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Homeland Security

Iran Press TV

Pentagon pulling funds from nuclear missile, spy planes projects to fund Trump's promised border wall

Iran Press TV

Mon May 13, 2019 10:35PM

The Pentagon has relocated funds from nuclear missile and spy plane-related projects, among other defense cuts, in a bid to fund United States President Donald Trump's promised border wall in the south of the country.

About $57 million will be taken from upgrades originally planned for the Boeing E-3 Sentry surveillance aircraft, along with another $24.3 million from upgrades on the Air Force's Minuteman III nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) system program, The Hill reported on Monday.

The State Department budget transfers are part of $1.5 billion in funds that have been relocated from other projects in order to help pay for construction of nearly 80 miles (130 kilometers) of wall at the US-Mexican border.

The transfer, approved by acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, was originally announced by a Pentagon spokesman on Friday.

Earlier this week, reports emerged showing that the biggest segment of the budget transfer, $604 million, was from the Afghan Security Forces Fund, which funds Afghanistan's army and other security forces in the war-torn country.

Removing the $604 million means the Afghan Security Forces Fund in the current Defense Department budget is reduced from the $4.9 billion approved by Congress to about $4.3 billion.

According to Defense Department documents, the budget relocation will also cut back $209.7 million designated for an Air Force space launch vehicle and an additional $52.6 million from air-launch cruise missiles and Predator Hellfire missiles programs.

Another $251 million will also be relocated come from the department's Chemical Agent and Munitions Destruction program.

The Pentagon document argues that the reduced budget will "not inhibit the ability to pursue efforts/technologies to accelerate the destruction of the remaining US chemical weapons stockpile."

The fund relocation follows the Pentagon's decision in March to transfer $1 billion from Army personnel budget accounts to support border wall construction.

The combined total of $2.5 billion is in response to President Donald Trump's declaration of a national emergency at the border, activating executive powers provided under the National Emergencies Act in February to utilize the armed forces and construction powers to build a border barrier.

In all, the Pentagon is expected to shift about $6 billion to help build a border wall, including about $3.6 billion from military construction projects, some of which will be delayed.

Democratic lawmakers have, however, accused Trump of going around congressional authority by allocating the funds by announcing a national emergency, with some threatening the Defense Department of depriving the body of its reprogramming authority in the future.

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