Thirteen Republican senators led by U.S. Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi wrote a letter to Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Global Security Melissa Dalton after learning that the Department of Defense has spent more than $300 million of taxpayer money on unused border wall panels.
These bollard panels are scattered across 20 project sites in southern Arizona and New Mexico, and the Department of Defense is currently spending $130,000 per day to maintain, store, and secure them.
This revelation has sparked outrage from the senators who are questioning why taxpayer dollars are being wasted on unused materials.
They believe that in a time of heightened security threats to the United States, every dollar that Congress authorizes for the Department of Defense should be used to bolster national security.
The senators argued that the money being spent to maintain the panels could be better used for defense purposes.
“The Department of Defense should not be incurring these daily charges but should be using these funds to bolster national security,” the senators wrote.
“In a highly dangerous security environment for the United States, every dollar Congress authorizes for the Department of Defense should be used effectively. This failing program clearly misses that standard.”
The senators have requested a full accounting of the Department of Defense’s internal correspondence regarding the issue, as well as a list of entities the Department is paying to store the panels.
They also want an explanation of how the contract process for storage proceeded.
Since President Joe Biden ordered the halt of construction of the border wall in 2021, the unused materials have remained a controversial issue.
Despite attempts by various entities to acquire the panels and put them to use, the Department of Defense continues to spend significant amounts of money to maintain them.
The senators who wrote the letter expressed concern about the wasteful spending, particularly given the precarious state of national security at this time.
They hope that the Department of Defense will take action to rectify this situation and use taxpayer money in a more effective and efficient manner to protect the United States.
Read the full letter below: