The US military needs these projects to counter Russia and China. Trump is raiding them for his border wall

border wallU.S. President Donald Trump speaks while participating in a tour of U.S.-Mexico border wall prototypes near the Otay Mesa Port of Entry in San Diego, California. U.S., March 13, 2018.Reuters

  • The Pentagon announced $3.6 billion in budget cuts for projects in the US and around the world to pay for President Donald Trump's border wall.
  • Among those affected are several projects and installations that are focused on deterring the US' most powerful rivals - Russia and China.
  • Millions of dollars intended for European projects, like training grounds in Bulgaria, Special Operations projects in Estonia, and F-22 maintenance facilities in Germany are some of the many projects being curtailed to build the wall, at the expense of preparedness to defend NATO allies against Russia.
  • In response to the budget cuts, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper suggested that the US's NATO allies "pick up that tab" for the projects.
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President Donald Trump is insistent on completing his border wall - to the point that he's diverting $3.6 billion away from the Pentagon to get it done. That money would go to a number of projects, including some that are crucial for deterring threats from the US's most powerful adversaries, China and Russia.

Millions of dollars intended for European projects, like training grounds in Bulgaria, Special Operations projects in Estonia, and F-22 maintenance facilities in Germany are some of the many projects being curtailed to build the wall, at the expense of preparedness to defend NATO allies against Russia. From annexing Crimea in 2014 fo flying into Estonian airspace in May, Russia is obviously flexing its muscles in Europe.

In response to the budget cuts, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper suggested that the US's NATO allies "pick up that tab" for the projects. Whatever is left must be picked up by Congress again.

Asian assets are losing out as well despite being in the face of an increasingly threatening China, which is not only developing weapons that could attack US military assets in Guam and Hawaii, but is also threatening US partner nations in the region.

Here are the US military deterrents to Russia and China that have been affected by Trump's border wall move.

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US and NATO ally forces train at Novo Selo base in Bulgaria.

US and NATO ally forces train at Novo Selo base in Bulgaria.

Novo Selo is one of the bases in Bulgaria that allows US and NATO ally forces to train together and quickly respond to threats from Russia in the Crimea, located some 200 miles away. US Army Europe recently concluded the Saber Guardian training exercise, which takes place at Novo Selo and other locations throughout Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary.

$5.2 million is set to be diverted from the base's ammunition holding area to Trump's border wall.

Air Force Base Mihail Kogalniceanu in Romania is losing funding for its explosives and ammunition loading and unloading apron.

Air Force Base Mihail Kogalniceanu in Romania is losing funding for its explosives and ammunition loading and unloading apron.

Mihail Kogalniceanu is another Black Sea-adjacent location where US forces train to counter Russian threats. It's also a transit hub for US troops and weapons — the US THAAD missile defense system stationed in Romania transited through Mihail Kogalniceanu.

The US government is taking $21,651,000 from Mihail Kogaliniceanu's explosives and ammo load/unload apron, which allows transport cargo like a C-17 to taxi into the base in order to load or unload weapons — an essential aspect of a quick response to a threat from Russia.

$15.7 million is being diverted from Special Operations facilities in Estonia.

$15.7 million is being diverted from Special Operations facilities in Estonia.

Estonia, along with Latvia and Lithuania, form the Baltic States, which were part of the Soviet Union. Russia flew into Estonian air space in May, and in June, the US and NATO member states conducted the largest exercises there since Russia invaded Crimea in 2014.

While there are no details about the Special Operations project being cut in Estonia, the US relies significantly on special operators to carry out 21st-century wars.

Spangdahlem Air Base's F-22 repair facility is one of the many projects in Germany that's being scaled back to pay for Trump's wall.

Spangdahlem Air Base's F-22 repair facility is one of the many projects in Germany that's being scaled back to pay for Trump's wall.

An upgrade for hardened F-22 Raptor shelters is also getting some cash shaved off, as are many other projects throughout Germany. The two projects alone will lose more than $20 million in funding.

F-22 Raptors are stealth fighters capable of both air and surface attacks. It's "designed to project air dominance, rapidly and at great distances and defeat threats attempting to deny access to our nation's Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps," according to the Air Force.

"The F-22 cannot be matched by any known or projected fighter aircraft."

Germany's bases provide significant support for US and NATO forces in their attempt to counter Russian aggression.

The US has had troops in Japan since the end of World War II, and Japan is a strong partner against Chinese aggression in the Pacific region.

