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House passes 2012 NDAA

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by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - Congress has officially pushed the pause button on the Department of Defense plans for the Guam realignment. $33 million cut, a freeze in further funding, and a study that will now be conducted to determine the military's force posture in our region. The final results of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act passed by the House today.

Prior to the vote Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo put up a fight on the floor calling on her colleagues to put their money where the mouth is.

"I Am deeply concerned about this bill because there are constant talk in this chamber about recognizing the importance of the Asia pacific region and now we are going in the opposite direction. People discuss their concerns about the potential threats posed by both china and North Korea, yet, when this country and this administration asks the congress to act in our best national interest, to realign forces in the pacific we blink. We are all talk and no action on this very important issue," she said.

Soon after the conference report was out on the NDAA reducing and freezing funding for the Guam realignment, Japan media began reporting the government there was looking to sharply cut expenses for the Marines' relocation from Okinawa to Guam. The Wall Street Journal followed up with a report today, stating the significance of this week's moves on Capitol Hill marked the first serious sign that the American commitment to the relocation may be waning.

On the floor Bordallo urged Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda to stay the course, saying, "It is important for our partners in Japan to continue the progress they are making to begin construction of a replacement facility for Fatima in northern Okinawa."

The Futenama Replacement Facility has long been the center of contention for Okinawans who want the Marine air base moved off the island altogether. In a GAP report first issued in 2007, the FRF was key to the Department of Defense plan's for realignment, without its completion the move could not go forward.  Concerns over the SRF, funding and DOD's failure to submit a master plan on the Guam realignment were among the reasons senators such as Carl Levin, Jim Webb and John McCain moved to freeze funding for the Guam buildup.

The 2012 NDAA was passed by a vote of 283-186.

The measure heads to the Senate and then President Barack Obama where reports indicate he'll likely sign it after language was amended related to allowing the U.S. military to arrest and indefinitely detain alleged terrorists caught on American soil.

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