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Your next ­commandant: Can he push the Marine Corps past the era of counterinsurgency?

To quit, to surrender, to give up is to fail. To be a recon Marine is to surpass failure; to overcome, to adapt and to do whatever it takes to complete the mission.” It’s a snippet of the creed of the Corps’ storied reconnaissance ­Marines, whose history is steeped in the early days of the…

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Your next ­commandant: Can he push the Marine Corps past the era of counterinsurgency?

To quit, to surrender, to give up is to fail. To be a recon Marine is to surpass failure; to overcome, to adapt and to do whatever it takes to complete the mission.”

It’s a snippet of the creed of the Corps’ storied reconnaissance ­Marines, whose history is steeped in the early days of the small rubber boat units that were tasked with raiding Japanese positions during World War II.

It’s a message that has captivated the minds of many young Marines wishing to join the Corps’ commando ranks. It may have even inspired Lt. Gen. David H. Berger, who was once the company commander and battalion operations officer for 2d Reconnaissance Battalion, and now is nominated to become the Corps’ 38th commandant of the Marine Corps.

The three-star general is a graduate of the Corps’ arduous Amphibious ­Reconnaissance School and the Army’s elite Ranger school. And if confirmed by the Senate, he may be the Corps’ first “dual cool” commandant — a ­popular term among the recon community to describe a Marine who has graduated from both dive and jump school.

Berger’s ascent to becoming the top Marine fights against norms from the Corps’ recon Marines, norms saying the commando ranks are a career killer for those seeking to climb the promotion ladder. And, his nomination may signal the Corps’ sprint to confront the re-emergence of great power competition rising in the Pacific.

At least two former commandants have hailed from the recon field.

Alfred M. Gray, the 29th commandant, was previously an enlisted recon ­Marine who achieved the rank of sergeant in the early 1950s before receiving his commission. The Corps’ 28th commandant, Gen. Paul X. Kelley, served with Marine Force Reconnaissance.

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“If you ever want to go to a recon unit, don’t stay long and don’t ever go back,” was advice Ret. Maj. Fred Galvin recalled hearing from an instructor when he was a student at the Infantry Officer Course. “You are infantry officers and you need to be leading infantry Marines. Recon is a career killer.”

Galvin, a former recon officer and commander of one the first Raider teams to deploy Afghanistan, told Marine Corps Times that the notion of recon as a career killer was the norm until the kick-off of America’s ­embroilment in counterinsurgency conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Berger himself did not remain in recon. He eventually went back to the infantry, serving as an infantry battalion commander and regimental commander.

He commanded Regimental Combat Team 8 in Fallujah, Iraq, and later commanded the 1st Marine Division in Afghanistan as a brigadier general in 2012.

Galvin says Berger embodies the hallowed recon creed, and his leadership style echoes those of legendary World War II Raiders like Lt. Col. Evans Carlson.

Then-Maj. Gen. David H. ­Berger, ­center, commanding general, Task Force Leatherneck, on Patrol Base Lazika, Helmand province, ­Afghanistan, September 18, 2012. (Lance Cpl. Joshua Rudy/Marine Corps)

Carlson, a three-time Navy Cross recipient, was a pioneer for one of the Corps’ first special operations units dubbed the Marine Raiders, which was tasked with raiding Japanese units in World War II.

The Raider name has since been adopted by the current Marine Forces ­Special Operations Command — though the Raider lore is still steeped in both the recon and Marine special operations community.

Galvin told Marine Corps Times that he briefly served under Berger when he commanded Marine Forces Pacific, and that Berger would hold gatherings in his residence where staff could ask questions to better gauge his intentions as commander.

Galvin explained that he had rarely seen this approach by other leaders, but that it was a similar leadership approach used by Carlson when he commanded the 2nd Marine Raider battalion in 1942.

Those meetings enabled Marines to speak about anything in front of the command.

Carlson’s meetings with his men in World War II would become known as “Gung Ho” ­meetings, a means to democratize the military, foster ­comradery and educate the men about the mission and the war — a philosophy of military command he developed working with the Chinese military before the break out of World War II.

