The Secretary of the Army visited Redstone Arsenal here in Huntsville to learn about the future of air missile defense.
WAAY 31 was invited to ask him about anything we wanted, so we tried to get answers from Mark Esper about the impact the shutdown can have on Huntsville and workers.
"Because we have appropriations there has been no impact on DOD or the army," he said.
Prior to his current role, Esper spent almost a decade as an executive at Raytheon, a major government contractor with a large presence in north Alabama. With his experience, we wanted to know what it's like being furloughed.
"It's a challenge. It depends on the case by case businesses, if I recall. Depending on who you're working for and who you're supporting. Again, I think if you're a government contractor support DOD I'm not aware of any particular challenges. Again, I'd have to refer you to them at this point in time. I just can't recall," he said.
With no end in sight to the shutdown, we asked him about who would build a potential wall at the Mexico border.
"Well I'll just say this much the Army Core of Engineers is responsible for contracting commercial builders that's ongoing. I'll just leave it at that and any other further questions I'll just refer you to SOD," he said.
Since he couldn't talk about anything here at home, we asked him about troops and equipment being withdrawn from Syria. Again, he just sent us up the chain of command.
"You know it's not my responsibility. I am responsible for Title 10 which is man training and equip the force so it's not anything I'm responsible for or focus on so I have to refer you up to SOD," he said.
Esper told us he met with people on the Arsenal to talk about modernization of the Army. After his interview, he immediately got on his plane to make his way south to Fort Rucker for his next stop on his trip.
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