Pentagon Diverts $1B From Army to Build 57 Miles of Border Fence: Report

The Pentagon diverted $1 billion in Army funds to build 58 miles of fence along the U.S.-Mexico border on Monday, Inside Defense reports. In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said the funds, which are drawn primarily from the Army’s military personnel account, will be used to build a fence that will cut off “11 drug-smuggling corridors.” “I have decided to undertake Yuma Sector Projects 1 and 2 and El Paso Sector Project 1 by constructing 57 miles of 18-foot-high pedestrian fencing, constructing and improving roads, and installing lighting as described in your February 25, 2019 request,” Shanahan reportedly wrote in the Monday letter. Inside Defense notes that the Pentagon took a near-unprecedented step in transferring the funds without congressional approval, likely angering House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA), who previously said he may strip the Pentagon of its reprogramming authority if it did so. Shanahan will appear before the committee on Tuesday.