“This town meeting mentality enabled Carlson to discuss his expectations and philosophies ­without the multiple filters and editorial comments of lower-echelon leaders,” then-Air Force Maj. Kathleen M. Gomrick wrote in a research paper for Air Command and Staff College-Air University in 1999. “While never abdicating his position of authority, he fostered an atmosphere of accessibility felt by each Marine.”

“His goal was to promote an understanding that would lead to each member having a personal stake in the mission, a sense of responsibility to each other and to the outcome of the battle and the war,” ­Gomrick wrote in her research, titled “Gung Ho, Raider! The Philosophy and Methods of Brig Gen Evans F. Carlson, Marine Corps Raider.”

Berger, Galvin said, “is a leader who truly cares for those in his command and it was visible in the few short months I observed before he transferred to command [Marine Corps Combat Development Command].”

While recon historically has been perceived as a ­career stopper, some recon Marines point to a few notable contemporary successes.

Marine Corps Lt. Gen. John K. Love is the U.S. senior military representative to NATO and served in 1st Reconnaissance Battalion. Though he didn’t remain in the recon community either, he would also command Regimental Combat Team 8 in Iraq, in 2009.

Brig. Gen. Francis L. Donovan commanded task force 51, 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, headquartered out of Bahrain. Donovan served in Force Reconnaissance, and as a lieutenant colonel he was an early pioneer of an experimental unit known as Det One, which was the precursor to the current Raider units today.

Following the deactivation of Det One, Donovan would go onto command 2d Battalion, 1st Marines.

Berger’s nomination to lead the Corps is not just about his recon background, but possibly is a signal of the Corps’ direction as the debate rages about the force’s ­mission to either focus on irregular, small wars or prep for a near-peer fight with sophisticated adversaries.

The Corps is at a crossroads while it modernizes for the future battlefield, pushing higher tech and costly platforms like the F-35B, CH-53K and new long-range weapon systems. This is all while some lawmakers have pondered if the right role for the Corps is focusing on low-intensity conflicts.

Ret. Marine Lt. Col. Dakota Wood, a senior research fellow for the Heritage Foundation, welcomed Berger’s nomination to lead the Marine Corps and noted that it was an indicator of the Corps heading to address the return of great power competition and the ­direction of the current National Defense Strategy.

Berger boasts a resume to lead a force prepping for the near-peer fight, according to Wood, who cited his tenure as commander as I Marine Expeditionary Force, or I MEF, and his time in the Pacific devoted to sea power and maritime operations as important facets to a potential fight with China.

I MEF is known as the “big war MEF,” Wood ­explained, where the unit is central to major war planning, where Berger is now “steeped in that culture.”

The nomination “says a lot about the administration’s [President Donald Trump’s administration] view of the world and what the military establishment needs to focus on,” Wood said.

Berger is the current commander of Marine Corps Combat Development Command/Deputy Commandant for Combat Development and Integration, headquartered at Quantico, Virginia.

In that role, he has been pivotal in pushing concepts, training and equipment central to the near-peer fight such as distributed operations, maritime ­environments and littoral operations.

But, the 31st Commandant of the Marine Corps Ret. Gen. Charles Krulak warned that the Corps must remain ready to fight across the spectrum of warfare and that a focus on near-peer adversaries risks turning the Corps into a second land army — a place he says is bad for the Corps.

“If we spend too much time thinking that we’re going to be fighting the near-peer competitor, we’re going to find ourselves back as a land army,” Krulak told Marine Corps Times in an interview.

While the Corps can serve as the lead punch in a major fight with a country like China, Krulak says the Army should serve as the main force, which he ­described as the “chainmail fist of American diplomacy.”

Then-Maj. Gen. David H. Berger, Combat Center commanding general, pays respects to veterans interred at the ­Twentynine Palms Public Cemetery in California after a Memorial Day ceremony in 2014. (Kelly O’Sullivan/Marine Corps)

“They’re not going to go up against a billion Chinese and expect to come out on top,” Krulak said about the Marine Corps.

The Corps is about winning battles, Krulak ­explained, and if the Corps wins enough battles a war will not happen.

If Berger is confirmed by the Senate he will take the mantle of leading the Corps into the future.

