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Overnight Defense: Pentagon shift money to fill holes caused by border wall funding | Navy, Air Force flyovers begin | Lawmakers pledge to pass defense bill this year

Overnight Defense: Pentagon shift money to fill holes caused by border wall funding | Navy, Air Force flyovers begin | Lawmakers pledge to pass defense bill this year

<p class="p1"><strong>Happy&nbsp;Tuesday and welcome to Overnight Defense.&nbsp;</strong>I'm Ellen Mitchell, and here's your nightly guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and beyond.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.email.thehill.com/thehillreg/thehillreg/pref.action?lid=3"><span class="s1">CLICK HERE to subscribe to the newsletter.</span></a></p><p class="p1"><strong>THE TOPLINE:</strong>&nbsp;The&nbsp;<a href="https://thehill.com/policy/defense/495103-pentagon-shifts-money-from-ove... class="s1">Pentagon is taking money from 19 construction projects, including several in Europe meant to deter Russia</span></a>, in order to pay for construction projects stateside that had been delayed because funding was reallocated to&nbsp;<a href="https://thehill.com/people/donald-trump"><span class="s1">President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden to move ahead with billion UAE weapons sale approved by Trump Fox News hires high-profile defense team in Dominion defamation lawsuit Associate indicted in Gaetz scandal cooperating with DOJ: report MORE</span></a>’s border wall.</p><p class="p1">In a memo dated Monday obtained by The Hill, Defense Secretary&nbsp;<a href="https://thehill.com/people/mark-esper"><span class="s1">Mark EsperMark EsperThe paradox of US-India relations Overnight Defense: Trump-era land mine policy unchanged amid review | Biden spending outline coming Friday | First lady sets priorities for relaunched military families initiative Biden to keep Trump-era land mine policy in place during review MORE</span></a>&nbsp;directed acting Pentagon comptroller Elaine McCusker to take $545.5 million from projects largely outside the United States to pay for projects&nbsp;within its borders.</p><p class="p1"><strong>Lawmakers up in arms</strong>: Top House Democrats slammed the move Tuesday, accusing the Trump administration of “making an end run around Congress” after lawmakers refused to replenish funding Trump took from military construction to pay for the wall.</p><p class="p1">“Even worse, Trump is doing this by canceling funding for critical European Deterrence Initiative projects that were designed to bolster real national security needs and prevent Russian aggression against American allies and partners in Europe,” House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman&nbsp;<a href="https://thehill.com/people/nita-lowey"><span class="s1">Nita LoweyNita Sue Lowey Progressives fight for leverage amid ever-slimming majority Biden needs to tear down bureaucratic walls and refocus Middle East programs Committee chairs continue their lawmaking decline MORE</span></a>&nbsp;(D-N.Y.) and Rep.&nbsp;<a href="https://thehill.com/people/debbie-wasserman-schultz"><span class="s1">Debbie Wasserman SchultzDeborah (Debbie) Wasserman SchultzFlorida Democrats call for DOJ investigation of state Senate races Democrats urge FDA to clear market of all flavored e-cigarettes DeSantis threatens to divert vaccines from communities criticizing distribution MORE</span></a>&nbsp;(D-Fla.), chairwoman of the subcommittee in charge of military construction, said in a statement.</p><p class="p1">“Once again, the Trump administration is putting domestic political considerations ahead of national security, and Trump is trampling on Congress’ power of the purse in the process,” they added. “The American people deserve better, but they will only get it when congressional Republicans join us and stand up to this out-of-control president.”</p><p class="p1">&nbsp;</p><p class="p1"><strong>The background</strong>:&nbsp;Last year, Trump declared a national emergency to fund construction of his wall on the southern border after Congress did not approve as much money for border security as he requested.</p><p class="p1">As part of the national emergency, the Pentagon last year took $3.6 billion from 127 military construction projects to build 175 miles of wall.&nbsp;</p><p class="p1"><strong>The affected projects:&nbsp;</strong>In his memo, Esper directed funding be released for 22 projects worth $545.5 million that had been deferred because of the wall funding “to enable the execution of certain projects scheduled for award in calendar year 2020.”</p><p class="p1">He also directed an equal amount of money from 19 other projects be used “to ensure adequate funding remains available” for border wall construction.