Federal Study On National Guard For Am. Samao, CNMI On Hold

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Questions remain about who has authority to conduct research

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, Feb 23, 2014) - The federal study on the feasibility of setting up a National Guard Unit in American Samoa has been held up until a determination is made as to who has jurisdiction over such a study, according to a news release last Friday from Governor’s Office saying that a National Guard official has stepped forward to help American Samoa.

The federal "National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014" signed into law last December by U.S. President Barack Obama, includes a provision for the U.S. Defense Department to conduct a feasibility study with the results to be available next year, regarding the establishment of National Guard units in American Samoa and CNMI - the only U.S. jurisdictions without units.

The provision on American Samoa was authored and pushed by Congressman Faleomavaega Eni with full support of Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga.

In the news release Lolo announced that U.S. Air Force National Guard Col. Robert ‘Randy’ Huston has offered to help him and Faleomavaega pursue their joint desire for a unit in American Samoa.

However, "the issue of jurisdiction regarding the performance of this feasibility study remains to be determined," the release says, adding that Defense Department has until June 24 this year to complete the study for submission to the U.S. Congress, but again, the "process is currently stymied at the Department of Defense because jurisdiction has not been determined."

(There were no other details in the news release regarding the jurisdiction issue)

Huston contacted the governor last year expressing his interest in participating in the process of setting up a local unit and since then Huston "has been working diligently to follow the process since legislation to compel the study was enacted by Congress," the news release says.

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