Buildup funding scrapped from Senate's NDAA - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Buildup funding scrapped from Senate's NDAA

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by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - Another blow to the Guam buildup, as funding for the military buildup scrapped from the Senate's version of the proposed 2012 National Defense Authorization Act. Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee Carl Levin and Senator John McCain continued their verbal assault against funding for the Guam military buildup.

Levin said, "In particular, the bill prohibits the expenditure of funds for Marine Corps realignment from Okinawa to Guam until we receive an updated force lay down and a master plan detailing construction costs and schedule of all projects necessary to carry it out. On the Senate floor he argued the DoD's plans for Okinawa, Guam and Korea were developed years ago in a different fiscal environment and are projected to cost billions of dollars more than anticipated.

"At the time of tight budgets, we owe it to the Department of Defense and to the taxpayers to insist on a close examination strong justification before we proceed," noted Levin, with McCain adding, "Forward presence at much less, let's face it - we simply are at a level that we cannot afford under the present plan."

Like Senator Levin, Senator McCain also said more justification is needed and believes Congress should convene a special commission of experts in Asian affairs with multilateral input to review the United States' national security interest in the Pacific region over the next 30 years - a review McCain believes should include what he says constitutes unnecessary spending.

He said, "Such as the purchase of civilian school buses and, an artifact repository and mental health clinic in Guam. These projects may have legitimate value to the Government of Guam to address current needs for the citizens of Guam. They simply are not my idea of top defense priorities in the fiscal environment we face."

The Senate's version of the proposed 2012 NDAA does not fund $33 million in validated socioeconomic projects identified by the Government of Guam and the Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment. The bill also removes, without providing justification, funding for three air force construction projects related to the Guam Strike Program at Andersen Air Force Base.

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