While the current top Marine, Gen. Robert B. ­Neller, has pushed much modernization, to include an overhaul of the Corps’ rifle squads and the dishing out of new gear and vehicles, there is much work to be done.

Krulak says that prepping for the future fight must go beyond equipment and that the Corps must invest in the training and education of Marines.

The complexity of the future battlespace will thrust immense responsibility onto junior noncommissioned officers who may find themselves operating across the spectrum of war in a tight geographic space.

Because of this, young Marine enlisted leaders need proper training and education to prepare for the future fight.

“Don’t man the equipment, equip the man,” ­Krulak said. It’s all about properly “equipping the mind.”

“Training is preparation for the expected, education is preparation for the unexpected,” Krulak said. “We are seeing the unexpected in the world today.”

Krulak’s advice to the Corps is to relook at the concept of the strategic corporal and the strategic lieutenant as the force modernizes.

Much of Krulak’s vision for a future Corps has ­slowly been coming to fruition over the past twenty years, and Berger’s tenure as commandant may see that baton continue to move forward.

The Corps already has made strides in overhauling professional military education and removing barriers to earning college credit while Marines serve on active duty.

Krulak likes to cite a profound passage from Sun Tzu’s “Art of War,” which he believes the Corps should take to heart as it modernizes:

“Regard your soldiers as your children and they will follow you into the deepest valleys; treat them as your beloved sons and they will be with you even unto death.”

“Strong words with a powerful promise,” Krulak said. “That’s the guys we’re going to fight.”

“That’s John Lejeune saying teacher to scholar, father to son,” Krulak said.

Lt. Gen. John Lejeune served as the 13th commandant of the Marine Corps.

Those words may serve Berger, a man whose ­l­eadership traits and history hail from legendary Raiders like Carlson, who placed important emphasis on small-unit leadership and open communication among the ranks to foster participation and educate his men about his command intentions and their own stake in the coming battle.

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Please leave your guns at home for boot camp graduation, Parris Island officials say

Boot camp graduation in the Marine Corps is a joyous occasion, newly minted Marines finally getting the chance to bid farewell to sandpits and quarterdecks and strut around the parade deck showing off some dazzling close order drill maneuvers. The natural inclination for any red-blooded American on this most joyous occasion may be to follow…

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Please leave your guns at home for boot camp graduation, Parris Island officials say

Boot camp graduation in the Marine Corps is a joyous occasion, newly minted Marines finally getting the chance to bid farewell to sandpits and quarterdecks and strut around the parade deck showing off some dazzling close order drill maneuvers. The natural inclination for any red-blooded American on this most joyous occasion may be to follow the lead of Will Ferrell in “The Other Guys” and pop off a few celebratory rounds from the family Colt .45. Or, if you have more of a foreign bent, a sleek Glock 19. The staff at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, however, is beseeching family members of newly graduated Marines — be the one, too — to not bring guns on base. In a May 17 Facebook post, MRCD Parris Island indicated that, since the May 7 reopening of boot camp graduations to the public, there has been an uptick in families attempting to bring guns onto the premises. “As a federal installation, no personal firearms are authorized aboard the base and those families must take measures to store their firearms prior to entering the base or they will be turned away,” Capt. Bryan McDonnell told Marine Corps Times in a written statement. A spokesperson for California’s Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego told Marine Corps Times the left coast installation, predictably, has not experienced a gun problem over the same period. In addition to firearms, the Corps also bans toy guns, knives with a blade longer than three inches, prescription medication not properly labeled, explosive materials or fireworks, alcohol and any illegal drugs. Get the Marine Corps Times Daily News Roundup Don’t miss the top Marine Corps stories, delivered each afternoon (please select a country)United StatesUnited KingdomAfghanistanAlbaniaAlgeriaAmerican SamoaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBoliviaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of TheCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’ivoireCroatiaCubaCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuamGuatemalaGuineaGuinea-bissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMarshall IslandsMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMicronesia, Federated States ofMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNetherlands AntillesNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorthern Mariana IslandsNorwayOmanPakistanPalauPalestinian Territory, OccupiedPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalPuerto RicoQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRwandaSaint HelenaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and The GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbia and MontenegroSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and The South Sandwich IslandsSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwan, Province of ChinaTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-lesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUnited States Minor Outlying IslandsUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuelaViet NamVirgin Islands, BritishVirgin Islands, U.S.Wallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabwe Subscribe × By giving us your email, you are opting in to the Marine Corps Times Daily News Roundup. Basically, if it’s material your “I woulda enlisted in the military but can’t no drill instructors tell me what to do” cousin employes to spend a fun weekend, it’s likely banned from Parris Island. Although, with the full reopening of the base after extensive closures due to COVID-19, even those would-haves are welcome to come see the real thing.

