Guam – Guam Buildup Committee Chair Senator Judi Guthertz is optimistic that the CSIS report on the realignment of U.S. forces in the Pacific will help re-start the military buildup.
The report was submitted Tuesday to Congress by the Defense Department. It was completed by the Center for Strategic and International Studies [CSIS], a D.C. think tank.
The report is one of the five conditions required in Section 2207 of the National Defense Authorization Act, before Congress will consider releasing any further funding for the Guam military buildup, or other force realignment projects in the Asia-Pacific region.
In her release, Senator Guthertz “expressed hope that its recommendations would get the buildup here back on track.”
In particular she says she’s “pleased by the report’s recommendation to expedite the Environmental Impact Statement process” which “could lead to a Finding of NO IMPACT and no need for a supplemental EIS.”
The Senator also points out that the report calls for the inclusion of a defensive anti-ballistic missile presence on Guam, which she has advocated.
However before funding for the buildup can resume, Guthertz points out that the Defense Department still has to provide Congress with a Master Plan, Defense Secretary Panetta needs to submit his comments on the CSIS study, and the Commandant of the Marine Corps must recommend a ‘lay down’ plan in order to satisfy all the Congressional requirements.
READ Senator Guthertz’s release in FULL below:
July 27, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SENATOR GUTHERTZ SAYS NEW BUILDUP STUDY COULD “RE-START” GUAM MILITARY BUILDUP IMMEDIATELY
After reviewing the declassified version of the Pentagon’s long awaited report to the U.S. Congress, Guam Military Buildup Committee Chairperson Senator Judi Guthertz expressed hope that its recommendations would get the buildup here back on track.
The study, prepared by the independent Center for Strategic and International Studies, under provisions of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, assesses the U.S. force posture strategy in the Asia-Pacific region.
The findings reaffirm the April 27, 2012 US-Japan agreement to relocate Marine forces from Okinawa to Guam, calling for 4,700 Marines to be sent to Guam, 1,500 of whom will be permanently stationed and 3,200 rotating, including a Marine amphibious group task force headquarters headed by a Marine Brigadier General. This move will be supported by $3.1 billion in Government of Japan funds that will also cover the improvement of training areas in Tinian and other parts of the CNMI.
“I was particularly pleased by the report’s recommendation to expedite the Environmental Impact Statement process,” Senator Guthertz said, “by
determining that prior records of decision are programmatic decisions and by evaluating proposed updates against those records. In many cases, this could lead to a Finding of NO IMPACT and no need for a supplemental EIS.”
That recommendation and this report will justify proceeding immediately with those portions of the buildup that do not need further study. This could restart the buildup immediately.”
Senator Guthertz said she was also pleased by a recommendation that ‘outside the wire’ infrastructure improvements needed for the Guam buildup be carried out and that construction of an upgraded fuel pipeline at Andersen AFB proceed.
The report also called for the defensive anti-ballistic missile presence in Guam which Senator Guthertz has long advocated.
Senator Guthertz said: “Now Secretary of Defense Panetta needs to submit his comments on the study and the Commandant of the Marine Corps must recommend a ‘lay down’ plan for distribution of Marines in the Asia-Pacific region and finally, the Pentagon must complete its master plan for the Guam buildup.”