Interagency Group Meets on Guam Military Build-Up
Washington D.C. (August 2, 2007) On August 2, the Interagency Group on Insular Areas (IGIA) met at the Department of the Interior, as hosted by DOI and DoD, for a working group meeting and discussion on the pending military build-up on Guam. The U.S. Government and the Government of Japan propose to realign the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force from Okinawa to Guam by 2014. Considered to be the largest of its kind in history since World War II, the estimated cost of the military build-up may exceed $14 billion.
Assistant Secretary of the Navy B.J. Penn opened the day’s meeting with special remarks highlighting the magnitude and the significance of the move for the security of the nation as we move into the 21st century and beyond. DOI’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Insular Affairs, David B. Cohen, focused his remarks on the need for all federal agencies to be closely involved to help ensure the success of the transfer to Guam for the benefit of the people of Guam, the Micronesia region and ultimately the success of the nation. Remarks were also given by Guam Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo, Guam Lt. Governor Mike Cruz, General David Bice, Director of the Joint Guam Program Office (JGPO) and Mr. Gary Kuwabara of the Office of Economic Adjustment (DoD).
Succeeding the remarks were breakout sessions in which representatives of Guam Government and officials from the various federal member agencies attended to discuss, in more detail, the challenges and needs of the various aspects of this historic move, particularly those needs considered “outside the fence” but whose success is critical to the overall success of the build-up. The discussion groups were organized as follows:
- Socio-economic policy/resources requirements
- Labor/Workforce policy/resource requirements
- Environmental policy/resource requirements
- Health and Human Services policy/resources
- Guam Infrastructure policy/resource issues.
Contractors from Booz, Allen, Hamilton were hired by DoD to help facilitate discussions in the various breakout groups and to help DoD and chosen group leaders maintain continuing discussion and liaison on these issues leading up to the Guam build-up.
The Realignment Roadmap between the U.S. and Japan allows for the relocation of approximately 8,000 Marines, plus their dependents, from Okinawa to Guam with a target completion date of 2014. The shared objective is to create a more stable, enduring U.S. presence in Japan, while increasing overall alliance capabilities and deterrence through realignment of U.S. and Japanese forces. The Navy, Army, Air Force and Coast Guard also plan to build up certain components on Guam at this time as well.
Forward-positioned forces on Guam will be ideally suited in the Pacific Theatre for global as well as regional needs. The changes will significantly impact Guam and the Micronesia region.