Sunday, November 8, 2009

DoD Military Realignment from Okinawa to Guam Creates Opportunities and Challenges

The Department of Defense (DoD) is finalizing the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for the relocation of U.S. military resources from Okinawa to Guam. DoD plans to increase its military presence in Guam from about 15,000 in 2009 to more than 39,000 by 2020 at a cost of more than $13 billion. GAO-10-72 October 14, 2009.

The Navy estimates that annual construction spending of $1 billion would require about 5,000 to 10,000 workers and that at its maximum the workforce could consist of 20,000 construction workers. The DoD has estimated more than 1,600 permanent civilian jobs will be needed. See Id.

According to the NEPA Scoping Meeting Summary Report for the project, the realignment will include:
  • relocation of Command, Air, Ground, and Logistics units (which includes approximately 8,000 service members and 9,000 family members);
  • relocation of Marines units, including operations, training, and infrastructure changes;
  • enhancement of the infrastructure, logistic capabilities and improve pier/waterfront facilities to support transient nuclear aircraft carrier berthing at Naval Base Guam; and
  • placement of a ballistic missile defense task force (approximately 630 service members and 950 family members).
Based on the Scoping Report, one can expect that the DEIS will address, among other things, the following issues:
  • infrastructure (water, wastewater, solid waste, electrical) capacity;
  • socioeconomic issues (economic benefits, effects on Chamorro culture, effects on statehood initiatives, private property issues, construction capacity, housing, public safety, and recreation/access issue);
  • extent of military partnership with Government of Guam to coordinate infrastructure improvements that benefit both civilian and military communities;
  • transportation impacts;
  • impacts on natural resources (terrestrial and marine ecosystems, wildlife, and marine mammals); and
  • ability to implement the construction needed for the buildup.
The DEIS will be posted on November 20, 2009 on DoD's Guam Build-up Environmental Impact Statement Web.

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