Transcript

DOD Briefing on Use of 2808 MILCON Funds for Construction of the Border Wall

Sept. 3, 2019
Acting Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) Elaine McCusker; Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Global Security Ken Rapuano; Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Jonathan Hoffman; Lieutenant General Andrew Poppas, J3, Joint Staff

ASSISTANT TO THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE JONATHAN HOFFMAN:  All right.  Good afternoon, everybody.  Hello again.  Thank you for being here today.  I'm joined by Acting Under Secretary of Defense Comptroller Elaine McCusker, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Global Security Ken Rapuano, and the J3 of the Joint Staff, Lieutenant General Andrew Poppas.

Today's briefing is going to be off-camera, on the record.  Audio can be used for accurate reporting, but is not to be used in any broadcast products. 

We're here to provide an update on the use of 2808 MILCON [military construction] funds for construction of necessary border wall along the U.S. southern border.  We will walk through the process the department took to reach a decision on whether to use that funding, and what the final decision is. 

On April 4, 2018, the commander in chief issued a presidential directive that ordered DOD to take all necessary actions to assist the Department of Homeland Security in gaining operational control of the southern border. 

On Feb. 15, 2019, the president declared a national emergency at the southern border, requiring the use of the armed forces and authorizing the use of Title 10, U.S. Code, Section 2808.

On Feb. 18, 2019, then-Acting Secretary Patrick Shanahan requested from the Department of Homeland Security, a list of prioritized proposed border construction projects that would support the use of the armed forces to assist Customs and Border Protection in securing the southern border. 

Since that date, the department has been conducting a deliberate process to consider whether those military construction projects are necessary to support the use of the armed forces in conjunction with the national emergency at the southern border, and which military construction projects should be deferred to fund such emergency construction. 

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford, concluded that military construction projects are necessary to support the use of the armed forces.  

Constructing physical barriers along the southern border of the United States is necessary to support the use of the armed forces, in conjunction with the national emergency, because such construction will allow DOD to reprioritize forces conducting military missions that assist DHS in gaining operational control of the southern border, thereby making the use of military personnel more effective and efficient. 

Informed by the chairman's analysis and advice, and the department's analysis, Secretary Esper has determined that such construction projects are necessary to support the use of the armed forces, and therefore DOD will undertake 11 border barrier military construction projects on the southern border, pursuant to section 2808 of Title 10 of U.S. code.  Once we determined that such military projects were necessary on the southern border, we conducted a logical and thorough process to determine which military construction projects should be deferred to fund the emergency construction.  Our strategy was to limit the impact of military construction projects within the United States and its territories. 

Further, the identified projects for deferral did not include family housing, barracks or dormitory projects; did not include projects that had already been awarded; and did not include projects that were expected to have fiscal year 2019 award dates.  There will be two tranches of funds made available to the Department of the Army for the section 2808 MILCON projects totaling $3.6 billion.  The first tranche of funds is associated with deferred military construction projects outside of the United States.  This will provide approximately $1.8 billion of the required funds.  The second tranche, also totaling $1.8 billion, is associated with deferred military construction projects located in the United States and the U.S. territories.  

These funds will be made available to the secretary of the Army only if and when it is needed for obligation.  These projects are important.  The intent is prioritizing funds in this manner, is to provide time to work with Congress to determine opportunities to restore funds, as well as work with our allies and partners on improving cost -- cost burden sharing for the overseas construction projects.  Department of Defense components and military departments provided input and prioritized projects based on effects on readiness and consistency with the National Defense Strategy. 

We will not release the list of affected projects today.  The secretary has made a commitment to members of Congress whose states and districts are affected that they will receive a personal update prior to the full list being made public.  Those notifications are underway and we expect they will be completed tomorrow.  When that process is complete, we will release the full list.  To be clear, we will not -- we will have no additional information on specific projects affected today.  So with that, we'll open it up to questions. 

Q:  Jonathan, you're not going to release the list of projects.  Can you tell us how many there are in each of the two categories?  Like a number?  You know, there's 40 here, 20 there, whatever. 

ACTING UNDER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE (COMPTROLLER) ELAINE MCCUSKER:  So there's 127 projects overall on the total list.  I think I'd like to withhold giving details of how that breaks out until we actually talk to the members of Congress. 

Q:  Even in national versus domestic?  That would seem like not...

MS. MCCUSKER:  Yeah, it's nothing that we've discussed with them today, and so I'm trying to be sensitive to the fact that the secretary wants to make sure that the members of Congress get full notification before we -- we give the news to anyone else. 

