There are differing opinions about whether President Donald Trump’s border wall emergency declaration will affect work on more than $86 million in projects at Fort Bragg and other North Carolina military bases.
In March, the pentagon released a list of more than $12.8 billion (nationwide) in military construction project, which could see possible reallocation for the wall project.
The list includes several projects at Fort Bragg: about $33 million to replace Butner Elementary School, $10 million for a dining facility and about $43 million for special operations forces facilities and training equipment at the installation, the Fayetteville Observer has reported.
However, the military says construction projects that have already been awarded or will be awarded this fiscal year will not be impacted, nor will be military housing, barracks and dormitory projects.
“The pool of potential military construction projects from which funding could be reallocated to support the construction of border barriers are solely projects with award dates after Sept. 30,” the document states.
North Carolina Military Business Center (NCMBC) representatives said these criteria suggest that Fort Bragg’s projects will not be subject to the possible cuts.
The Fort Bragg projects mentioned in the Pentagon’s list were referenced in past budgets as early as fiscal 2015-16, NCMBC executive director Scott Dorney told the Observer.
“If the project hasn’t been finished yet, or money hasn’t been obligated yet, that was a question whether that project was vulnerable, but by the criteria that was put out and our reading of the projects, three projects in North Carolina are potentially vulnerable,” he said.
NCMBC says it believes a few projects at Camp Lejeune and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base with award dates after Sept. 30 or in 2020 could be vulnerable.
However, there are different interpretations about the risks to potential projects. Progress Action NC estimated in a news release that $181.4 million from Camp Lejeune, $154 million from Cherry Point Marine Air Station, $86.2 million from Fort Bragg and $49.5 million from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base face potential cuts.
Even if funds are reallocated for the wall, if the projects are put back into the 2020 military budget they could go ahead on schedule or simply be delayed until the funds are available.
U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, whose district includes Fort Bragg, said in a statement that he supports Trump’s efforts to secure the border.
“I continue to ask the administration not to use already allocated military construction funds that our troops and their families need at Fort Bragg,” Hudson said. “I’ve talked with President Trump and told him how important these resources are to soldiers and their families here at Fort Bragg.”
Hudson’s spokeswoman said Robert McMahon, assistant secretary of defense for sustainment, has said that authorized military construction projects will not be canceled and while some may be deferred, there will be a request to replenish those accounts.
She said if Congress enacts next year’s budget on time and as requested by the administration, construction projects should proceed on schedule.”