Defense

Pentagon asks DHS to justify moving funds for Trump's border wall

The Pentagon said Thursday that it has asked the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for a priorities list to justify using military funds to build President Trump's desired border wall.

"We've asked DHS for input facts, data, priorities; we are waiting to receive those," acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told reporters at the Pentagon.

"When we do, we will then ... match that with our mission analysis and begin the process I think I've described to many of you."

The Military Times first reported Thursday that the Pentagon asked DHS for such a list in a Feb. 18 memo. The document asks for locations where border wall construction would improve the "effectiveness" of military troops deployed there.

Shanahan also told reporters that Pentagon officials will brief lawmakers on Capitol Hill on Friday "on the way forward and to give people a sense of not just the activities we are going to undertake but [also] the timing."

Trump announced last week that he would declare a national emergency to construct a border wall after Congress included only $1.375 billion for physical barriers along the border in a massive government funding bill - well below the $5.7 billion the president requested.

The president is seeking to redirect $3.6 billion from the military construction funds budget for construction of a border wall. That represents one-third of the more than $11 billion Congress authorized and appropriated for the fund in the fiscal 2019 defense budget.

Lawmakers were startled by the potential move and had urged Trump prior to last Friday's announcement not to divert the Pentagon dollars.

House Armed Services Committee ranking member Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) said in a statement last week that moving such funds for the wall "would have detrimental consequences for our troops."

Outbrain