Four Democratic senators are questioning the military’s effort to study the possibility of constructing a new border barrier system along a 31-mile section of the Barry M. Goldwater Range in southwest Arizona. The Navy recently began studies on building barriers along the range, despite its inability to provide Congress “with a clear justification or a compelling argument for diverting as much as $450 million in future funding to this project,” according to the letter to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis from Jack Reed (R.I.), ranking member on the Armed Services Committee; Dick Durbin (Ill.), vice chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee; Patrick Leahy (Vt.), vice chairman of the Appropriations Committee; and Brian Schatz (Hawaii), ranking member of the Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee. “We believe the Department of Defense lacks any authorization or appropriations needed to move this project into any stage of construction during fiscal year 2019. Nowhere in the department’s 2019 budget plans was there any proposal to spend nearly half a billion taxpayer dollars to increase security at a bombing range that is already protected by a barrier,” the lawmakers said. … Rep. Adam Smith (Wash.) is one step closer to taking the gavel for the House Armed Services Committee in the 116th Congress, after earning the recommendation of the Democratic Steering & Policy Committee this week. Smith now waits for approval by the Democratic Caucus.
Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Trevor Rhynes