VIDEO: Despite Rotations, USMC Will Maintain a Constant Level of 5,000 Marines on Guam


Guam – The Joint Guam Program Office’s new leadership gave a briefing on the latest with the Guam military buildup to lawmakers Monday.

They explained the process of the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement and their adjusted plans as a result of the reduced number of marines that will be stationed on Guam.

 The JGPO forward office’s new Director Captain Phillip Old and their new Deputy Director Major Darren Alvarez told lawmakers that the SEIS will look at new alternatives for both the cantonment area and the firing range complex because of the reduced number of marines that will be stationed on Guam.

There will be about 5,000 marines on Guam and two thirds will be rotational. They will rotate every six months but as soon as one group rotates out another one will rotate into the island keeping the number at constant level of 5,000. “This adjusted lay down requires a re-analysis of certain actions that we decided in the 2010 record of decision now we’re going to be going back and looking at the cantonment which is basically the main side base also looking at the family housing and lastly any and all supporting infrastructure required to bring in marines and set up that base structure,” said Maj. Alvarez.

 The SEIS will also include a new look at the live firing range training complex. The Record of Decision in 2010 identified an area along Rt. 15 including Pagat village as their preferred site. The National Trust for Historic Preservation the Guam Preservation Trust and We Are Guahan filed a lawsuit against this selection and DOD eventually opted to conduct a new EIS on the selection of a firing range using a new method of calculating the area in which stray bullets can land an area they call the surface danger zone. “We had to definitely open this process up one more time to properly look realistically we did not look at certain areas simply because they wouldn’t fit the marines the range wouldn’t fit that present or past way that we were figuring out the range. So with all these that’s why we’ve really opened this process up we just wanted to take a better look,” said Maj. Alvarez.

The SEIS will not be nearly as big in scope as the first EIS that was conducted. In fact the SEIS will rely on and use a lot of information in the former study. “Now some actions as I briefed in the beginning some actions from the 2010 Record of Decision still remain in place so we will not analyze them in the SEIS, the Tinian training the ACE that’s gonna be at Andersen Air Force base the non live fire training at Andersen South and the Apra harbor wharf improvements many of those projects that are still in place are gonna continue forward,” explained Maj. Alvarez.

 Alvarez says the goal is still to keep the marines living areas and training areas as close together as possible. If all goes well Alvarez says they could conceivably turn dirt as soon as the Record of Decision is signed in 2015.  

READ the reklease from Senator Guthertz below:

October 22, 2012

The Committee on the Guam Military Buildup and Homeland Security, chaired by Senator Judi Guthertz, heard Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo urge strong local participation in commenting on the Supplemental Environmental Impact Study (SEIS) on locations for a Marine base, firing range and housing location.

Speaking before the Buildup committee, Del. Bordallo urged that every resident of Guam register an opinion on the plans and also said that if possible, she would like to see the 2015 date for the Record of Decision on the projects and plans moved up.

The briefing also was attended by the new Joint Guam Program Office Director, Navy Captain Philip Old and Japan Consul-General Hisatsugu Shimizu; it was presented by JGPO’s Deputy Director Major Darren Alvarez and Randy Sablan, joined by Mark Calvo, Director of the Governor’s Office on the Guam Military Buildup.

The briefing will be replayed on Channel 13 on MCV and Channel 21 on GudTV, Tuesday and Thursday nights at 7 p.m. and 12 noon Saturday on both channels.

“We want to ensure the great possible exposure to information as the Guam public starts making its comments,” Senator Guthertz said. “We want to ensure that the best locations for Marine training, housing and administration are chosen.”

Senator Guthertz said that her office will host a reading room for members of the public who want to review SEIS documents while the study is being carried out. Members of the Senator’s staff will be available to answer any questions that arise.