparedness and threatens our national security. And it’s all for their political gain.”

The two articles are excerpted below:

Los Angeles Times: “Marine Corps commandant says deploying troops to the border poses ‘unacceptable risk’”:

The commandant of the Marines has warned the Pentagon that deployments to the southwest border and funding transfers under the president’s emergency declaration, among other unexpected demands, have posed “unacceptable risk to Marine Corps combat readiness and solvency.”

In two internal memos, Marine Corps Gen. Robert Neller said the “unplanned/unbudgeted” deployment along the border that President Trump ordered last fall, and shifts of other funds to support border security, had forced him to cancel or reduce planned military training in at least five countries, and delay urgent repairs at bases.

…The border deployment and funding transfers, as well as recovery costs from hurricanes Florence and Michael, new housing allowances and civilian pay raises, are taking a toll on combat readiness, Neller wrote to Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Navy Secretary Richard Spencer.

…“The hurricane season is only three months away,” Neller wrote, “and we have Marines, Sailors, and civilians working in compromised structures.”

Washington Post: “Pentagon plan to fund Trump’s wall could hit Puerto Rico, European allies hard”:

Pentagon plans to take money away from military construction projects to pay for President Trump’s border wall would potentially deal an outsized blow to Puerto Rico and particularly affect a program helping European allies deter Russia, according to a Washington Post analysis.

…Puerto Rico is the most affected U.S. territory or state, with 10 projects at a value of $403 million on the smaller list, according to The Post’s analysis.

The projects in Puerto Rico that would potentially have their funding taken away include the construction of a school for military children on what was once Ramey Air Force base and improvements to Camp Santiago, a training facility operated by the Puerto Rico National Guard.

…The initiatives at risk include a plan to build a facility for Special Operations forces and their training in Estonia; projects to construct ammunition and fuel storage facilities and staging areas in Poland; and planned upgrades to aircraft surveillance facilities in Italy and Britain, as well as airfield and fuel storage upgrades in Slovakia and Hungary.

…Washington is the most affected state by amount of money, with three projects totaling $185 million at risk of losing funding, including a project at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor that would expand the pier there to accommodate two additional Seawolf-class fast-attack submarines.

New York is the second most affected state by the amount of money at risk because of two sizable projects with $160 million in funding at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The academy is slated to get a new parking garage as well as a state-of the-art engineering center.

Virginia is the most affected state by number of projects potentially affected, with seven plans valued at $143 million, including construction to improve security at the Pentagon and a cyber operations facility at Joint Base Langley-Eustis. It is followed closely by Alaska, with five projects potentially affected at a value of $131 million.

…The types of projects vary, but schools for the children of U.S. military personnel at home and abroad would be among the most impacted. Some $664 million in at-risk funding is money that was appropriated by Congress for the construction or renovation of elementary schools, high schools and middle schools. About $132 million of that funding is for two school projects that the Pentagon says have been canceled for unrelated reasons.  

Within the Pentagon, the Air Force is by far the service that is most affected, with $1.31 billion worth of projects on the refined list. It’s followed by the Navy, with $786 million worth of projects, and the Army, with $680 billion.