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By Raymond A. Martinez

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Jan. 30, 2008) – The "warm base" plan for Tinian was one of the issues discussed by lawmakers during yesterday’s briefing conducted by Roy Tsutsui, the U.S. Department of Defense representative.

According to Tsutsui, retired Maj. Gen. David Bice, director of the Guam project office, first used the term "warm base" in connection with the proposal to build structures and facilities on Tinian for U.S. military purposes.

At least two-thirds of Tinian’s land is leased to the military.

The "warm base," Tsutsui said, refers to the presence of a military base manned by personnel.

He said the base would have facilities and structures.

"I would use the term ‘contingency base’ to describe it," he said, but added that "no permanent, large structures will be constructed."

"It will have all the requirements of a base — there will be a place for personnel to sleep and an area for repairs and maintenance, but the only units that are going to stay there are the contractors that will maintain the place," Tsutsui said.

Rep. Stanley T. Torres, R-Saipan, inquired about the financial requirements in the construction of the warm base.

Tsutsui said nothing is still definite, as the proposal to construct a warm base on Tinian still has to be discussed by the CNMI government and the U.S. military.

But he said although the structures will not be permanent, they still have to meet U.S. engineering standards that factor in earthquakes, typhoons and other possible disasters.

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