Saipan – The National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2014 was signed into law by President Barack Obama last Thursday, and it includes a provision earmarking $29 million for the development of a U.S. Air Force divert airfield in the CNMI.
The Saipan Tribune reports that CNMI delegate Gregorio Kilili Sablan worked with the U.S. House Armed Services Committee to place some limits on the Air Force, because there is still a question about where to put this facility: on Tinian or Saipan.
The new law also requires the Pentagon to report to Congress by June 25 the feasibility of having a National Guard in the CNMI and American Samoa.
The defense bill also includes almost $495 million in spending for military construction projects in Guam.
The divert airfield is intended to be an alternative landing base for Air Force planes if Andersen Air Force Base in Guam becomes unavailable because of weather or war.