San Diego military projects could be cut to fund Trump’s border wall, Pentagon says

The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer John Finn, left, and the littoral combat ship Montgomery pass each other in San Diego Bay as the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt is docked at Naval Base Coronado on June 26, 2018.
(K.C. Alfred / San Diego Union-Tribune)
San Diego Union-Tribune

Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan released a list of military construction projects Monday that could lose funding to help pay for a wall on the U.S. southern border.

The list of vulnerable projects includes a number previously reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune, including proposed infrastructure for Osprey aircraft at Naval Air Station North Island, new landing pads for F-35Bs at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, and a replacement pier at Naval Base San Diego.

President Trump in February declared a national emergency after a monthlong government shutdown that began when Congress refused to fund his proposed border wall. The emergency declaration authorizes him to divert funds from military construction to national security infrastructure, in this case at the border.

He has called for up to $3.6 billion to be diverted, but it’s still unclear exactly which projects will be slashed or delayed.


The Defense Department said in a statement that its list of possible projects to cut includes all military construction projects in which contracts had not yet been awarded as of Dec. 31.

That list encompasses $12.9 billion in planned construction nationwide, including more than $1 billion in projects in California, with nearly $600 million in the San Diego area.

Some projects up for possible diversion include a $47-million potable water project and a $15-million fire emergency response station, which are part of about $175 million in projects slated for Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

Also listed is almost $170 million in projects connected to the new Navy SEAL complex in Coronado.


Military housing and barracks projects would not be affected, the Pentagon said.

The Pentagon’s list provides greater clarity than a similar list released last month by the House Armed Services Committee.

The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives and the Republican-controlled Senate both voted to block the emergency declaration, but Trump vetoed their resolution Friday.

Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, admonished the Trump administration in a statement Monday.


“What President Trump is doing is a slap in the face to our military that makes our border and the country less secure,” Reed said. “He is planning to take funds from real, effective operational priorities and needed projects and divert them to his vanity wall.”

In a statement Friday on his first presidential veto, Trump said the situation at the border has reached a “breaking point” and that it demanded “immediate action.”

“The current situation at the southern border presents a border security and humanitarian crisis that threatens core national security interests and constitutes a national emergency,” Trump said in a statement.

Dyer writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.