The Pentagon may face long-term negative effects by defying Congress to fund construction for a wall along the Mexican border, but Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan is going ahead with it anyway.

The Defense Department notified Congress its intention to transfer $1 billion in funding to go toward building 57 miles of fencing, roads and other measures on the southwestern border.

It’s an unprecedented tactic to notify Congress about moving the money around, rather than request the transfer. The decision will likely cost the Pentagon its ability to “reprogram” money in the years ahead, which will hamper its ability to react quickly to military needs.

“By unilaterally reprogramming, it was going to affect our ability long-term to be able to do discretionary reprogramming that we had traditionally done in coordination,” Shanahan told the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday. “We understand the significant downsides of losing what amounts to a privilege.”


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