Warren, Gillibrand ask Defense whether border deployments hurt troop readiness

Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenSanders denies tweet about corporate Democrats was dig at Warren Sanders denies tweet about corporate Democrats was dig at Warren Warren: 'On Juneteenth and every day: Black lives matter' MORE (D-Mass.) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandOvernight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record Overnight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record 'We fight on': 2020 Democrats mark Juneteenth MORE (D-N.Y.) are among a group of six Senate Democrats calling on the Department of Defense to explain whether deployments to the southern border are negatively affecting the combat readiness of troops.

In a letter sent Monday to acting Defense Secretary Patrick ShanahanPatrick Michael ShanahanThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump's reelection message: Promises kept The Hill's Morning Report - Trump's reelection message: Promises kept Overnight Defense: Shanahan exit shocks Washington | Pentagon left rudderless | Lawmakers want answers on Mideast troop deployment | Senate could vote on Saudi arms deal this week | Pompeo says Trump doesn't want war with Iran MORE, the senators wrote that they are "extraordinarily distressed" by concerns raised by Marine Corps Gen. Robert Neller regarding the effect of deployment to the border on readiness.

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Neller wrote in internal memos in February and March that deployments to the southern border and funding transfers under President TrumpDonald John TrumpBooker hits Biden's defense of remarks about segregationist senators: 'He's better than this' Booker hits Biden's defense of remarks about segregationist senators: 'He's better than this' Trump says Democrats are handing out subpoenas 'like they're cookies' MORE's declaration of a national emergency were posing an "unacceptable risk to Marine Corps combat readiness and solvency," according to the Los Angeles Times, which obtained copies of the memos.

Neller added in the memos that he had canceled or reduced military training in at least five countries because of the president's “unplanned/unbudgeted” border deployment and the funding transfers.

In Monday's letter, the senators referenced Neller's memo while noting that other military officials have said recently that troop deployment has not affected readiness. They also asked Shanahan to explain those "discrepancies."

"To the extent the southern border deployment is causing readiness concerns, they must be addressed immediately," the senators added, while also requesting that Shanahan provide "a staff-level briefing on this matter within seven days" and a written explanation detailing how he will address Neller's concerns.

In addition to Warren and Gillibrand, Monday's letter was also signed by Sens. Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedOvernight Defense: Shanahan exit shocks Washington | Pentagon left rudderless | Lawmakers want answers on Mideast troop deployment | Senate could vote on Saudi arms deal this week | Pompeo says Trump doesn't want war with Iran Shanahan drama shocks Capitol Hill, leaving Pentagon rudderless Shanahan drama shocks Capitol Hill, leaving Pentagon rudderless MORE (D-R.I.), Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenKey endorsements: A who's who in early states Key endorsements: A who's who in early states Design leaks for Harriet Tubman bill after Mnuchin announces delay MORE (D-N.H.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthOvernight Defense: US to send 1K more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions | Iran threatens to break limit on uranium production in 10 days | US accuses Iran of 'nuclear blackmail' | Details on key defense bill amendments Overnight Defense: US to send 1K more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions | Iran threatens to break limit on uranium production in 10 days | US accuses Iran of 'nuclear blackmail' | Details on key defense bill amendments Senators revive effort to create McCain human rights commission MORE (D-Ill.).