Guam -The Legislature’s Buildup Committee Chair, Senator Judi Guthertz says she is seeking a firmer commitment from Assistant Navy Secretary Jackalyne Pfannenstiel
In her latest letter, Senator Guthertz asks for “a higher level of validation” to the buildup.
Guthertz expresses concern about Texas GOP Senator Tom Coburn’s proposal to eliminate all funding for the Guam buildup.
She suggests a commitment from the new Defense Secretary Leon Panetta asking “Where does the Secretary of Defense [Leon Panetta] stand on this most vital of issues – whether the United States withdraws militarily from the Asia-Pacific region or remains engaged throughout that region? And she propsoes that the President re-affrirm the Japan – U.S. Alliance “A strong statement from the President to the Congress reaffirming his support of the Japan – U.S. Agreement and the Guam Military Buildup is also critical at this time.”
READ Senator Guthertz’s release in FULL below:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SENATOR GUTHERTZ ASKS NAVY SECRETARY PFANNENSTIEL: ARE WASHINGTON BUDGET CUTTERS MARCHING FORWARD ON THE GUAM MILITARY BUILDUP OR BACKWARD INTO ISOLATIONISM? AFTER CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION VISIT TO GUAM, QUESTIONS PERSIST.
So just where is the Guam military buildup going or is it going to happen at all?
That question has been asked repeatedly for years, but not with the intensity of the past few weeks, as a ‘super’ budget cutting committee in Washington goes to work and at least one Republican senator is proposing to ax the entire Guam buildup and send the Marines back to the U.S. mainland.
Last week, Guam Military Buildup Committee Chair Judi Guthertz thanked Assistant Navy Jackalyne Pfannenstiel ‚for taking the first definitive stand by a Pentagon official on the complex pressures circling the buildup like a typhoon,” such as whether there is a final master plan for the buildup (there isn’t) and whether that Washington deficit debate will affect the buildup (likely ).
Guthertz said Pfannenstiel’s letter made it clear that the buildup would likely proceed, but in altered form and she offered to discuss past drafts of the master plan with Senator Guthertz.
Meanwhile, Guthertz said, buildup information starved Guam legislators heard very strong claims from a three member Congressional Delegation led by Delegate Madaleine Bordallo, that—except for some Republican opposition in the U.S. Senate—the Guam military buildup has very strong support and is going forward. Reps. Robert Whitman (R-Virginia) and Stephen M. Palazzo (R-Mississippi) serve with Bordallo on the House Armed Services committee and have strong military ties in their home states. According to Guthertz, they agreed that the Guam buildup was essential to U.S. national defense interests.
In the CODEL meeting and her letter to Pfannenstiel, Senator Guthertz expressed strong concern about Senator Tom Coburn’s (R-Texas) Guam buildup cut proposal. However, members of the CODEL suggested that given U.S. House support of the buildup, opposition from Senators such as Coburn and John McCain (R-Arizona) could be overcome.
Senator Guthertz asked Secretary Pfannenstiel for a higher level validation of support for the Guam buildup:
“We have heard from the Vice President and Secretary of State,” Guthertz said. “Where does the Secretary of Defense [Leon Panetta] stand on this most vital of issues – whether the United States withdraws militarily from the Asia-Pacific region or remains engaged throughout that region? A strong
statement from the President to the Congress reaffirming his support of the Japan – U.S. Agreement and the Guam Military Buildup is also critical at this time.”