Challenges face air defense task force - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Challenges face air defense task force

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by Janjeera Hail

As part of Guam's planned military buildup, the army is planning on installing an air missile defense task force on Guam - a system that promises to protect our island from enemies of the United States.  But with that security comes added costs, as the Army Air Missile Defense Task Force has much work ahead.

In order to support THAAD, Patriot, and Avenger/SLAMRAAM missiles, the Army Air Missile Defense Task Force will need to construct about 28 acres (or more than 21 football fields) worth of facilities, not including munitions storage and weapons storage.  The Draft Environmental Impact Statement outlines three possible sites for most of the facilities. 

The preferred alternative is to have the headquarters, maintenance facilities, housing, recreational activities and quality of life facilities all co-located with Marine Corps facilities on the eastern portion of NCTS Finegayan. The second alternative is to have all those facilities within Navy Barrigada, next to the NCTS Antenna Farms. And the third alternative would be to have the headquarters and maintenance facilities co-located with Marine Corps facilities at NCTS Finegayan and to put housing, recreational activities and quality of life facilities at Navy Barrigada.

The military is planning on storing the munitions on Andersen Air Force Base, in eight new climate-controlled, earth-covered magazines.  The ammunition required for such powerful missiles is highly sensitive which means that, in addition to the actual space that they'll take up, the storage site will also require an explosive safety quantity distance arc - in other words, a space of up to 1,250 feet (nearly a quarter-mile) distance between each magazine and any inhabited building, public assembly area or Department of Defense boundary to minimize the explosive safety hazard.

On the bright side, according to the Draft EIS, all of the proposed sites sit on land that is already military-owned, so DoD won't need to purchase more land.

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