by Mindy Aguon
Guam - In a statement to the Senate, the Obama Administration - specifically the Executive Office of the President Office of Management and Budget - has asked the Senate to reconsider its position on a number of restrictions to the Department of Defense proposed in the Fiscal Year 2011 National Defense Authorization Act. This includes a reduction in funding for Guam basing.
In the letter, the Administration supports the Senate passage of the NDAA but expressed concern with the $320 million reduction in funding for Navy construction in Guam. The letter stated, "The Administration is committed to addressing the needs in Guam (both on base and off) to allow for the realignment of Marines and their families from Japan. That effort requires a comprehensive government-wide approach."
The White House stressed that deferral of funding requirements into future years or cuts in the program would result in an increase to the total cost of the realignment to the U.S. While other areas such as Defense Weather Satellites and incremental and full funding were also sought to be reconsidered, there was no mention made of the inclusion of the Guam World War II Loyalty Recognition Act that was included in the Congressional version of the bill.
War reparations for survivors of the Japanese occupation on Guam have long been a point of contention with members of the Senate who have effectively blocked the passage for years. Opposition for war reparations has come from ranking members of the Senate Armed Services Committee chaired by Michigan senator Carl Levin. Despite various petition efforts and testimony provided by survivors of the Japanese occupation on Guam, the provision has not yet met the approval of the committee.