Trump’s plan to pay for border wall with Air Force funds risks national security, report says

Government contractors erect a section of Pentagon-funded border wall along the Colorado River, in Yuma, Ariz. on Sept. 10, 2019Matt York / AP

President Donald Trump’s plan to pay for his proposed border wall by taking funds from more than four dozen Air Force military construction projects poses various national security risks for the U.S. armed forces, according to a report compiled by the U.S. Air Force.

The report, obtained by NBC News, details the importance of each of the 51 military projects chosen by the Trump administration to lose their funding, including construction of a new gate to address a growing security concern at an overseas U.S. base, projects to build facilities to safely store more than $1 billion in munitions overseas, and even replacing a boiler whose failure is “imminent” and could cause the evacuation of an entire base in Alaska.

One of the major areas affected were military construction projects supporting the European Defense Initiative, a program intended to increase U.S. military presence in Europe to deter Russian aggression. In some cases, without the construction projects, the bases identified as part of the initiative cannot support the deployment of U.S. airmen or assets.

The safety of one dozen F/A-22 aircraft and the supporting personnel at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, are at risk, because of aircraft firing engines inside shelters that are not adequately vented. The project would have upgraded hardened aircraft shelters for the attack aircraft, and without it they “will have no shelter facilities in case of enemy attack, making the assets vulnerable to destruction.”

Roughly $1.8 billion will be taken from projects in the continental United States and $1.8 billion from projects overseas. The $3.6 billion is expected to construct 175 miles of wall along the southern border.

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