$17 million allocated for Tyndall Air Force Base to be diverted for border wall

Tyndall Air Force Base was hit by Hurricane Michael in October 2018. The base is still rebuilding. (WJHG/WECP)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WJHG/WECP) - The Pentagon is diverting $3.6 billion from military construction coffers to fund 175 miles of the border fencing, and some of that money was from Tyndall Air Force Base.

They say 127 military construction projects in both the United States and overseas will be deferred to free the $3.6 billion for the border wall, including a project at Tyndall Air Force Base.

According to documents released by Pentagon officials, Tyndall Air Force Base had $17 million allocated for a Fire/Crash Rescue Station. Stars and Stripes, the U.S. military's independent news source, says the Pentagon is confident Congress will later provide another $3.6 billion for the 127 planned construction projects worldwide that were diverted to pay for the border wall. They report the Defense Department has no "Plan B" should lawmakers decide not to backfill those funds to build defunded projects.

The Pentagon says family housing, barracks, or dormitory projects were not considered for deferment, nor were projects that had already been awarded or those that were expected to be awarded during fiscal year 2019. According to documents from the Pentagon, the project at Tyndall was to be awarded January 2020.

Agriculture Commissioner Nicole “Nikki” Fried offered the following statement, “Florida was spared the brunt of Hurricane Dorian – only to be whacked by our own President. Our military families deserve better. Floridians deserve better. Americans deserve better.”

Representative Neal Dunn, MD, released this statement, “It is unfortunate that the Democrats’ refusal to address the crisis at our border forced the President to use money already set aside for other military construction projects to continue construction of the border wall. While the Fire/Crash Station will one day be an important piece of Tyndall’s infrastructure, this short-term funding shift will have no impact on the future of the base. I am grateful for the President’s ongoing commitment to the people of North Florida and look forward to continuing to work with his team to ensure the rebuild stays on track.”

The Memorandum from the Secretary of Defense is attached below.

MEMORANDUM FOR ACTING UNDER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
(COMPTROLLER)/CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
SUBJECT: Military Construction Necessary to Support the Use of the Armed Forces in Addressing the National Emergency at the Southern Border

On February 15, 2019, in accordance with the National Emergencies Act, the President declared that a national emergency exists at the southern border requiring the use of the armed forces. This declaration made available, among other statutes, 10 U.S.C. § 2808, which authorizes the Secretary of Defense, without regard to any other provision of law, to undertake military construction projects not otherwise authorized by law that are necessary to support the use of the armed forces in connection with the national emergency.

Based on analysis and advice from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and input from the Commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Department of the Interior and pursuant to the authority granted to me in Section 2808, I have determined that 11 military construction projects (as listed in Attachment A) along the international border with Mexico, with an estimated total cost of $3 .6 billion, are necessary to support the use of the armed forces in connection with the national emergency. These projects will deter illegal entry, increase the vanishing time of those illegally crossing the border, and channel migrants to ports of entry. They will reduce the demand for DoD personnel and assets at the locations where the barriers are constructed and allow the redeployment of DoD personnel and assets to other high-traffic areas on the border without barriers. In short, these barriers will allow DoD to provide support to DHS more efficiently and effectively. In this respect, the contemplated construction projects are force multipliers.

To undertake these Section 2808 border barrier military construction projects, I approve the use of unobligated military construction funds within the total $3.6 billion amount appropriated for military construction projects listed in the attachments to the memorandum, and direct you to make these funds available in the manner outlined below to the Acting Secretary of the Army. Funding from projects that are outside of the United States ($ 1.8 billion detailed in Attachment B) should be immediately provided to the Acting Secretary of the Army for Section 2808 execution. Funding associated with military construction projects located in the United States (including U.S. territories) ($1.8 billion detailed in Attachment C) should be provided to the Acting Secretary of the Army once it is needed for obligation.

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(Department of Defense)
(Department of Defense)