The Pentagon will put the brakes on eight defense projects on Guam worth $257 million, including the construction of $50-million machine gun range at Andersen Air Force Base, as part of the Department of Defense’s $3.6 billion fund diversion to build the Mexican border wall.
The eight Guam projects are among the 127 military construction tasks that stand to lose funding to fence the southern border with Mexico, which according to defense Secretary Mark Esper is necessary to curb illegal entry of migrants.
The deferment of $257 million Guam projects slashed the 2019 construction budget for Guam by more than half. The 2019 National Defense Authorization Act appropriates $409 million for Guam projects.
The list, made public late Wednesday, consists of projects authorized under the 2019 defense budget and have yet to be awarded.
Besides Guam, affected jurisdictions include 23 U.S. states, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands and 20 countries. Roughly $770 million of the funding will be taken from projects across allied European nations aimed at helping them deter a possible attack from Russia, according to DOD.
On Guam, projects on the chopping block include the Navy-Commercial Tie-In Hardening (37.18 million), Water Well Field ($56 million), Earth Covered Magazines ($52.27 million), APR - SATCOM C4I Facility ($14.2 million), APR - Munitions Storage Igloos, Ph 2 ($35.3 million), Hayman Munitions Storage Igloos MSA 2 (9.8 million) and PRTC Roads ($2.5 million), and the machine gun construction ($50 milion).
The inclusion of the machine project means the bid solicitation issued on Aug. 8 will be revoked.
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“I have determined that 11 military construction projects along the international borders of Mexico with an estimated total of 3.6 billion are necessary to support the use of armed forces in connection with the national emergency,” Esper wrote to Rep. Adam Smith, chairman of the Committee on Armed Forces.
In February, President Trump declared that “a national emergency exists along the southern border of the United States that requires the use of armed forces.”
Esper said the DOD’s decision to pool resources from other existing projects in order to build the border wall was “based on analysis and advice from the chairman of Joint Chief of Staff and input from the commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Interior.”
“These projects will deter the illegal entry and increase the vanishing time of those illegally crossing the border, the channel migrants to port of entry,” Esper said. “They will reduce the demand for DOD personnel and assets to other high traffic areas on the border without barriers.”
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