MR. HOFFMAN:  OK. Yes. 

Q:  Hi, thanks.  Tara Copp from McClatchy.  

Just to follow on Lita's question, could you give us a general description?  Are the majority international, the majority of the projects?  

MS. MCCUSKER:  As Jonathan mentioned, the funding for the projects splits pretty evenly between those outside the United States at $1.8 billion and those that are in the 50 United States and our territories at $1.8 billion.  

Q:  And besides the -- you know, the 2020 benchmark for funding, given the needs across the force, how did you prioritize which projects to keep funding in and which to take from? 

MS. MCCUSKER:  It really was mostly related to projected award dates.  I mean, we had some really good input from the components and the military services on their prioritization for projects.  We looked at readiness issues.  We looked at the National Defense Strategy.  

When it came down to it, given where we are in the fiscal year, we really tried to preserve a flexibility to make sure that we wouldn't have award dates coming up too soon, that we wouldn't get an opportunity to backfill those projects.  And so, what we have on the list are recap projects, projects for which we have an existing capability that can last from -- in a temporary way, until we can get these projects built. 

Q:  Can you tell us if it’s a new part of wall, or if it's a wall already existing that you are consolidating or reinforcing?  

MS. MCCUSKER:  It's both.  

ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR HOMELAND DEFENSE AND GLOBAL SECURITY KEN RAPUANO:  It is both.  It is replacing vehicular wall in some places.  It is adding an additional secondary wall -- or a barrier is the more accurate description -- in other places.  So it's a combination of areas where there was no barrier previously and areas where they're -- we're replacing existing, older, less capable barriers.  

MR. HOFFMAN:  Yeah, I think the key -- the key to what Ken is saying there, is that this will all go -- funding will all go to adding significantly new capabilities to DHS's ability to prevent illegal entry.  In areas where we go from, say, a vehicle barrier to a 30-foot wall, will add significant new set of capabilities that don't exist previously. 

Q:  And can you tell us how many miles it add -- adds? 

ASST. SEC. RAPUANO:  The total mileage is -- for the project for 2808 is 175 miles.  

Q:  New miles or...

Q:  New miles? 

MR. RAPUANO:  So these are -- as Jonathan just described, they're a combination of new barrier, where old vehicular barriers or -- or much less capable barriers in terms of the way they were constructed and the ease of illegal crossing is -- these will -- these will replace those barriers.  

Q:  Sorry, go ahead. 

Q:  Travis Tritten, Bloomberg Government.  

How would you describe the effect on these 127 projects?  Would you say that they are being delayed, or would you say the hope is that Congress is going to backfill those projects and there wouldn't be an effect? 

MS. MCCUSKER:  The way we're describing it, is really deferred.  If Congress were to backfill the projects, our request -- and our request, none of the projects would be delayed, but we do realize this could cause some delay.  They're definitely not canceled. 

Q:  Bill Hennigan, Time.  

You said 11 different projects.  Can you describe what those projects are?  And also with the 175 miles, what states will you be seeing that barrier go up in? 

MR. HOFFMAN:  Ken, do you want to talk about the list and then we can...

MR. RAPUANO:  I don't have the breakdown of states with me.  The way we break it up is by project.  But we're talking about El Centro, Laredo...

MR. HOFFMAN:  Yuma. 

MR. RAPUANO:  ... San Diego, Yuma, El Paso...

MR. HOFFMAN:  We can get you that information. 

Q:  So -- so when you say 11 projects, you're -- you're basically saying, that's all barrier. 

MR. RAPUANO:  Correct. 

Q:  Paul Sonne from the Washington Post.  

I have two questions.  I was wondering if you could walk us through, General, maybe how you came to the determination that these 11 projects support the use of the armed forces?  And then I was also wondering if we -- if we could get a commitment from you guys to come speak to us after we actually have the list of projects so we can actually talk about the projects.  

MR. HOFFMAN:  General, you...

LIEUTENANT GENERAL ANDREW POPPAS:  Well, I'll first go through the four factors for the chairman's analysis.  And the first he looked at, he looked at the DHS's prioritization list that they provided.  Then we also took a look at what the migrant flow was and we looked at those migrant apprehension rates and where they took place.

Then we took a look at where our own disposition of military forces were.  And then the last we took a look at what type of land was being used.  Was it federal land already, or was it private?

