Washington D.C. – The U.S. House has approved its version of 2012 military construction funding, including more than 300-million for Guam projects, but bigger military issues for Guam may loom in the Senate.
The Guam projects, intended to support the military build-up, total $303.5 million with the largest shares going to Marine Corps North ramp utilities, Finegayan water utilities, an Air Force Air Freight terminal complex and a Guam Strike Force fuel systems maintenance hangar.
These and several other projects were included in the 2012 Defense Authorization Act that the House passed a few weeks ago, after Republicans blocked a bid by Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo to include Guam war claims.
Bordallo’s office said the Congresswoman would not push for war claims or other Guam measures on the military construction bill. She did succeed earlier in striking a requirement for one-third Navy representation on Guam’s CCU Board.
The Senate though, will write its own Defense Authorization and Military Construction bills, and any differences would have to be reconciled, though the Guam projects are not seen as controversial.
Senate subcommittees started defense authorization work early in the week with all but one of the armed services panels meeting behind closed doors.
The big question for Guam is whether those panels will move to scale back the build-up.
Virginia Senator and former Navy Secretary James Webb Chairs the Personnel Subcommittee and has taken the lead in proposing cost-saving steps to reduce the build-up footprint on Guam. Webb’s been joined by Armed Services Chair Carl Levin and ranking Republican John McCain in the effort.
Webb cited a Congressional study last month to back up the three Senators’ recommendations.
The GAO concluded DoD’s East Asia Base Realignment plans lack critical cost data and alternatives and that the Pentagon may have even “understated” its own cost estimates by billions.
Webb’s office will not say what his Subcommittee plans are until the full Committee goes public in a mark-up of the full Defense Authorization Bill. But Webb wrote last month, “there’s an urgent need to address these basing issues in the current appropriations cycle.”