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Sifting through the Draft EIS

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by John Davis

Guam - As I continue to read and review the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, I continue to find unclear language that is a cause for concern.  Today, let's talk about the DEIS VOLUME 4.  Volume 4 explains the need, purpose and impacts of constructing a deep-draft wharf to support an aircraft carrier and Carrier Strike Group.

The purpose and need for the deep-draft wharf is to allow the Navy the ability to locate military forces to meet international agreements and treaty requirements to fulfill U.S. National security requirements to provide mutual defense, deter aggression and dissuade coercion in the Western pacific Region.  Satisfying those requirements also include positioning forces to defend the homeland, including U.S. Territories and provide a location with a timely response range.  This is probably why Guam is referred to by the Federal Government as the "Tip of the spear." However; I have a different opinion to why our island is referred to as the U.S. Military's Tip of the spear in the region.  For example, if the Department of defense were as business and it was looking to branch out in our region, despite the fact they have satellite offices (military bases) all over the globe, Guam would be the best location to engage, show presence and deter aggression in the western pacific region.

With the prime location for the increase in U.S. Military presence already determined, let's focus on more DEIS language that raises more cause for concern.  Allowing visiting and transient aircraft carriers and carrier strike groups to move freely through Guam and international waters throughout the region attempts to maintain regional stability, peace and security.  Another goal of being able to support aircraft carriers and CSG's is to provide a powerful U.S. presence within the Western Pacific Region.  Will the military only focus on beefing up the Western Pacific region?  If the U.S. Military will only focus on increasing strength in the western pacific region with a population of billions of people, what about the millions of people living in the Atlantic Region?

According to DOD, the global perspective is to have aircraft carriers deployed world wide to support U.S. interests and commitments.  On the other hand, I say DOD's DEIS is full of non-commitment.  We have not received any guarantees related to cost sharing measures to fund the military buildup.  In fact, the only commitment Guam has received from the U.S. military is that there will be 8 thousand Marines and about 72 thousand other support personnel on Guam by 2014.  What OTHER U.S. interest requires a deep-berthing wharf for an aircraft carrier and strike group other than the war on terror?  Is Guam under threat from China, North Korea, Russia, Malaysia or the Republic of the Philippines?  I'm sure our people would like to know what kind of ride they're in for.

Furthermore, the DEIS states the employment of a CSG is integral to supporting U.S. interests and meeting treaty and alliance requirements globally and nationally.  More gray area if you ask me.  What the DEIS doesn't spell out is whether or not there is a risk for the U.S. to be in violation of a particular treaty?  What about an alliance internationally or is the U.S. at risk of violating national interests?  If not, why not build up Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands or American Samoa?  With respect to global interests, why not have this buildup somewhere else around the globe, why does it have to be Guam?  Is it because we as a people have not determined our political status? I think so, but it would be nice if the DOD admitted it.

After the construction of a deep-berthing wharf, the DEIS indicates the Aircraft Carriers mission will be to provide credible, sustainable, independent presence and conventional deterrence during peace time.  What I would like the DOD to indicate is whether or not the Western Pacific Region is at peace now.  There are several ongoing conflicts ongoing right now in the Western Pacific Region and other regions around the world.  According to information in the DEIS the aircraft carriers mission is to provide a sustainable, credible presence.  Are there any projections to this buildup ever being downsized?  That would be nice to know too.  Aircraft carriers and CSG's will operate as the cornerstone of JOINT/ALLIED maritime expeditionary forces in times of crisis.  A time of crisis would be now considering the ongoing war on terror.  If the aircraft carriers will serve as the cornerstone of JOINT/ALLIED expeditionary forces, what role will Guam play other than playing host to the U.S. war machine on our native lands?

Aircraft carriers and CSG's will launch and support attacks on enemies, protect friendly forces and engage in sustained independent operations of war.  Who exactly are the "enemies" and what are independent operations of war?

When all is said and done, after all the construction and migration of U.S. military forces to Guam, the navy plans to adjust its force posture and basing to position at least 6 operationally sustainable carriers and 60 percent of its submarines in the pacific to support engagement, presence and deterrence.  I understand these 6 carriers will be able to move around the Western pacific region, pulling in and out of port whenever they please, but can DOD or the navy confirm whether or not at least one aircraft carrier and CSG will call Guam its home port?  If so, then I'm looking forward to an increase in Section 30 Revenues.  On the other hand, aircraft carriers are deemed a sovereign U.S. Territory, which is why I think this is a potential out for DOD not to increase section 30 funding to GovGuam.  I would also like to know if any nuclear submarines will call Guam their home port as well.  If this is true, then how will the Navy or DOD ensure there isn't another radioactive material leak?

When the DOD says "support engagement, presence and deterrence, it that the order of priority? Does the DOD plan to engage enemies before showing presence and deterring engagement?  I would like to think the humanitarian way would be to first show presence, second deter and third and lastly engagement.

Not to worry readers, I'm not quite done reviewing the 400 pages of volume 4, if you've read volume 4 or any other part of the DEIS, chime in, I'd like to read your comments.

The views and opinions expressed in KUAM Columns are not necessarily those of Pacific Telestations, Inc. or its advertisers

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