AP NEWS

Pentagon faces ‘challenge’ finding money for Trump border wall

March 20, 2019

Paying for President Trump’s Mexican border wall presents a “challenge” for the U.S. military as it scrambles to find money already earmarked for other uses, a top Pentagon official acknowledged Tuesday.

Speaking at a Brookings Institution event on defense spending Tuesday, Patrick O’Brien, the director of the Defense Department’s office of economic adjustment, said that while his office “doesn’t have anything to do with” the wall, the matter “is a challenge for the department.”

Under mounting pressure from lawmakers, the Pentagon Monday sent to Congress a list of some $6.8 billion worth of projects that could potentially be delayed to construct a border wall.

Of the money at risk, about $1 billion is from Army accounts, $2.3 billion is from Navy, the Air Force accounts for $1.5 billion and another $1.5 billion is from department-wide funds.

“Responsible people are looking at it, trying to come up with means to respond for the requirement as they’re also trying to meet the needs of our forces,” Mr. O’Brien said.

Officials have yet to decide how much military construction money will be redirected to the wall, and so they haven’t decided which projects on the target list would actually be affected.

Over congressional opposition, Mr. Trump has declared a national emergency to secure billions of dollars in funding to extend the wall along the U.S. southern border.