?PHOENIX – The President’s national emergency declaration to build a border wall could have a significant negative impact on Arizona’s Luke Air Force Base, jeopardizing $40 million in construction projects slated to support the base’s F-35 fighter program.
The Administration’s plan calls for diverting funds from FY 2019 military construction projects “under a little-known statute that allows the defense secretary to undertake military construction projects ‘not otherwise authorized by law’ when they are in support of troops deployed in a national emergency.” [Source: “Trump looks to raid Pentagon budget for wall money using emergency powers,” The Washington Post]
Two Luke AFB projects could be affected: a $23 million F-35A Aircraft Maintenance Unit Facility and $17 million for F-35A Squad Ops #6.
During a Friday press conference, the President said he was briefed on which projects may be affected and declared that the projects “didn’t sound too important to me.”
“It is reckless and irresponsible to steal money from our military to fund a border wall that isn’t necessary,” said Rep. Greg Stanton. “Luke is one of Arizona’s crown jewels – essential to our national defense and our regional economy – and we must do everything we can to keep it strong.”