And then from there we deduced that these projects, all 11, were necessary.  And if you take a look, and obviously it'll go to the efficiency and effectiveness of the execution.  And if your question was how, obviously, any place that you have a wall where you saw the migrant flow coming across, where you place a wall, you're then going to canalize those individuals that had free access across.  Canalize obviously intend to channel to a specific location, this being the legal ports of entry.  

So anywhere you've now stopped the flow coming across, where we've committed both detection and monitoring personnel and border police, we no longer have to commit the same number of personnel and that builds in the efficiency and effectiveness of it.  And allows them to then go to a location that has both the personnel to process those coming through.  

MR. HOFFMAN:  OK.  And then to the second -- second part of your question is, yeah, we'll commit to you that we will come back and have a conversation with you once notifications are complete. 

All right, Ryan?

Q:  Just one follow up on something you’d said earlier.  You said that the secretary had determined to approve, and then the projects were identified.  Is that -- is that sequencing correct or in your opening statement -- I just want to make it clear, when did the secretary actually make the determination to approve the funds?

MR. HOFFMAN:  So, to be clear, the secretary made the determination today and -- and signed that he had reached this conclusion today, that the -- the funds will be available for those projects.  

Q:  Great.

MR. HOFFMAN:  The projects were -- the projects were identified by DHS previously, and sent over a list of projects that they had identified that they thought were necessary.  

The secretary's conclusion today was that he had -- he has decided that those projects -- that the funding we have available will be -- will be necessary -- are necessary to fulfill those projects.

Q:  And just -- thank you for clearing that up.  

And then if no U.S. troops had been deployed to support DHS on the southern border, would this be justified?

MR. HOFFMAN:  That's hypothetical.  I can't answer that for you.  But what I can tell you though is that DHS -- or DOD support to DHS for border security has been a historic mission that the department's undertaken under multiple administrations for many years; whether it was jumpstarted under President Bush; whether it was deployments by President Trump.  It's a historic mission, and in this case, given the -- the uniformly understood border security crisis and humanitarian crisis on the border, we believe in the administration, that the use of the troops is necessary and is appropriate.

MR. HOFFMAN:  Luis.

Q:  Question for the general.  I think in one of the four criteria that you mentioned, you said that it would free up personnel currently there.  Is that correct?

LT. GEN. POPPAS:  The criteria wasn’t would it free it up.  It was, we looked at the migration and the apprehension and then where our disposition was.  So if we had formations that were out there, personnel, obviously the intent would be, where that wall was would free personnel up on the -- after it was executed.

Q:  OK, so that's the basis for my question then.  So what you're saying is, that there would be military personnel in these areas where the -- where the sections would be built, but those personnel were only there because they were ordered as part of the mission that Ryan was alluding to earlier, correct?

MR. HOFFMAN:  I think the -- I think the premise there is that they're there because there is a -- a security requirement for them to be there.  By building additional border wall that helps address that security requirement.  So I think you're trying to get at whether -- if they were there in the first place.  I think we're looking at -- we're looking at ...

(CROSSTALK)

Q:  Are these sections near military installations that were already there, or is it a combination of military installations plus new troops, new personnel that were sent there as part of the border support mission?

LT. GEN POPPAS:  The elements that were there -- and it's a good back door way to get to Ryan's initial question.  But the -- the troops that were sent there, part of the analysis -- now even if there were no troops there, there are other factors that come to play in there.  So it doesn't come specific to your question, Ryan.  If they weren't there, it (inaudible) build efficiency and mitigates the crisis.  

But many of the troops that are here, one of the key factors were, we had committed troops at this location based on this crisis.

Q:  So do you expect to be able to reduce the number of troops on the border once -- once these projects are completed?

LT. GEN. POPPAS:  We do.

Q:  Do you have an estimate?

LT. GEN. POPPAS:  I do not.

Q:  When will they be completed?

MR. HOFFMAN:  Do you have a timeline?

MR. RAPUANO:  All the barriers will be completed.  The 175 miles per 2808, presuming there are no delays.

MR. HOFFMAN:  Yeah, what I would tell you on that is that DHS and DOD and the Army Corps are moving as expeditously as possible to -- they've identified the projects, they've been going through the planning, the permitting process, and the engineering process to begin the projects. 

So, the goal is to move out as quickly as possible.  You will see a rapid increase in the amount of projects completed.  Whether it's from 2808 funding, 284, or from appropriated funds, you'll see that increase.  I don't have an end date on it.  It's -- there's a lot of variables.  

Q:  Do you expect the contracts to be let soon in the coming weeks?

