According to the military.com report, Donald Trump seeks to cut F-35s, P-8s, MV-22s & MQ-9s to pay for a border wall.
Funding for President Donald Trump’s barrier on the US-Mexico border was initially expected to divert $7.2 billion from the Defense Department’s budget, but it may siphon even more money from several military programs.
The Trump administration is seeking to take billions out of major military aircraft and shipbuilding funds within the recently passed 2020 defense budget, and move that money to the Department of Homeland Security to fund construction of a wall on the southern U.S. border.
A programming transfer request sent to Congress Thursday would cut down programs such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, V-22 Osprey, C-130J cargo aircraft, MQ-9 Reaper drone, P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft and landing helicopter assault (LHA) amphibious ship, as well as “miscellaneous equipment” programs for the National Guard and Reserve, according to documents obtained by Military.com. The programming request asks for $3.8 billion in all.
Some of the programs targeted for reduction had been overfunded by Congress at levels above the military’s original request. But they also affect key systems, such as the F-35 and P-8, that factor prominently into DoD efforts to counter threats from Russia and China.
In all, the money raised from the Pentagon would end up cutting: two Marine Corps F-35s; two MV-22s; four C-130J Hercules; eight MQ-9 drones; and one Navy P-8 Poseidon — totaling more than $1 billion.
The request also removes $156 million in advance procurement for the Air Force’s F-35A, as well as $180 million for light attack aircraft efforts. While the Air Force has so far not decided to make light attack a program of record, lawmakers have been particularly interested in boosting experimentation with lighter fixed-wing planes for ongoing counterterrorism operations.
The programs straddle two DoD funding pots: Roughly $2.2 billion from the FY20 defense appropriations base and $1.6 billion from the Overseas Contingency Operations budget.
Last year, the administration diverted or delayed about $3.6 billion from military construction projects in order to fund the border wall, plus another $2.5 billion from military counterdrug programs.
Some lawmakers were quick to oppose the petition.
Despite opposition, Trump has been resolute in his pursuit of border wall funds.