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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

City's Military Affairs Director Warns of Damage to Joint Base San Antonio from Trump's Emergency Declaration

Posted By on Tue, Feb 26, 2019 at 4:44 PM

click to enlarge New construction at San Antonio military facilities such as Randolph Air Force Base could be jeopardized by the Trump Administration's emergency declaration, experts warn. - RICH MCFADDEN (U.S. AIR FORCE PHOTO)
  • Rich McFadden (U.S. Air Force photo)
  • New construction at San Antonio military facilities such as Randolph Air Force Base could be jeopardized by the Trump Administration's emergency declaration, experts warn.
The director of the City of San Antonio's military affairs office is warning that President Donald Trump's emergency declaration to fund a border wall could jeopardize local military facilities.

In an email circulated last week to city council, Juan G. Ayala, the retired Marine major general who heads military affairs for the City, said millions of dollars in construction projects at Joint Base San Antonio could be halted as part of the administration's plan. Trump's emergency declaration would allow the White House to tap up to $3.6 billion in unobligated military construction funding to build the wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

Of special concern, Ayala points out, are $266 million in projects scheduled at San Antonio-area training facilities for the 2019 fiscal year. The city is the "force generator" for all enlisted Air Force personnel, and new facilities are necessary for those missions.

"If projects supporting this training are not funded, the Air Force will be forced to continue use of 60+ yr. old facilities well beyond their service life," Ayala writes in the email obtained by the Current. "Without replacement, the Air Force may have to find alternate locations to train new Airmen — which means this significantly historic and large command may leave San Antonio."

Also potentially on the chopping block are fiscal 2018 projects now in the design phase, he writes. Those include a new air traffic control tower at Kelly Field and replacement of outdated dining facilities at Camp Bullis.

Ayala's warning comes days after U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar told the Current that San Antonio military sites would be vulnerable if Trump proceeds with his end-run around seeking congressional funding for the wall.

The Democratic-majority U.S. House is expected to vote Tuesday to disapprove of Trump's national emergency declaration. That would give the Senate, under law, 18 days to take a vote of its own on the resolution.

Trump has promised to veto any resolution of disapproval passed by both houses.

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