Pentagon funds for preventing drug trafficking should not be diverted to help pay for wall construction on the southern border, a top general said Tuesday.
In remarks before a Senate panel, Air Force Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy said the U.S. Northern Command, which he leads, uses such funding for its Joint Task Force North in Texas to stop transnational threats, including drug trafficking, Stars and Stripes reported.
“We have JTF North, for example, that is dedicated to the counter-narcotics mission . . . we want to preserve that ability,” O’Shaughnessy told the Senate Armed Services Committee, the military news outlet reported.
President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration seeks to move $3.5 billion from military construction projects and another $2.5 billion from the counter-drug account to the project, Stars and Stripes noted.
O’Shaughnessy avoided questions on whether he agreed with the declaration, though he said there is no threat to the military from the southern border, Stars and Stripes reported. Instead, he said one of the biggest threats facing the country is Russia.
O’Shaughnessy also insisted it is “premature” to detail which military construction and drug interdiction projects could be impacted by wall construction plans, and decisions are focused now on what projects can or cannot be cut, reduced, or delayed.
“That’s the process ongoing this week,” he said, Stars and Stripes reported. But as far as final decisions, “it is still premature and pre-decisional at this point.”
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