Bushong, Bice & Wood Tout Unprecedented Opportunities Offered by Buildup

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Guam – The Center for Micronesian Empowerment and Hita I Marianas held a conference Wednesday on the untapped potential of the Marianas and Micronesian workforce. At this meeting Rear Admiral Paul Bushong, JGPO forward executive director David Bice, and marine headquarters pacific division director Brian Wood spoke about the opportunities that the buildup will bring to the island.

Rear Admiral Paul Bushong began by speaking about the importance of Micronesia as a region and the importance of keeping the region financially and socially stable. “We recognize that to maintain this defense posture the Micronesian region must be stable and secure and we recognize that Micronesia as a region can not be stable and secure unless all parts are stable and secure,” explained Bushong.

This means ensuring that the economies and governments are secure. One way this will be accomplished is through the many new jobs that will be created in the construction, engineering, accounting, and information technology industries. These new jobs along with the stable income of new servicemen and women will bring stability. “Again with that employment comes economic stability which supports regional stability and regional security,” said Bushong.

Retired Marine Major General David Bice gave what will be his last speech before he resigns from his position as Joint Guam Program Office Forward Executive Director at the end of the year. Bice says the buildup will bring unprecedented opportunities. “We’ve identified about a billion dollars B Billion dollars in funding for upgrades to Guam’s infrastructure,” said Bice.

Bice also promised that the adaptive program management concept will not conflict with Guam’s growth but will instead allow for more sustainable growth. “Regardless of the pace the fact remains that we will be investing billions of dollars in Guam,” he said.

Marine headquarters pacific division director Brian Wood says that if put simply he would be known as the “money man” for the marines in this region. “But why are we moving here? Why are we moving here? To the United States marine core this is not a basing issue it’s an operational issue we’re gonna bring operational forces and keep them in the western pacific so that we can provide the type of defense posture here that’s necessary,” explained Wood.

In order to provide this defense the marines must remain combat ready that means a lot of training. But wood says they will only do individual live fire training on Guam. Other live fire training will have to be done elsewhere which could mean the CNMI. “We’re not here to execute next years program we’re not here to build a base we’re here to be here for a minimum of fifty years that’s our initial outlook we wanna be good partners we wanna be good friends we don’t wanna bring our own culture here we want to have the marines to adapt to the great culture that is Guam that’s our outlook,” said Wood.

The major theme being pushed throughout the conference is the unprecedented amount of employment and business opportunities that will arise from the military buildup.