MS. MCCUSKER:  I mean, there's really three different categories.  We have DOD land, we have federal land that's not DOD, and we have non-federal land.  And each one of those categories has a timeline associated with it and steps that need to be taken.  The DOD land is the fastest.  

Q:  And how -- what -- what kind of timeline are you working off of that?

MS. MCCUSKER:  For the DOD land, I think, all in, we're looking at 100 to 135 or 40 days.

Q:  And that's obviously the shortest timeline?

MS. MCCUSKER:  That's the shortest timeline.

Q:  And that’s what, to award the contracts or to complete the construction?

MS. MCCUSKER:  That's to begin construction. 

Q:  Hi, I just want to make sure I understand the timing.  Did you say that in the next two days you're going to be notifying Congress and you're going to talk to us immediately after that, so, we'll be expecting to hear from you Thursday or Friday?

MR. HOFFMAN:  So actually the expectation is tomorrow.  So the secretary had made a commitment to members of Congress.  He has been making, and other members of the senior staff at DOD have been making, contact with members of Congress today to give them notification of the signing of the 2808 authorization starting -- it's already actually under way.

But we are moving into the process of speaking with individual members whose projects are affected by this determination.  That's going to go -- continue on through the evening and tomorrow, and when that process is complete we'll come back to you guys.  We expect it to be tomorrow, but it's going to be when that process is complete.  

Q:  And you'll (inaudible) that list?

(CROSSTALK)

MR. HOFFMAN:  At that time we will provide that information, yes.  

We're trying to be very respectful of Congress here in providing them with information first.  

So -- actually Barb, I think you have ...

Q:  A couple of follow-ups.  I'm a little puzzled how you -- you know that you'll be decreasing the number of troops, but you have no estimate of how -- how many.  So I'd just like to ask that again.  Can you give us any ballpark estimate that forms the basis for saying you expect a troop reduction.

I'd also like to ask two other quick ones, which is, if there is going to be a troop reduction, what does this mean for additional DHS requests for troops?  

And finally, how does this help the humanitarian aspects of the -- of the mission that you're talking about?  You talked about it both as a security issue and a humanitarian issue.  How does it help the humanitarian side?

MR. HOFFMAN:  OK, there were three separate questions there.  I don't know if -- General, if you want to (inaudible) -- 

(CROSSTALK)  

LT. GEN. POPPAS:  The first two that you talked about with the expectation of force reduction and then also, I believe, as we look at reprioritization internal, and how does that minimize – if I’ve understood the -- for this -- the border police, how they're going to adjust?  

Q:  At -- what this might do to additional DHS requests for U.S. military support, if you also say you're reducing troops.  But could you just -- I mean, do you have any ballpark estimate that forms the basis for saying you expect a troop reduction?  Or maybe I misunderstood? 

LT. GEN. POPPAS:  No that -- you didn't misunderstand.  And that -- as we look at the building of the border wall itself, as the wall continues to be built -- and part of it will be a reprioritization.  It's meant to maximum efficiency for the border police themselves.  And where we come forward that allows more badges to be freed up to execute their mission.  So as we build the wall, where the migrants were coming across, where we had to have a human capability and capacity that's there, the intent is...

Q:  Any estimate of...

MR. HOFFMAN:  So I can tell you that if you can go to -- reach out to DHS -- and I know that Border Patrol has these numbers -- they can show you specifically the numbers of how much of a decrease with border patrol that they've seen with the wall coming -- I -- I -- let me finish, Barbara -- so that they can show you that, the difference between the number of resources used to patrol a wall where there's -- where a wall doesn't exist and where one has been completed, drops dramatically.  So I think that's -- that -- I think if that's your point...

Q:  No, it's not...

MR. HOFFMAN: ... is you want to see what that number is.

Q:  No, no.  Let me try again.  I must be misstating it.  I'm so sorry.  What I am asking is you -- if I understood you all correctly, you're projecting a possible decrease in U.S. troops once these projects are completed because you won't need as many troops down there.  Do you have an estimate?  If you say you are decreasing -- going to be able to decrease U.S. troops on the border, there must be some analytical foundation for making that statement.  I don't -- it's not precision, but do you have some estimate of what you might be able to decrease in terms of U.S. troops on the border? 

MR. RAPUANO:  So let me -- let me take a try.  The challenge is that dynamics on the border are quite dynamic in the sense that they are ever-changing.  And we've seen that over the last two years.  While the numbers of apprehensions and presentation for asylum on the border and at POEs [ports of entry] have lessened in the past month and a half, it's still at historic highs in terms of the last over 10 years.  So, when we look at that barrier construction on the border in support of the DHS mission, we are expecting fully to get more effective and efficient functioning of not only U.S. military personnel supporting DHS on the border, but of DHS CBP [Custom and Border Patrol] on the border, and that is their expectation and experience as well in terms of barrier -- barriers that they've constructed previously. 

