Guam Buildup Announcement May Be Delayed Past Weekend

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Budget revisions, personnel changes may be revealed

By Brett Kelman

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, April 27, 2012) – A buildup announcement that was expected Wednesday was delayed to allow military leaders more time to meet with members of Congress, but the announcement shouldn't be withheld for more than a few days.

Both Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo and government of Guam Buildup Director Mark Calvo said yesterday that it was a letter from Sens. John McCain, Carl Levin and Jim Webb that pushed back the buildup announcement.

Highly placed military leaders responded to the letter by meeting with the senators on Wednesday in Washington, D.C., according to a notice sent to the governor's office, Calvo explained. Whatever the buildup announcement says, the military needs congressional support to fund the plan, Calvo explained.

"Congress kept reminding them that they have final say," Calvo said. "So they are meeting, I guess, to assure them that the plans are being worked out."

Calvo said he believes the buildup announcement will detail newly negotiated funding agreement between the United States and Japan. It is also unclear when the announcement will be released, but Calvo said he believes the statement will come no later than Monday, when the prime minister of Japan is scheduled to meet with senior officials during a trip to Washington.

Some international news organizations have reported that the buildup announcement could change the number of Marines coming to Guam, but Calvo doesn't think that is the case.

The latest Marine number from the federal government is 4,700 Marines to Guam, Calvo said, and the local government has received no information that would lead them to believe otherwise.

Any revised number of Marines wouldn't be final anyway, Calvo said, because Congress is still waiting for an independent, civilian study of the preferred force positioning in the Pacific.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies gave preliminary findings to Congress last week, and another installment in the study is due by the end of June, Calvo said. The number of Marines moving to Guam won't be final until this study is done, Calvo said.

Also, a draft master plan for the Guam buildup is due to Congress sometime this summer, Calvo said. This plan should include hard figures for Marine numbers, timelines and funding contributions.

Bordallo

In a statement released yesterday morning, Bordallo said the delay was a "temporary" setback that was the result of "second-guessing" from the Senate.

McCain, Levin and Webb have been highly critical of the original buildup plan, and Bordallo has previously criticized the senators for withholding buildup funding.

"It is important to move forward with the buildup, and this delay is another challenge we face as we try to move forward with the realignment," Bordallo said in her press release.

"I would caution the Senate to tread carefully on issues that are within the jurisdiction of the Japanese government and that are more appropriate for them to answer due to their own domestic politics. We must not lose focus on the greater goal of these realignments that are driven by an Asia-Pacific strategy that will ensure our national security and the security of our ally, Japan."

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