TUCSON, Ariz. — The Department of Defense may divert up to $148 million from Arizona military bases to pay for a wall on the southern border, Pentagon officials confirmed to Congress Monday afternoon.
The funding would come from any construction projects that don't involve military housing and haven't been awarded to a contractor by the end of September 2019, the DOD said in a fact sheet to the Senate Armed Services Committee. That leaves six multimillion-dollar projects in Arizona potentially on the chopping block:
- A $15 million ground equipment facility at Davis Monthan Air Force Base.
- A $23 million F-35 maintenance facility and $17 million for F-35 Squad Ops #6 at Luke Air Force Base.
- A $30 million ground transport equipment building at Fort Huachuca.
- $14.8 million for missile motor magazines and utility and site improvements at Camp Navajo.
- $48.355 million for a VMX-22 maintenance hangar in Yuma.
The Pentagon projects all but the $30 million Fort Huachuca project to be contracted by the September 2019 deadline, though any project could be up for grabs if the contract remains unawarded. The Pentagon's fact sheet says the president's 2020 budget would backfill any funding shortfall for all projects, if passed by Congress.
The list came at the request of some members of the Senate Armed Services Committee at a hearing Monday, where Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan testified.
President Trump declared a national emergency on the southern border last month -- a move used to free up around $3.6 billion of funds already allocated for the military to help pay for a wall on the southern border. The move drew a rebuke from Congress -- both the House and Senate passed a resolution rejecting the president's declaration from Congress. President Trump vetoed that resolution.
Arizona Sen. Martha McSally voted against the resolution after she said she received assurances from the White House and Pentagon that Arizona military projects from the current fiscal year would not be affected.
I have spoken with the Acting Secretary of Defense, the President and Vice President to underscore that we must ensure military readiness while also funding border security. As a result, no Arizona military construction projects from Fiscal Year 2019 will be impacted.— Martha McSally (@SenMcSallyAZ) March 13, 2019
A spokesperson for Sen. McSally released a statement Monday afternoon:
“Ft. Huachuca has a long overdue project from Fiscal Year 2018 that we are actively working to keep off any chopping block and will fight tooth and nail to backfill if needed.”