WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 19, 2019) – Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, denounced President Trump and his administration for threatening the funding of military construction projects at New Mexico’s military installations.
The White House released a list from the Department of Defense (DoD) detailing which funding for military construction military projects could be targeted to pay for President Trump’s border wall. Last month, President Trump declared a national emergency and said that he would take up to $3.6 billion dollars from military construction across the United States to pay for the wall.
“Threatening the readiness of our men and women serving in our military endangers our national security,” said Heinrich. “We cannot allow President Trump to raid taxpayer dollars meant to help our military defend our nation to pay for a wall that New Mexicans don’t want or need. I will do everything I can to oppose this effort to steal from our military to build a wasteful border wall under the false pretense of a national emergency.”
Last week, Heinrich questioned DoD officials in an Armed Services Committee hearing about how the Trump administration planned to divert funding from the military to pay for the wall. At the hearing, Heinrich told Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan and his fellow committee members, “I can’t tell you…how inappropriate I think this is. Congress has the power of the purse. This is wrong. This is abusive. And we should do something about it…because I guarantee you if you let this happen, it will happen under the next president, and the next president, and you won’t always like how this money gets spent.”
Heinrich has introduced the RAIDER Act to prevent the president from utilizing the National Emergencies Act of 1976 to raid critical military construction and disaster response funds to construct his wall.
According to the DoD list, New Mexico military construction projects that could be impacted by President Trump’s national emergency declaration include:
Holloman Air Force Base
$85 million to construct a new MQ-9 Formal Training Unit (FTU) Operations Facility to house three MQ-9 Attack Squadrons at Holloman Air Force Base. The squadrons are the training units for new pilots and sensor operators for the MQ-9 Reaper remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA). The RPA mission is one of the fastest growing missions in the military, and this new facility represents a significant investment by the Air Force that will enable Holloman Air Force Base to meet the growing demand for pilots and sensor operators.
$4.2 million to build a Remotely Piloted Aircraft Fixed Ground Control Station Facility (FGCS). An adequately sized and configured facility is required to accommodate the installation of 10 new Block 50 FGCS and supporting equipment into a single facility. The facility will house each FGCS in its own mission room and provide communications rooms for connectivity to each squadron operations center.
White Sands Missile Range
$40 million to construct a new Information Systems Facility at White Sands Missile Range. This is the first major military construction project in direct support of testing and evaluation at White Sands in nearly 20 years. This badly needed facility will replace a facility that was built in 1962 and allow White Sand to better use their current information technology by consolidating existing systems, currently located in ten separate buildings, into a single state of the art, purpose-built facility. Consolidating information systems will significantly improve their ability to develop and test next generation weapon systems while also providing the infrastructure necessary for future modernization and expansion.
Kirtland Air Force Base
$7 million for Wyoming Gate Upgrade for Anti-terrorism Compliance
$9.3 million to build a new fire station that will replace the undersized, deficient, and outdated fires station built in 1955. The new fire station will include three high-bay drive-through apparatus stalls and will be capable of accommodating modern fire fighting vehicles and equipment. The proposed location of the facility will better serve the southeastern part of Kirtland Air Force Base and reduce response time to critical high-value facilities including Kirtland's underground munitions storage complex and the mission-critical hot cargo aircraft loading pad.
Cannon Air Force Base
$42 million to build new facilities for combat arms training and maintenance (CATM) and a new cargo pad area. The cargo pad will be designed to support the loading and unloading of munitions simultaneously on two C-130s, or one C-5, C-17 or Boeing 747 aircraft. Construction of the new cargo pad requires the relocation of the current CATM facilities.