Warren, Gillibrand ask Defense whether border deployments hurt troop readiness

Stefani Reynolds

Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (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 Shanahan, 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.

{mosads}Neller wrote in internal memos in February and March that deployments to the southern border and funding transfers under President Trump’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 Reed (D-R.I.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.).

Tags Donald Trump Elizabeth Warren Jack Reed Jeanne Shaheen Kirsten Gillibrand Patrick Shanahan Tammy Duckworth

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