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Government & Politics

Trump Administration Redirects National Guard Funds For Border Wall

A plane flies with green fields and clouds in the background.
Tech Sgt Erik Gudmundson
/
U.S. Air Force
A 133rd Airlift Wing Minnesota Air National Guard C-130 H model banks hard over the Mille Lacs Lake area in northern Minnesota during a training mission.

The Trump Administration is redirecting funds originally set aside for the National Guard towards constructing a wall between the United States and Mexico.

The move places equipment upgrades for the Montana National Guard in limbo.

Montana Major General Matthew Quinn says he’s not certain what share of equipment upgrades funding was originally earmarked for the Montana National Guard, but the Trump Administration is redirecting upwards of $1.3 billion dollars previously approved by Congress.

“It’s concerning that the Department of Defense decided that that’s not important for our National Guard and Reserve and we’re gonna move that somewhere else," Quinn said.  

He says this means that Montana will go without equipment it had requested for at least another year. That includes new Hum-Vs, heavy road equipment for training areas and snow clearing equipment. He also says it’s unclear if two long-awaited new C-130J aircraft were destined for Montana National Guard, which has some of the oldest H model C-130s.

“Those accounts are very important to the safety and well-being of our National Guard soldiers, certainly for the National Guard of Montana," Quinn said. 

He says National Guard leadership is asking for restoration of funding originally set aside for equipment purchase and upgrade. Failing that, he asks that Congress put limits in place that ensure that next year, the Department of Defense can’t move money at its will.

Federal documents detailing the funding change say that the purchases can be postponed. Overall, the Department of Defense has redirected about $3.8 billion in funds to the border wall for what it calls higher priority counter-drug activity.

Montana Democrats Governor Steve Bullock and Senator Jon Tester have criticized the Trump Administration for the decision.

A spokesperson from Republican Congressman Greg Gianforte’s office said he’d work to ensure troops have the resources they need. Senator Steve Daines’ office wrote he’s voiced his concerns with the administration.