Guam - David Bice has basically been the face of the military buildup, taking the heat for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, its subsequent Final version and most recently the controversial signing of the Record of Decision.  But come New Year's, island residents will see a new person heading up the Joint Guam Program Office.

Bice in a statement said that leading the planning effort has been a rewarding and challenging endeavor. He also noted that he appreciated the opportunity to work closely with leaders in Guam and in the CNMI, along with members of the community, federal agency partners and the government of Japan to identify issues and develop innovative solutions. 

He added, "While there is still much work to do to successfully execute the Marine relocation, I am proud of our progress to date and am confident that all parties will continue to work together to achieve our shared vision for a prosperous community for the people of Guam and our military families."

Reacting to the change of leadership, Senator Judi Guthertz, chairperson of the Legislative Committee on the Guam Military Buildup, told KUAM News, "I've heard through the grapevine that he was going to be leaving, so I am not surprised about that.  There has been some discussion in the community that he was going to be leaving.

"As an individual person he is very engaging personable man, I enjoyed knowing him here.  During his trips here visiting in his official capacity he was mission-oriented.  His marching orders was to get this buildup going get this NEPA law complied with and DEIS out, FEIS the Record of Decision out he met his responsibility the DoD and the Department of the Navy."

Named as Bice's replacement is Joe Ludovici, who has been with JGPO since 2006.  He's served in the Navy's Civil Engineer Corps for 25 years, including a tour as the commanding officer of the Public Works Center on Guam.

The Office of the Governor released a statement regarding Bice's decision to step down, writing, "The Government of Guam appreciates the work done by Mr. Bice, who has served alongside us these past three years. We commend his service to our island and our people and wish him well in his next endeavor. Despite changes in leadership it remains our responsibility, as well as those who assume leadership positions in the future, to continue to diligently navigate the complex issues surrounding the buildup and shape what it will mean for our people. We now look forward to working with JGPO Director Joe Ludovici in his new capacity as executive director."