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Military, media collaborate on communication strategies

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Military public affairs personnel hosted a get-together with local news media to talk about ways to forge a better working relationship. The roundtable discussion at Joint region Marianas headquarters included some subject matter experts, who explained their roles on various key issues such as the environmental and archaeological assessments for the new marine base.

But Guam Defense coordinating officer Roy Tsutsui opened the dialogue by explaining DoD's philosophy for maintaining good military and civilian community relations.

"The key message is that the military focuses on preventing, or properly identifying and addressing, any potential impacts from our presence," he said. "No matter what the footprint is. So, with that, we have done studies and made decisions to ensure that we prevent or properly mitigate and contribute to the economy and to stewardship." 

He said the military population reached its peak after World War II with some 200,000 personnel here compared to just 23,000 civilians. Since then that ratio has drastically been reversed, with the military population hitting a low of about 4,000 in the mid-90s.

"With the buildup that we're all talking about, we're probably going to be around 14,000 active duty, give or take," Tsutsui added. "And the local population may be around 180,000 by then. And so it went from this right after World War II, to this for the buildup." 

Military officials say the ongoing buildup construction will probably peak by around 2023.

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