Obama Administration Concerned about Senate's Version of NDAA - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Obama Administration Concerned about Senate's Version of NDAA

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by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - As the Senate begins deliberating on its version of the proposed National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014, the Obama Administration submitted a statement outlining their concerns with the measure.

Specifically related to Guam "The Statement of Administration Policy" expressed concerns regarding a section of the Senate's NDAA which would limit funding for the Marines Realignment from Okinawa to Guam.

Here's the statement related to Guam in its entirety:

 

Realignment of Marines Corps Forces in Asia

Pacific Region

 

 

The Administration strongly objects to the limitations imposed by section 2821 on the obligation of funds for the realignment  of U.S. Marine Corps units from Okinawa to Guam and Hawaii, a goal to which successive  Administrations have remained steadfastly committed since 2006. A key aspect of the Asia Pacific rebalance is to create a more operationally resilient Marine Corps presence in the Pacific  and invest in Guam as a joint strategic hub. By preventing the timely obligation of United States and Government of Japan funds to implement this realignment, section 2821 would unnecessarily restrict the ability and flexibility of the President to execute our foreign and defense policies in coordination with our ally, Japan, and undermines a key component of the broader U.S. strategy in the Asia Pacific region. Further, the Administration has serious concerns regarding the section 2821 restrictions on the development of public infrastructure on Guam, and the lack of authorization for a military construction project (aircraft hangar) that would directly support the realignment. These actions would raise questions among regional  states about the reliability of the United States security commitments to allies in the region.

 

Here is the text of Sec. 2821:

 

SEC. 2821. REALIGNMENT OF MARINES CORPS FORCES IN ASIA-PACIFIC REGION.

(a) Restriction on Use of Funds- Except as provided in subsection (c), none of the funds authorized to be appropriated under this Act, and none of the amounts provided by the Government of Japan for construction activities on land under the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense, may be obligated to implement the realignment of Marine Corps forces from Okinawa to Guam or Hawaii until each of the following occurs:

(1) The Commander of the United States Pacific Command provides to the congressional defense committees an assessment of the strategic and logistical resources needed to ensure the distributed lay-down of members of the Marine Corps in the United States Pacific Command Area of Responsibility meets the contingency operations plans.

(2) The Secretary of Defense submits to the congressional defense committees master plans for the construction of facilities and infrastructure to execute the Marine Corps distributed lay-down on Guam and Hawaii, including a detailed description of costs and the schedule for such construction.

(3) The Secretary of the Navy submits a plan to the congressional defense committees detailing the proposed investments and schedules required to restore facilities and infrastructure at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.

(4) A plan coordinated by all pertinent Federal agencies is provided to the congressional defense committees detailing descriptions of work, costs, and a schedule for completion of construction, improvements, and repairs to the non-military utilities, facilities, and infrastructure, if any, on Guam affected by the realignment of forces.

(b) Restriction on Development of Public Infrastructure- If the Secretary of Defense determines that any grant, cooperative agreement, transfer of funds to another Federal agency, or supplement of funds available in fiscal year 2014 under Federal programs administered by agencies other than the Department of Defense will result in the development (including repair, replacement, renovation, conversion, improvement, expansion, acquisition, or construction) of public infrastructure on Guam, the Secretary of Defense may not carry out such grant, transfer, cooperative agreement, or supplemental funding unless such grant, transfer, cooperative agreement, or supplemental funding is specifically authorized by law.

(c) Exceptions to Restriction on Use of Funds- The Secretary of Defense may use funds described in subsection (a)--

(1) to complete additional analysis or studies required under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) for proposed actions on Guam or Hawaii;

(2) to initiate planning and design of construction projects at Andersen Air Force Base and Andersen South; and

(3) to carry out any military construction project for which an authorization of appropriations is provided in section 2204, as specified in the funding table in section 4601.

(d) Definitions- In this section:

(1) DISTRIBUTED LAY-DOWN- The term `distributed lay-down' refers to the planned distribution of members of the Marine Corps in Okinawa, Guam, Hawaii, Australia, and possibly elsewhere that is contemplated in support of the joint statement of the United States-Japan Security Consultative Committee issued April 26, 2012, in the District of Columbia (April 27, 2012, in Tokyo).

(2) PUBLIC INFRASTRUCTURE- The term `public infrastructure' means any utility, method of transportation, item of equipment, or facility under the control of a public entity or State or local government that is used by, or constructed for the benefit of, the general public.

 

It was in June the House passed its version of the FY14 NDAA. Its version included $494.6 million in military construction projects for Guam and authorized $119.4 million for civilian infrastructure needs in Guam. The House version also removed the current restriction to use government of Japan funds for the military buildup in Guam.

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