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III MEF sends AAVs back in the water

Members of III Marine Expeditionary Force have returned to waterborne training with amphibious assault vehicles for the first time since July 2020, when an AAV sank off the California coast killing 8 Marines and one sailor. Shortly after the accident, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger called a halt to all waterborne AAV training until…

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III MEF sends AAVs back in the water

Members of III Marine Expeditionary Force have returned to waterborne training with amphibious assault vehicles for the first time since July 2020, when an AAV sank off the California coast killing 8 Marines and one sailor. Shortly after the accident, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger called a halt to all waterborne AAV training until the causes of the accident could be discovered and addressed. The Corps and Navy have launched at least four investigations into the accident, the vehicles and the formation of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which owned the vehicle that sank. The Corps found numerous safety issues and unclear, confusing regulations surrounding AAV operations. Following its first investigation into the accident, the Marine Corps conducted a thorough review of its AAV fleet, with updated requirements for watertight integrity and bilge pump functionality. “A majority of the AAVs failed to meet the new inspection criteria,” Lt. Gen. Steven Rudder, commander of Marine Forces Pacific, said in the investigation. The most common failures were, “bilge pump ­discrepancies, inoperable emergency egress lighting systems and plenum leakage,” exactly what had doomed the AAV assigned to the 15th MEU. Get the Marine Corps Times Daily News Roundup Don’t miss the top Marine Corps stories, delivered each afternoon (please select a country)United StatesUnited KingdomAfghanistanAlbaniaAlgeriaAmerican SamoaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBoliviaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of TheCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’ivoireCroatiaCubaCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuamGuatemalaGuineaGuinea-bissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMarshall IslandsMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMicronesia, Federated States ofMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNetherlands AntillesNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorthern Mariana IslandsNorwayOmanPakistanPalauPalestinian Territory, OccupiedPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalPuerto RicoQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRwandaSaint HelenaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and The GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbia and MontenegroSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and The South Sandwich IslandsSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwan, Province of ChinaTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-lesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUnited States Minor Outlying IslandsUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuelaViet NamVirgin Islands, BritishVirgin Islands, U.S.Wallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabwe Subscribe × By giving us your email, you are opting in to the Marine Corps Times Daily News Roundup. Satisfied with the new standards and Marines performance in a weeks-long training exercise, the Corps has now returned AAVs to water operations. “U.S. Marines with Company B, 3d Assault Amphibian Battalion, completed a demanding waterborne operations training package June 8, 2021, on Okinawa, Japan, in compliance with all updated policies and procedures, effectively returning an important capability to III MEF,” according to the news release. The MEF conducted a “thorough review” of all safety procedures and maintenance related to AAV waterborne operations prior to the training event, the release stated. “We completed a rigorous review to ensure we can operate our AAVs safely, protect our Marines and Sailors, and complete our mission responsibly,” Lt. Gen. H. Stacy Clardy, commanding general of III MEF, said in the release. “We will continue to mitigate risk while employing a ready and capable force to deter aggression and respond to crisis in the region in support of our nation’s interests and our allies and partners,” he added.