</p><p class="p1">Ten of the projects now losing money are listed as part of the European Deterrence Initiative, a fund created in 2014 to reassure U.S. allies shaken by a resurgent Russia. The projects include infrastructure to support weapons storage, aircraft, fuel storage, information systems and more in Germany, Spain, Norway and unspecified locations. The contracts were scheduled to be awarded at the end of the year or in 2021.</p><p class="p1">Other projects being tapped include a communications facility and a legal office at Guantanamo Bay, an air traffic control tower and a munitions storage facility in Jordan, an air traffic control terminal in Kwajalen Atoll, a superintendent’s office for the military school district in Japan and a flight training simulator in San Antonio, Texas.</p><p class="p1">&nbsp;</p><p class="p1"><strong>The restored projects:</strong>&nbsp;The 22 projects that now have funding restored include a $95 million engineering center and a $65 million parking structure at the U.S. Military Academy West Point.</p><p class="p1">Another big ticket item getting funding restored is $62.6 million for a new middle school at Fort Campbell, Ky., a project for which Senate Majority Leader&nbsp;<a href="https://thehill.com/people/mitch-mcconnell"><span class="s1">Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell seeks to end feud with Trump Senate GOP signal they won't filibuster debate of hate crimes bill Colin Powell on Afghanistan: 'We've done all we can do' MORE</span></a>&nbsp;(R-Ky.) had vowed to find funding.</p><p class="p1">Other projects include $40 million for an information systems facility in White Sands, N.M.; $37 million to relocate the hazardous cargo pad and explosive ordnance disposal range at Joint Base Andrews, Md.; and $30 million for a ground transport equipment building in Arizona.</p><p class="p1">&nbsp;</p><p class="p1"><strong>FLYOVERS BEGIN TO HONOR HEALTHCARE WORKERS:&nbsp;</strong>The Navy’s Blue Angels and the Air Force's Thunderbirds&nbsp;<a href="https://thehill.com/policy/defense/495005-blue-angels-planning-flyovers-... class="s1">flew over New York City, Philadelphia and Trenton, N.J., on Tuesday</span></a>.&nbsp;</p><p class="p1">The Blue Angels and Thunderbirds&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/BlueAngels/status/1254771125181050886"><span class="s1">announced the joint planned flight path</span></a>&nbsp;as part of a display aimed at honoring health care workers on the front lines of the fight against the coronavirus pandemic,&nbsp;part of what the Trump administration is calling Operation America Strong.</p><p class="p1"><strong>Where flights happened</strong>: The 40-minute flight over Newark and New York City&nbsp;began at noon by the George Washington Bridge. Footage captured from the flight showed the aircraft flying near famous New York Landmarks like the Freedom Tower and the Brooklyn Bridge.&nbsp;</p><p class="p1">The next 30-minute flight over Trenton and Philadelphia&nbsp;began at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey.&nbsp;</p><p class="p1">New York and New Jersey are the two states&nbsp;with the most reported COVID-19 cases, with 291,996 and over 111,188 confirmed cases, respectively.&nbsp;</p><p class="p1">Pennsylvania reported 43,648 confirmed COVID-19 cases statewide.</p><p class="p1">&nbsp;</p><p class="p1"><strong>HOUSE ARMED SERVICES LEADERS PLEDGE TO PASS DEFENSE BILL ‘THIS YEAR’:</strong>&nbsp;The bipartisan leaders of the House Armed Services Committee&nbsp;<a href="https://thehill.com/policy/defense/495082-house-armed-services-leaders-p... class="s1">vowed Tuesday to pass the annual defense policy bill this year</span></a>&nbsp;even as the coronavirus pandemic keeps&nbsp;congressional&nbsp;schedules in limbo.</p><p class="p1">In a joint statement Tuesday, Armed Services Chairman&nbsp;<a href="https://thehill.com/people/adam-smith"><span class="s1">Adam SmithDavid (Adam) Adam SmithOvernight Defense: Biden makes his Afghanistan decision Armed Services chairman knocks White House for 'dragging their feet' on budget request Overnight Defense: Biden nominating first female Army secretary | Israel gets tough on Iran amid nuclear talks | Army's top enlisted soldier 'very proud' of officer pepper sprayed by police MORE</span></a>&nbsp;(D-Wash.) and committee ranking member&nbsp;<a href="https://thehill.com/people/mac-thornberry"><span class="s1">Mac ThornberryWilliam (Mac) McClellan ThornberryUnnamed law enforcement banned under the new NDAA Lobbying world Senate poised to override Trump's defense bill veto MORE</span></a>&nbsp;(R-Texas) pledged that "this year, Congress will pass the 60th National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)."</p><p class="p1">“This milestone has been made possible by decades of bipartisanship, regular order and transparency,” they said.</p><p class="p1"><strong>COVID-19 still a factor</strong>: Still, the pair acknowledged the pandemic “will certainly affect how the committee marks up the FY21 NDAA and how the House considers it on the floor.”</p><p class="p1">“We are discussing those details and consulting with the leadership of both parties,” they said. “At the same time, we remain committed to the principles that have guided the bill in the past — regular order through the committee, transparency and bipartisanship.”</p><p class="p1">&nbsp;</p><p class="p1"><strong>No return to session yet</strong>: Smith and Thornberry’s statement came hours after House Democratic leaders&nbsp;<a href="https://thehill.com/homenews/house/495016-house-reverses-plan-will-not-r... class="s1">announced the chamber would not return</span></a>&nbsp;to session Monday as previously planned.</p><p class="p1">Citing discussions with the Capitol physician, Majority Leader&nbsp;<a href="https://thehill.com/people/steny-hoyer"><span class="s1">Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerNY House Democrats demand repeal of SALT cap Democrats face mounting hurdles to agenda This week: Congress returns with lengthy to-do list MORE</span></a>&nbsp;(D-Md.) said leadership will instead call members back to Washington, D.C., when the next round of coronavirus relief legislation is ready for a vote.</p><p class="p1"><strong>The plan now</strong>:&nbsp;The House Armed Services Committee had initially planned to mark up the NDAA at the end of April, but late last month&nbsp;<a href="https://thehill.com/policy/defense/490219-house-panels-delays-considerat... class="s1">pushed back the markup</span></a>&nbsp;amid the pandemic.</p><p class="p1">Still, Smith and Thornberry have told members they hoped to have a product ready for consideration by May 1 so the committee can mark up the bill as soon as the House reconvenes.</p><p class="p1">&nbsp;</p><p class="p1"><strong>ON TAP FOR TOMORROW</strong></p><p class="p1">House Armed Services Committee&nbsp;Chairman Rep. Adam Smith will speak to media during a conference call with George Washington University Project for Media and National Security Defense Writers Group at 10 a.m.&nbsp;<a href="https://nationalsecuritymedia.gwu.edu/?utm_source=Daily%20on%20Defense%2... class="s1">https://nationalsecuritymedia.gwu.edu/?utm_source=Daily%20on%20Defense%2... class="p1">&nbsp;</p><p class="p2"><span class="s2">The Atlantic Council will hold a webcast: “What's Next for U.S.-Iraq Relations?" at 10 a.m.&nbsp;<a href="https://atlanticcouncil.org/event/whats-next-for-us-iraq-relations/?rid=... class="s3">https://atlanticcouncil.org/event/whats-next-for-us-iraq-relations/?rid=... class="p1">&nbsp;</p><p class="p1">Former Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security&nbsp;Rose Gottemoeller; former Joint Chiefs Chairman Navy&nbsp;Adm. Michael Mullen; former Undersecretary of Energy for Nuclear Security&nbsp;Frank Klotz; and former Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security&nbsp;Thomas Countryman will speak at an Arms Control Association webinar: “The Future of New START and U.S. National Security,” at 10:30 a.m.&nbsp;<a href="https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_2Sqb34GcTTafKYgl1wRqjA?utm_source=Da... class="s1">https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_2Sqb34GcTTafKYgl1wRqjA?utm_source=Da... class="p1">&nbsp;</p><p class="p1">The Defense Department’s Office of Small Business Programs and Defense Acquisition University will host a webinar on the threat of adversarial foreign investment, with&nbsp;Andrew Pahutski, expert to the Pentagon’s Undersecretary of Acquisition and Sustainment, at 3 p.m.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.dau.edu/events/DAU%20Webcasts%20-%20Foreign%20Investment%20T... class="s1">https://www.dau.edu/events/DAU%20Webcasts%20-%20Foreign%20Investment%20T... class="p1">&nbsp;</p><p class="p1"><strong>ICYMI</strong></p><p class="p1">-- The Hill: House Democrats' bill would&nbsp;<a href="https://thehill.com/policy/defense/495024-house-democrats-bill-would-wai... class="s1">waive prescription copays for military</span></a>&nbsp;personnel, families</p><p class="p1">-- The Hill: Biden says he would return to&nbsp;<a href="https://thehill.com/policy/international/495045-biden-says-he-would-retu... class="s1">Obama-era relations with Cuba</span></a></p><p class="p1">-- The Hill: South Korean minister: North Korean leader&nbsp;<a href="https://thehill.com/policy/international/asia-pacific/494980-south-korea... class="s1">may be staying out of spotlight</span></a>&nbsp;over coronavirus concerns</p><p class="p1">-- The Hill: Opinion: With the world distracted, China pursues its&nbsp;<a href="https://thehill.com/opinion/international/494939-with-the-world-distract... class="s1">nefarious ambitions</span></a></p><p class="p1">-- The New York Times: The Marine Corps&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/28/us/politics/marines-women.html"><span class="s1">Battles for Its Identity, Over Women</span></a>&nbsp;in Boot Camp</p><p class="p1">-- CNN:&nbsp;Pentagon&nbsp;<a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/28/politics/pentagon-national-guard-southern... class="s1">weighs replacing active duty troops</span></a>&nbsp;on US-Mexico border with National Guard</p>