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DoD Seeks Reprogramming to Fund Border, COVID Missions

Washington Report

The Pentagon is looking to shift $4.3 billion in the defense budget to help pay for the deployment of troops to the southern border, the pandemic response and other costs.

A 97-page omnibus reprogramming request was submitted to the House and Senate Armed Services and Appropriations committees, Politico reported. The committees can approve or reject part or all of the request.

About $420 million would be used to cover the unbudgeted expense of sending National Guard troops to the border.

That includes $273 million to cover the mobilization of 500 officer work years and 3,700 enlisted work years. The Pentagon warned those requests are “must-fund.”

Another $147 million would reimburse money used to support border missions, including aviation support, equipment, supplies and transportation.

Other requests include $668 million for the Defense Health Program in COVID-19 related requirements and $293 million for missions associated with the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The budget cuts that will offset the increases represent programs with funding unspent due to the pandemic. That includes the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program, which saw two states terminate their programs and another that did not participate due to the pandemic.

Other cuts are related to future aircraft. The reprogramming would delay the procurement of the Air Force’s UH-1N Huey helicopter replacement, freeing up $194 million, and trim $51 million from research and development for the future Air Force One replacement.

Another $73 million would come from money Congress set aside for a future expeditionary sea base amphibious ship. The Pentagon says the money is “not executable.”