According to officials, $1.6 billion of that money would go toward materials to build the wall. That would initially be used for continuing the levy wall in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas and replacing existing fencing in El Paso and in San Diego.

Planning the wall

The remaining $1 billion would go toward planning for the rest of the wall and other security measures. Customs and Border Protection is selecting bidders to build prototypes through a competition in San Diego this summer.

They are building sample walls that are made of both concrete and other materials. Companies are working on the projects in an area that is already government property.

Wall alternatives

Mr. Trump has offered various estimates for how much of a wall will really be needed, but an Office of Management and Budget official made clear that the government would not be building along the entire 2,000-mile border with Mexico. “There are places where it doesn’t make sense,” the official said.


A member of the Army at a military base southwest of Mosul, Iraq, last month. Some of the requested money for the Defense Department would go toward training current troops.

Suhaib Salem/Reuters

So the government intends to buy all sorts of equipment that will supplement or substitute for a physical wall. The budget request will allocate $239 million for aircraft and aviation sensors; $197 million for fixed surveillance technology, including towers, radar and cameras; and $202 million for what it described as “critical equipment” such as radios, computers and weapons. It also wants $111 million allocated for roads to gain access to parts of the border that are now hard to reach.


The biggest parcel of money in Mr. Trump’s budget goes to the Defense Department, which would see a $52 billion increase if the president’s wishes are granted.

Some of the funds would go toward adding 56,000 troops, with nearly half of that going to the Army. Money is also allocated for training current troops.


The president’s budget calls for a $19 billion investment in equipment, including 70 F-35 and 14 F/A-18 fighter jets.

The Pentagon would increase funding for B-21 bombers by $2 billion and spend $4.6 billion to finish one aircraft carrier and begin a next-generation carrier.

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