White House plans to curtail buildup on Guam - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

White House plans to curtail buildup on Guam

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by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - Following Japanese media reports, Bloomberg Media is now reporting that the Obama Administration intends to curtail a plan to expand the U.S. military's presence in Guam and will instead rotate some of the U.S. Marines through the Asia-Pacific Region.  The article said the information was coming through sources who did not want to be identified because the plan has yet to be announced. 

The article quotes Defense Department spokesperson Commander Leslie Hull-Ryde, who said the Pentagon considers Guam "an essential part of our larger Asia-Pacific strategy. We are committed to developing Guam as a strategic hub and to establishing an operational Marine Corps' presence on Guam by relocating some Marines from Okinawa to Guam."  Hull-Ryde added that the department recognizes the budget realities in Washington as well as the environmental challenges on Guam that requires the DoD to consider options that will fulfill their regional commitments most efficiently and effectively.

It's reported that the Obama Administration's plans are now to send about 4,500 Marines to Guam and to rotate an additional 4,000 through Australia, Subic Bay and Hawaii.

The plan comes after Senate members expressed significant opposition to the cost of the buildup and questioned why a master plan had not been submitted.

Governor Eddie Calvo meanwhile responded to the  Bloomberg report saying Guam has an interesting history with the marines and although some in Congress are concerned over the budget of the total realignment in the region, he hopes officials in our nation's capitol understand why the defense department needs to move forward with the buildup and its preferred laydown in Guam saying, "Guam is at America's westernmost frontier. We are the closest U.S. community to the fastest-growing region in the world. China, Japan, South Korea, North Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia are all within three to five hours flight distance."

He notes how discussions of other areas for alternative lay down sites such as Hawaii would take much longer for the Marines to respond to a threat against the U.S. in Asia and the Philippines whose constitution forbids foreign bases. He goes on to say, "I imagine that both those rumored alternatives will be more costly than the preferred buildup in Guam, one way or another. Guam is the perfect place for the buildup. We are a U.S. community. We are the closest U.S. community to Asia. We are very patriotic citizens. And unlike many foreign countries and even some U.S. communities, we welcome an increased military presence."

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