The US has had troops in Japan since the end of World War II, and Japan is a strong partner against Chinese aggression in the Pacific region.

Overall, the US is diverting more than half a billion dollars from Japanese installations to fund the wall, including $23.7 million from the C-130J corrosion control hangar project at Yokota Air Base. C-130 aircraft are the Air Force's work horses, transporting cargo and troops on missions all over the world, as well as acting as skybound emergency rooms.

Korea is another crucial partner in countering Chinese aggression.

Korea is another crucial partner in countering Chinese aggression.

The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) hangar at Kunsan Air Base will forfeit $53 million to the border wall. UAVs are often used for surveillance of adversaries.

The quick reaction alert pad at Rygge Air Base, Norway will sacrifice $10 million to Trump's border wall.

The quick reaction alert pad at Rygge Air Base, Norway will sacrifice $10 million to Trump's border wall.

Quick reaction alerts (QRAs), otherwise known as scrambles, allow jets to mobilize quickly in the face of a threat — like Russian jets flying into sovereign airspace.

Russia often harasses countries in its Arctic sphere, including Norway, with electronic signal jamming and military flights into its airspace. QRAs by NATO allied forces are essential in combating Russian aggression.

Rygge is an important part of the European Deterrence Initiative, which was announced in response to Russia's annexation of Crimea. US forces are not stationed there, but the investments at Rygge through the EDI would allow US forces and other NATO allies to help protect Norway in case of any threat.

Trump's wall will siphon over $130 million from Polish installations for the wall.

Trump's wall will siphon over $130 million from Polish installations for the wall.

All of the money diverted from Polish operations was in support of the European Deterrence Initiative to counter Russian aggression, including money for the bulk fuel storage facility at Powidz Air Base, where US airmen frequently train with Polish forces, and an ammunition storage facility.

Slovakia is another ally against Russia aggression that's getting funding cut to build the wall.

Slovakia is another ally against Russia aggression that's getting funding cut to build the wall.

Operations at Malacky Air Base, including a regional munitions storage facility, will have $59 million cut from its regional munitions storage area, which falls under the European Deterrence Initiative umbrella, as do all operations in Slovakia. All told, operations at Malacky and Sliac Airport are losing $105 million for Russia-deterring projects like upgrades to the airfields on both bases — essential for everything from scrambling jets to bringing supplies.

Port Operations Facilities at Naval Station Rota in Spain are losing out on $21.6 million.

Port Operations Facilities at Naval Station Rota in Spain are losing out on $21.6 million.

Rota has four guided-missile destroyers permanently deployed there, deployed just after Russia invaded Crimea. The ships patrol the Black and Baltic Seas as well as the Atlantic Ocean, and are tasked with ballistic missile defense missions.

A Russian Sukhoi Su-24 attack aircraft had a run in with one of the ships, the USS Donald Cook, in the Baltic just after it was deployed. The Cook had another incident with a Russian military aircraft in 2016.

The UK, America's strongest ally, works with the US in many capacities, including performing joint exercises with the US military.

The UK, America's strongest ally, works with the US in many capacities, including performing joint exercises with the US military.

The Royal Air Force's base at Fairford is part of the European Deterrence Initiative, and it's losing $19 million intended for a munitions holding area.

Fairford participates in the US Strategic Command Bomber Task Force in Europe, and its F-35 stealth fighters recently trained with US B-2 Spirit bombers.

Guam, a US territory, has a US naval base and a US Air Force base.

Guam, a US territory, has a US naval base and a US Air Force base.

Joint Region Marianas is the command of both the Naval base and Andersen Air Force Base. It's losing $52 million for earth-covered weapons magazines, as well as $50 million for a machine gun range, and $45 million for munitions igloos.

Guam is a tantalizing target for China, which is developing long-range bombers and missiles that could reach the territory.

Alaska's Ft. Greely is losing $8 million from its missile field expansion project.

Alaska's Ft. Greely is losing $8 million from its missile field expansion project.

Ft. Greely's missile defense capabilities have been hobbled as of late. Between the Pentagon scrapping the Redesigned Kill Vehicle (RKV) and this new move by the Trump administration, Ft. Greely's ability to intercept an missile launched from Russia or North Korea is deteriorating.

According to the Missile Defense Agency, the $8 million was intended to add two backup missile interceptors to the base if and when the existing 40 are out of commission for repair.

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