Menendez Meets with Picatinny Mission Leader, Commits to Fighting For NJ’s Military Bases

Menendez Meets with Picatinny Mission Leader, Commits to Fighting For NJ’s Military Bases

President’s manufactured ‘national emergency’ threatens critical funding for Picatinny to pay for Trump border wall

   

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today met with Picatinny Arsenal leadership to discuss the Morris County, N.J., base’s critical mission and the impact of President Trump’s national emergency declaration, which threatens to divert $41 million appropriated by Congress to build Picatinny’s new Munition Disassembly Complex.

“It was a pleasure to meet with leadership from Picatinny Arsenal today to discuss how we can work together to protect our country and advance the base’s mission,” said Sen. Menendez. “As ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I recognize the diplomatic, economic and security challenges we face around the world. The operations underway at Picatinny are vital to our national security, and there’s no way I’m going to allow President Trump to raid funds from New Jersey’s military installations to pay for his delusional dream to build an ineffective wall on our southern border for a national emergency he created. I will continue working with our military partners to ensure that never happens.”

Sen. Menendez met with David Castellano, executive director of Picatinny’s Munitions Engineering and Technology Center at the Combat Capabilities Development Command Armaments Center.

Earlier this year, President Trump declared a national emergency, which would allow military construction projects awarded after Sept. 30 to be redirected to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border. The project award for Picatinny’s $41 million facility is scheduled for December, but the Senator and Castellano discussed how to ensure base readiness to accept the contract award ahead of the September deadline, thereby protecting the funding.

The two also discussed Picatinny’s new role under the Army Futures Command (AFC), the U.S. Army’s most significant reorganization since 1973. Under AFC, Picatinny’s Combat Capabilities Development Command Armaments Center will play an outsized role in the Army’s modernization efforts through scientific research, technology development, engineering and analysis.

First established in 1880 as the Dover Powder Depot, New Jersey’s Picatinny Arsenal is a unique, comprehensive armament facility spanning 5,900 acres and responsible for developing virtually all of the Army’s lethal weapons systems.

The construction of a new Munitions Disassembly Complex includes a munitions disassembly facility, robotics experimentation/field office, render-safe area, day storage magazine and long-term storage magazines with a storage shed.

Earlier this year, Sen. Menendez joined his colleagues in introducing the RAIDER Act, which would bar the transfer of any funding from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or Military Construction accounts for construction, land acquisition or other activities related to President Trump’s border wall following any potential emergency declaration, unless Congress granted specific authority to do so.

In March, Sen. Menendez and Congressman Donald Norcross (N.J.-01) led the New Jersey Congressional delegation in expressing its near-unanimous objection to President Trump’s “national emergency” declaration and the potential targeting of military funding for critical national security missions in New Jersey to pay for his wall on the southern border.

“In particular, we adamantly oppose any diversion of funds obligated to New Jersey’s military installations, including Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (JBDML), Picatinny Arsenal and the 177th Fighter Wing at Atlantic City International Airport, to pay for such a barrier,” wrote the lawmakers in a letter to Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan.  “It would be irresponsible to prevent these military installations in our state from receiving this critical funding. Furthermore, it would weaken our national security and mission readiness if these installations were not properly equipped. If your objective is to make the nation safer, transferring money away from the military’s vital operations in New Jersey would do the exact opposite.” 

Last year, Sen. Menendez and U.S. Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer toured Picatinny Arsenal and Lakehurst Navy Base to highlight vastly important work being done at both sites.