HASC Subcommittee on Readiness hearing - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

HASC Subcommittee on Readiness hearing

by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - Guam Congressional Delegate Madeleine Bordallo is working to right the wrongs that were included in last year's National Defense Authorization Act. During today's House Armed Services Subcommittee Markup Hearing on the Fiscal Year 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, Bordallo was successful in getting approval of several of her amendments.

"We also require the Department of Defense to certify that there is a national security requirement to enhance Marine Corps readiness by having a firing range on the island it is important that we get to the bottom of the need for a firing range," she stated.

Some of her other amendments approved include providing DoD with authority to transfer operations and maintenance funding to state and local government including GovGuam and requiring the Navy to establish a lead systems integrator for workforce health care for Guam military construction projects. The LSI would provide a coordinated and comprehensive solution to the healthcare needs of H2-b workers.

But Chairman Buck McKeon read one of the more significant changes that was adopted, saying, "An amendment by Ms. Bordallo concerning the removal of the Navy's voting share in the local Guam Utilities Commission." The provision in last year's NDAA had local leaders fuming. It required the Department of Navy to hold 33% voting representation on the CCU as a condition of transferring its water and waste water assets on Guam to the Government of Guam.

With that amendment out of the way, the congresswoman zeroed-in on the fight for Fena. Her next amendment, which would require the transfer of the Navy's water and waste water utility system to the Government of Guam without consideration of fair market value. She said, "I have belonged believed that the Navy indeed all the military services should be out of the business of running utility systems  and this fixes the problems with last year's bill."

It was Subcommittee on Readiness chairperson Randy Forbes, however, who reserved a point of order against Bordallo's amendment. Due to House rules the amendment was considered an earmark. To avoid the earmark point of order Bordallo withdrew the amendment. As a result the provision leaves in tact the compact impact offset for fair market value included in last year's NDAA. According to Bordallo, all hope is not lost.

She contends that in discussions with the governor and the legislature, local leaders reached a consensus that keeping this compact-impact offset provision could be of value to the territory and helps to make the case for a federal obligation.  We should note that the FY2012 National Defense Authorization Act must still be considered by the House Armed Services full committee on the floor of the House of Representatives.

The proposed 2012 NDAA also includes approximately $367 million in military construction projects for Guam.

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