AG James To Trump Administration: Stop Threatening Our Security And Our Military 

AG James Highlights Harm to Military Academy from
Loss of Funds to Build Border Wall

WEST POINT –  Attorney General Letitia James today once again condemned the Trump Administration over efforts to divert federal funding from the United States Military Academy (West Point) and other military projects in order to build a wall along the southern border of the United States. As part of President Trump’s efforts to divert funding from military projects to build the wall, the Department of Defense recently announced that West Point would lose $160 million slated for two major projects at the military academy. One of those projects is a state-of-the-art engineering facility intended for national security and cybersecurity research used by both West Point and the United States Military.

“Declaring a national emergency when one does not exist is both illegal and irresponsible,” said Attorney General Letitia James. “By stripping critical funds from West Point, President Trump is only compromising the future of our military and our country’s safety. This phony national emergency and the illegal maneuvers to pay for the President’s wall must stop.”

In February 2019, Attorney General James, along with a coalition of 16 states, filed a lawsuit challenging President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency and unlawful attempt to divert funding appropriated by Congress meant for military construction projects, law enforcement, and drug interdiction to fund the construction of a border wall. The lawsuit argues that the Trump Administration’s action exceeds the power of the executive office, violates the U.S. Constitution and federal statutes, and would illegally and unconstitutionally divert federal funds appropriated by Congress for other purposes.

In September 2019, the Department of Defense released a list of 127 military construction projects that would lose $3.6 billion in funding to, instead, build the wall. In addition to the projects at West Point, schools at military bases, a missile facility, and even Hurricane Maria recovery efforts in Puerto Rico are scheduled to lose critical funding.

“The president stripping billions of dollars of funding needed to support our service members at installations like West Point, in order to build an ineffective and misguided southern border wall, is a slap in the face to the members of the Armed Forces who sacrifice so much to defend our liberty,” said U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer. “The United States Military Academy at West Point was founded as an engineering school, designed to ensure that our Army’s leaders had access to the best resources and education that would enable them to succeed in their military careers in defense of our nation. Now, we find out that funds that Congress appropriated to design and build a state-of-the-art engineering center at West Point have been redirected for an expensive and ineffective wall at the southern border. This funding was specifically designated for keeping our military the best trained, best protected, best equipped fighting force in the world, and it must be used as such. I commend Attorney General James for her work and will continue to fight in the Senate to ensure our Armed Forces have all the resources they need and deserve.”

“President Trump is stealing millions of dollars from West Point – and billions of dollars from military construction projects across the country – in order to build a needless vanity project. Constructing a wall at the Southern border would be a waste of taxpayer money that will do nothing to advance our national security interests,” said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “Congress and the military itself have already determined that the $160 million intended for West Point is necessary for military readiness, unlike the President’s border wall. Seizing this funding is an insult to our service members, and President Trump must reverse his decision immediately. I thank Attorney General James for working to protect these funds and our military.”

"It is of utmost importance we make sure that West Point and all of our world-renowned military academies are never at risk of losing their already-authorized funding,” said State Senator James Skoufis. “Redirecting military spending authorized by Congress is harmful to our future leaders who will be on the front lines protecting our country. Any diversion of West Point funding will result in detrimental, needless delays to projects that our cadets, staff, and military officers are relying on. I sincerely thank the Attorney General for her continued leadership on this essential issue.”

"The United States Military Academy at West Point plays a crucial role in defending our nation,” said Assemblymember Jonathan Jacobson. “West Point trains our military's future leaders, so it's absolutely essential that its facilities be kept up to date. The shifting of funds from the Congressionally approved construction of the Cyber & Engineering Academic Center to the unauthorized border wall is a blow to our Nation’s defense and the economy in the Hudson Valley. I thank Attorney General for her commitment to protecting critical funding for West Point and for all New Yorkers."

"If the readiness of our military is essential to keep pace with the threats posed to Americans across the globe, then the training of future leaders at our service academies is a crucial part of that readiness,” said Tommy Zurhellen, Commander, VFW Post 170. “Taking funds away from that readiness directly impacts the brave women and men who serve, and that makes us all less safe. Thank you to Attorney General Letitia James for her efforts to ensure our military has the funds they and deserve."