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Esper Taps Funds From Counter-Russia Programs for Border Wall

  • Portion of $545 million would be directed away from Europe
  • Lawmakers have criticized similar Pentagon efforts in past
Mark Esper
Mark EsperPhotographer: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper is directing Pentagon budget planners to defer $545 million worth of construction projects -- many in Europe meant to counter Russian aggression -- to pay for President Donald Trump’s border wall with Mexico.

In a memo sent Monday to the Pentagon’s comptroller and other officials, Esper lists several projects in Norway, Germany, Spain and elsewhere totaling more than $200 million from which he says funds can be redirected.