By Dawn Nelson, ASAP Communications Coordinator
An emergency declaration for a border wall as a measure for national security is not an incongruity lost on many Americans. It becomes troubling to learn that some of the money being diverted to fund a border wall will come from construction funding to strengthen the resilience of US military bases–thereby diminishing capacity for national security.
The Trump administration aims to grab $3.6 billion from Defense Department Military construction funds. Concerns abound across the political spectrum that this will negatively impact previously prioritized projects, such as military family housing, schools, and service animal treatment facilities and other critical upgrades and base improvements. This has direct bearing on adaptation and resilience capacity for numerous military construction projects.
For example, military bases on the South Carolina coast are at risk for annual flooding events to nearly double in the coming decades. In Florida, the Tyndall Air Force base has already sustained severe damage from last year’s hurricanes, and future funding remains uncertain. The House Appropriations Committee identified nearly $311 million at risk of diversion in Hawaii, including $45 million for improvements at Pearl Harbor and another $123 million for Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
The irony that diverting funds from military construction projects to pay for a security measure that actually undermines security is stark. As Rep. Kendra Horn, Member of the House Armed Service Committee simply states, “Pulling from our military housing does not make us safer. In fact, it makes us more vulnerable.”
Nevertheless, we find it heartening that this may afford an opportunity to reach across the political aisle and forge some unlikely allies. Consider this your call to action to reach out to elected officials today.