by Mindy Aguon
Guam - Various government officials provided a briefing to senior level officers from Australia's Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies today. The group received briefings from the Navy, Air Force and the U.S. Marine Corps, and is learning about the challenges the island is facing with the military buildup.
University of Guam Chief Planner David Okada explained that those concerns include the military taking private land, the increase in population in such a short time, and the impacts the buildup will have on our infrastructure and quality of living. "We believe those are normal concerns it's nothing unusual in any culture that this would be happening to," he said. "So we're going through a normal process we understand that. The key here is how do we mitigate all that and to improve a drawdown here that is acceptable to both inside and outside the fence?"
Guam Buildup Director Paul Shintaku says the group that is visiting from the equivalent of a war college, simply wanted to get a community perspective of the buildup as the officers are from various parts of the Asia Pacific Region. "Now that we've seen the Draft Environmental Impact Statement and know what the impacts are, especially through the socio economic analysis study, that we have some concerns and we want to address those with the federal government and we wanted to let the class know so they can understand the balance."