Heinrich Questions Top Military Officials On Trump’s National Security Declaration
Fights for Military Construction Projects at White Sands Missile Range and Holloman Air Force Base
Washington, D.C. (Feb. 26, 2019) - During a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing today on the Department of Defense budget, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) questioned Commander of United States Strategic Command General John Hyten and head of U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command General Terrence O’Shaughnessy on President Trump’s national emergency declaration to fund his border wall. Earlier this month, President Trump declared a national emergency and said that he would take up to $3.6 billion dollars from military construction projects across the United States to pay for the wall.
Senator Heinrich pressed Gen. O’Shaughnessy on whether he was consulted by the White House prior to their decision to use funds for military construction projects as the source of funding for President Trump’s border wall and whether he supported the decision to divert funding from military communities to pay for the wall.
Heinrich raised concerns on the impact that cancelling construction projects for military housing, air traffic control improvements, or runway upgrades would have on the military’s morale and operations.
Senator Heinrich recently 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 along the southern border.
Last year, Senator Heinrich secured a total of $125 million for the state of New Mexico for critical military construction projects at White Sands Missile Range and Holloman Air Force Base. Funding for these projects, and many other projects across the country, is in jeopardy of being diverted to build President Trump’s border wall.
Holloman Air Force Base
In New Mexico, military construction projects that could be impacted by President Trump’s national emergency declaration include: In 2018, Senator Heinrich secured $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.
White Sands Missile Range
In 2018, Senator Heinrich secured $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.
A list of witnesses and testimony, and the archived webcast of today's hearing will be available here.