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Biden to return $2 billion diverted from Pentagon projects for border wall

WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump’s signature border wall project would lose much of its funding as well as the fast-track status that enabled it to bypass environmental regulations under a Biden administration plan announced Friday. President Joe Biden suspended construction of the wall upon taking office while his administration reviewed the project. That angered…

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Biden to return $2 billion diverted from Pentagon projects for border wall

WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump’s signature border wall project would lose much of its funding as well as the fast-track status that enabled it to bypass environmental regulations under a Biden administration plan announced Friday. President Joe Biden suspended construction of the wall upon taking office while his administration reviewed the project. That angered Republicans in Congress eager to see it go forward amid an increase in apprehensions of migrants along the southwest border. The new plan does not cancel the wall project outright, but it’s still likely to face opposition in Congress, where many Republicans are eager to promote a project closely associated with the former president. Biden plans to return more than $2 billion that the Trump administration diverted from the Pentagon to help pay for the wall and use other money appropriated by Congress to address “urgent life, safety, and environmental issues” created by the construction. It also asks lawmakers not to provide any additional funding for what the Biden team believes is an unnecessary effort. “Building a massive wall that spans the entire southern border and costs American taxpayers billions of dollars is not a serious policy solution or responsible use of federal funds,” the Office of Management and Budget said in a statement outlining the plan. The government has built walls and other barriers along the 2,000-mile (3,200-kilometer) U.S.-Mexico border for decades to eliminate some of the easier routes of avoiding checkpoints. Trump turned the issue into a centerpiece of his political identity. Trump vowed to build a “virtually impenetrable” wall, insisting it would be paid for by Mexico, which never happened. Instead, his administration set aside about $15 billion through a combination of congressional appropriations and taking the money from the Pentagon and other parts of the government. Sign up for the Early Bird Brief Get the military’s most comprehensive news and information every morning (please select a country)United StatesUnited KingdomAfghanistanAlbaniaAlgeriaAmerican SamoaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBoliviaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of TheCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’ivoireCroatiaCubaCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuamGuatemalaGuineaGuinea-bissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMarshall IslandsMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMicronesia, Federated States ofMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNetherlands AntillesNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorthern Mariana IslandsNorwayOmanPakistanPalauPalestinian Territory, OccupiedPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalPuerto RicoQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRwandaSaint HelenaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and The GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbia and MontenegroSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and The South Sandwich IslandsSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwan, Province of ChinaTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-lesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUnited States Minor Outlying IslandsUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuelaViet NamVirgin Islands, BritishVirgin Islands, U.S.Wallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabwe Subscribe × By giving us your email, you are opting in to the Early Bird Brief. The Trump administration built about 450 miles (725 kilometers) of wall, moving quickly and waiving requirements for environmental reviews and mediation, though only about 52 miles (84 kilometers) were in areas where no barrier previously existed. Biden’s decision to suspend construction prompted Republican senators to ask the Government Accountability Office to investigate whether the administration was violating federal law in not using appropriated money for its intended purpose. The administration said Friday that it will use funds already set aside by Congress for “their appropriated purpose, as required by law” but is requesting no new money for wall construction in the Department of Homeland Security’s 2022 budget. Biden is instead seeking money for increased technology at the ports of entry and elsewhere, saying there are more efficient ways to stop illegal immigration and drug smuggling at the border. The administration said it would return $2 billion taken from the Pentagon and use it for the construction projects for which the money was originally intended. That includes $79 million for an elementary school for the children of American service members in Germany; $25 million for a fire and rescue station at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida; and $10 million to expand defenses against North Korean ballistic missiles at Fort Greely in Alaska. It plans to use the approximately $1.9 million remaining appropriated by Congress for the wall for drainage and erosion control or other environmental problems caused by wall construction in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas and elsewhere. Dozens of advocacy organizations have called on the Biden administration to pay for the restoration of sensitive wildlife habitat and land considered sacred to Native Americans that was damaged by wall construction. “This is a welcome, sensible next step to begin healing the devastation that Trump inflicted on the borderlands,” said Paulo Lopes, a senior policy land specialist for the Center for Biological Diversity. The administration doesn’t explicitly say it won’t build any new wall. But it says that any new construction will be subjected to environmental review and that it will review ongoing efforts to seize land from property owners by eminent domain and will return parcels to the owners if the Department of Homeland Security determines it’s not needed. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, said Thursday that the state would build its own new barriers along the border with Mexico but offered no details, including precisely where or what they would look like. He has promised more details next week. “We need to recognize that the numbers of people coming across the border are just going to continue to increase unless we change the game plan,” Abbott said. Associated Press writers Anita Snow in Phoenix and Paul Weber in Austin, Texas, contributed to this report.

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