So we would -- we would be providing support to them where they need it most if the dynamics continue and the numbers rise.  If the numbers lower, based on both enforcement as well as maybe less likelihood of attempts at crossing, we will then be able to take those DOD personnel and apply them to -- to DOD missions. 

Q:  So you don't know yet whether this will result in a decrease in U.S. troops on the border because you don't really know -- no offense -- you don't know what the situation is.  

MR. RAPUANO:  We know for certain it will make for more effective and efficient U.S. -- use of military personnel on the border.  We expect that it will result in increased effectiveness in enforcement at the border and over time -- we do expect over time that it will lessen the reliance on DOD or the necessity for DOD to support DHS when they're beyond their capacity.  

Q:  And how does this all help the humanitarian side of the situation? 

MR. RAPUANO:  Well, number one, it prevents crossing over dangerous parts of the border, where individuals have a much greater risk of -- of injury or of heat stroke, heat exhaustion.  Number two, it increases the ability of DHS to process more effectively and efficiently at their points of entry, which -- which is where they are best equipped and resourced to deal with individuals presenting themselves for example...

(CROSSTALK)

Q: ... some specific dangers, physical the areas that present...

MR. HOFFMAN:  Barbara, we're going to have to move on to some other people here after this.  Yeah.  

Q:  I have a quick question (inaudible).  So with this decision, what's to stop -- what's to stop this administration from deploying forces anywhere to use military construction funds for anything administration related, rather than Defense Department related? 

MR. HOFFMAN:  So what I'll tell you is that from -- from -- we've looked at -- at the -- the authority that the president has used and used in the -- the -- declaring a national emergency here.  We've worked very closely with our attorneys here at the department and with the Department of Justice.  We feel fully confident that the use of this authority in this case is appropriate and legal.  I cannot get into any hypothetical or other -- other...

Q:  I mean, I'm not trying to be hypothetical.  The decision based on this particular -- 

MR. HOFFMAN:  I can only speak to this set of facts that we have before us and what the lawyers have looked at in this case, and I can just tell you that with regard to this set of facts, the lawyers have reached a determination that they believe the use of these funds is -- is -- is legal and is authorized under law.  

Q:  Absolutely, but this -- the facts are that in order to support those forces -- support armed forces, which is how you take 2808.  You're supporting forces that are supporting DHS.  So really, these funds are being used to be support DHS, but they're being -- I don't want to say twisted, but they're being packaged in a way that they're supporting the armed forces.  

So, I just don't understand how this -- this now opens up the gates to where DOD can be deployed anywhere, for CDC -- I mean, all sorts of things. And then military construction funds, which are made for military construction, can therefore be used because there's going to be forces there.  So then the justification, as approved in this case, in this instance, is that, well, there's forces there, so then it's supporting them, so then we can remove the forces. 

MR. HOFFMAN:  So, Carla, that's a -- that's a -- a series of hypotheticals to get us there, but what I will say is, the president has lawfully deployed troops to the border in support of a national security mission, in securing our border, and as a result, in declaring the national emergency -- the lawyers that have looked at this from the Department of Defense and the Department of Justice have determined that that use of -- of authority and the use of these funds is lawfully done.  That's all I can speak to today.  So let's -- let's -- let's move on...

(CROSSTALK)
 
Q: ... one more time, because I think I understand the hypothetical. 

(CROSSTALK)

MR. HOFFMAN:  ... I got it -- I got it -- I understand the question...

(CROSSTALK)

Q: ... I want to ask a legitimate, non-hypothetical question, (inaudible)  So...

MR. HOFFMAN:  But I -- I got it, we've gone over it a couple times.

Q:  Well, does this open up -- not hypothetically, does this now open up the use of it in other instances? 

MR. HOFFMAN:  I can only speak to this case.  I can't give you an answer that you're looking for on -- on other hypothetical cases.  I'm only going to speak to the case that we have here today.  

Nancy?

Q:  I'd like to return to Barbara's question and just ask it in a different way.  You said that construction -- the earliest would be 140 days that construction would start.  So, if you can't tell when troops will start coming  -- the reduction of troops would start, can you tell us the sort of timeline you're looking at in terms of how long troops would be there?  If it's 140 days for the earliest projects to start...

