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Status Report: The Guam Military Buildup

The relocation of roughly 8,000 U.S. Marines and their dependents from the Japanese island of Okinawa has been called the largest and most expensive military program ever.


A casual look at a map of the Pacific region reveals the important strategic position of Guam in relation to the defense posture of the United States. As the westernmost territory of the U.S., Guam offers the advantage of time and position in response to any military threat or natural disaster requiring humanitarian assistance in the western Pacific. Military planners must consider threats of the future to be different from anything experienced in the history of the nation. Our Asian neighbors are becoming strong both economically as well as militarily, and shifts in leadership or ideology in the years ahead have the potential of causing great harm to our friends in the region and to ourselves. To remain strategically engaged with our Pacific Rim neighbors, the U.S. must maintain a credible military presence and be prepared for any threat that might emerge. The United States has military bases in a number of Asian nations, and some military actions require the prior approval of the host nation. This requirement, under certain circumstances, can be an unacceptable detriment. However, because the island has been a U.S. territory since the conclusion of the SpanishAmerican War in 1898, restrictions of this type do not exist in the case of Guam. Military planners from the U.S. and Japan in 2005 launched the Defense Policy Review Initiative (DPRI), which eventually led to a military buildup on Guam. A key element of the DPRI was the need to shut down or reduce the tempo of military activity at the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Japan, located in Ginowan, the current principal city of Okinawa. Commercial activity has developed around the The Military Engineer · No. 672

The construction of a Joint Region Marianas headquarters facility for the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Army is one of many projects included in the Guam buildup program that have already been completed.


perimeter of the base, and it has become over crowded. The plan calls for relocating approximately 8,000 Marines and their 9,000 dependents to Guam and for the relocation of the remaining Marines to Fort Schwab, located in a less populated area to the northeast. The cost of relocating elements of the Marine Corps from Okinawa to Guam is estimated to be $10.2 billion, of which the Japanese government has agreed to fund about 59 percent. Funding for the relocation of the remaining Marine Corps elements to another location in Okinawa is to be borne fully by the Japanese government. The agreement was signed for the American side in May 2006 by Richard P. Lawless, Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Affairs, and ratified in February 2010 by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her Japanese counterpart. In addition to relocating Marines from Okinawa, the Guam military buildup comprises other aspects including strengthening the capability of the U.S. Air

Force at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, expanding and improving shore facilities at U.S. Naval Base Guam, providing training and other facilities for the Submarine Squadron, establishing a transient nuclear aircraft carrier berthing facility, replacing U.S. Naval Hospital Guam, and standing up an Army air defense capability, among others. The overall expenditure for the military buildup has thus grown to about $20 billion. The Guam military buildup has been called the largest and most expensive military program ever. The preparation of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which was carried out by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) and contractor personnel, required approximately two years to complete. The draft EIS was issued in November 2009 and the final EIS was issued in July 2010. The Record of Decision, signed by Jackalyne Pfannenstiel, Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Energy, Installations





& Environment), in September 2010, was intended to trigger the start of construction on FY2010 and FY2011 projects. However, DPRI projects were not permitted to proceed until March 2011, when a Programmatic Agreement covering DPRI projects with the State Historic and Preservation Office was signed. The starts of several other approved projects are being delayed pending reconfiguration to allow building within a smaller footprint.

NAVFAC made an early decision that most projects included in the Guam relocation program would be constructed using the design-build method of delivery. NAVFAC also decided for sake of efficiency in the procurement process to use multiple-award construction contracts (MACC). Thus the term DB MACC has come into common usage by those involved in the Guam military buildup. A number of construction contractors with their design teams have become pre-qualified through competition as DB-MACC firms. The competition was based on usual parameters employed by NAVFAC and price for one or more "seed projects." The DB MACC firms will compete for individual task orders based on price alone, as technical competence has already been established. MACCs that will be used to procure services for the Guam buildup include the following: · HUBZone DB MACC, amounting to $400 million over five years. Nine firms selected. · Small Business MACC, amounting to $500 million, with projects ranging from $1 million to $15 million. Six firms selected. · 8(a) MACC, amounting to $100 million. Six firms selected. · Unrestricted DB MACC, MACC contracts amounting to $4 billion over five years. Individual task orders will range from $15 million to $300 million. Eight firms selected. A number of design-build contracts and design-bid-build contracts are expected to be awarded to firms other than the DB MACC firms.



A program of this magnitude can be expected to encounter challenges. Some have already emerged. For instance, a vocal minority of Guam's citizens is opposed to the military buildup. These well-intentioned individuals oppose the changes, and their "not in my back yard" attitude is the same as can be expected in any community. The silent majority, those in the local community who favor the military buildup, see a great boost to the local economy as a direct result of the military buildup. The economic stimulus will place more tax revenue in the coffers of the government of Guam and lead to a much improved social and cultural well being for all Guam residents. In Japan, a large number of Okinawa's citizens and officials of the local government oppose the relocation of Marines from Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to another location in the area and would prefer all Marines to leave the island. Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates had stated that without a resolution to the Futenma issue, there could be no partial relocation of Marines to Guam. The Japanese Prime Minister and his government has agreed to follow the plan as originally conceived and convince the people of Okinawa to accept it as being in their national interest. Complicating matters in Japan, the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami generated a disaster of enormous proportion in the country's northeast section. The recovery mission will require enormous resources and expense, and some American officials have feared that this tragic event would derail the Guam buildup program. Nevertheless, Japanese officials have thus far expressed their opinion that the military realignment will occur simultaneously with the disaster recovery. Lastly, the weakened American economy could possibly derail the Guam military buildup or curtail certain parts of it. There is a mood in Washington today to cut cost wherever possible, including military budgets. Senators of both political parties have spoken out in favor of altering the program for Guam as set forth in the final EIS as a means of reducing deficit spend-


The repair and upgrade of the north and south runways at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, is one of many projects included in the Guam buildup program that have already been completed.

ing. This will play out over the months ahead in the debate over the Armed Services Authorization Act for 2012. A number of buildup projects have been completed over the past few years, including upgraded runways and new climate-controlled hangars at Andersen Air Force base, a new Joint Region Marianas Headquarters facility, upgraded wharves at Apra Harbor and new family housing and bachelor-enlisted quarters at Naval Base Guam. Among the projects currently underway are a new substation and power distribution system and a ramp apron and taxiway at Andersen Air Force Base and additional family housing facilities at Naval Base Guam. Projects in the President's Budget for FY 2012, subject to congressional approval, amount to $368 million. This is greatly reduced from original projections. The program as originally announced in 2006 anticipated relocation of Marine Corps elements to Guam starting in 2014. The pace of construction has, however, been slowed in recognition of the need to allow local Guam infrastructure to keep pace with or stay in front of military construction.


John M, Robertson, P.E., M.SAME, is Principal Engineer, AmOrient Engineering; 671-4723301 or [email protected] .

The Military Engineer · July-August · 2011


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