(CROSSTALK)

Q:  Either way, it sounds like months, if not years-long commitment, for some of those projects on private lands.  And -- and so I'm just trying to get a sense – Gen. Poppas, you talked earlier about the disposition of troops as one of the factors the chairman considered.  What is the timeline in terms of how long troops could be there, given these construction projects?  When -- when does the last one end, such that you can then remove troops from the border, if at all? 

LT. GEN. POPPAS:  And this -- these are specific to the task we've had and -- but I'll tell you as we continue to plan and work with DHS now and the requests that have come in, and we're -- we're trying to be predictive so -- for the formation that'll be out there, and we're looking at the entire fiscal year '20 at this time.  So being predictive out for a year.  At least for the ask, and we're asking that of DHS so it doesn't come up continuously.  And we've helped them; we've provided planners in order to support the effort to do that.  And with the intent that we can be predictive, we can then allocate forces in advance.  And then as they're no longer needed, can off-ramp them.  That allows both financial and training predictability.

(CROSSTALK)

MR. HOFFMAN:  And I think this -- want to go back to the -- the couple of points that have been made is that this is -- there's a variety of factors in here.  The construction of border barriers is not the only factor that will impact whether troops are -- continue to be deployed or not.

The president has directed that we support the Department of Homeland Security in their border-security mission.  And the troops are going to remain as long as the president determines that that is necessary.  

What we're doing here today is trying to make that deployment more efficient and more effective.

Q:  Just to clarify, minimally, through fiscal year 2020 based just on these projects, and these projects, I assume, will go on past -- some of these projects will go on past fiscal year 2020, is that correct?

MS. MCCUSKER:  I mean, it really depends on a lot of factors.  I mean, I think you can envision where non-federal land could go past 2020.  But it depends on a number of factors.

MR. HOFFMAN: And once again, it depends on what the crisis is at the border.  So as -- as Ken mentioned, the numbers are historically high.  If we were to see some sort of dramatic change in those numbers, that you might see a different disposition in the deployment of forces from DOD to support DHS.

MR. RAPUANO:  Just one point.  One thing that we know for certain, it's hard for us to predict how many people attempt to cross the border in three to seven to 10 months.  

One thing that we do know for certain, and was confirmed by the chairman's assessment and the secretary's decision, is that, no matter what the numbers are, we know that the border can be enforced more effectively and efficiently by Department of Homeland Security with barriers.  And that lessens their need for augmented support. 

Now depending on the dynamics at the border, if there are large numbers continuing to attempt, they may need our continued assistance until that subsides or they are resourced sufficiently through the budget to -- to conduct the activities themselves.

Q:  So I appreciate that.  I think the reason I was asking is, it was originally tied to sort of the funding of these laws.  And now there are additional factors.  I think for clarity it would be helpful to get a sense how that disposition is determined.  

How much of it is based on border construction versus other factors.  Because I think that created a little bit of confusion.  So that we have some metric to get a sense of what would lead to troops being deployed or troops being taken off the border.

MR. HOFFMAN:  OK.  We're going to do two more questions.

Q:  I just want to clarify on the money.  This designation by Secretary Esper, does it now make the entire bucket of $3.6 billion immediately available, or it's just the first $1.8 billion international available, and then there would be a second, I guess, evaluation if the domestic projects are also needing that money.

MS. MCCUSKER:  The first $1.8 will be available first.

Q:  So -- but there would -- would there have to be a second designation by Esper that ...

MS. MCCUSKER:  No.

Q:  ... frees up the next?  It's just once the first $1.8 billion is spent then ...

MS. MCCUSKER:  Yeah, we'll go into the -- into the next.

MR. HOFFMAN:  Last question.

Q:  Yeah.  You said that projects on military land could be the first to get underway.  Are you talking about the Goldwater Range?  … 

MS. MCUSKER:  … mm-hmm [yes] …

Q: … Are there any other military lands?  It's just the Goldwater Range, correct?

LT. GEN. POPPAS:  Correct.

Q:  Thank you.

MR. HOFFMAN:  OK guys, thank you very much...

Q:  Just a clarification.  On the -- on the wall, the whole project will be built by the Army Corps of Engineers?

MS. MCCUSKER:  It will be contracted by the Army Corps of Engineers.

MR. HOFFMAN:  All right guys, thank you.

Q:  … last question.  Is there any way you can talk about the international projects?  Are you notifying embassies?  Is there no reason -- is there a reason why ...

MS. MCCUSKER:  We're notifying countries as well.

Q:  OK.