Report: U.S. Should Modernize Guam Bases To Counter Asian Threats

admin's picture

CSIS says Pacific Command should show strength to potential adversaries

By Gaynor Dumat-ol Daleno

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Jan. 7, 2015) – Congress should be prepared to spend money to modernize U.S. military bases on Guam and elsewhere in the Pacific Command's area of responsibility to show strength to potential adversaries, a new report from a think tank states.

The cost to upgrade military bases on Guam "should be fairly modest," states the new report, "Pivot 2.0 -- How the Administration and Congress can sustain American engagement in Asia to 2016."

The report was released Jan. 5 by the Center for Strategic and International Studies' Asia Program. Several scholars who are part of the Washington, D.C.-based think tank co-wrote the report.

In two years, the United States is likely to see the next series of North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile tests that may demonstrate a new technology threshold, according to the report. The report mentions North Korea's likely development of more accurate ballistic missiles, or nuclear fusion capabilities in two years.

North Korea has mentioned Guam when it made past threats to launch missile attacks, prompting the Pentagon to station a land-based missile defense system on Guam.

The report also calls for a clearer U.S. policy when it comes to China's growing military and economic power.

"One of the greatest areas of inconsistency has been the shifting definition of how the United States will manage China's rising power and influence," the report states. In 2009, the United States declared respect for China's "core interests," but in 2012 listed China as a major security threat alongside Iran, the report states.

Strengthening U.S. ties with South Korea and Japan, the report states, "provides the best environment in which to welcome as well as shape China as a rule-abiding rising power, rather than a revisionist one."

Bipartisan issue

The revised $8.7 billion military buildup plan to move about 5,000 Marines to Guam from Okinawa has been called part of the Obama administration's "pivot," or "rebalance," to shift more military forces into the Asia-Pacific region.

While Congress and the White House are at odds on issues such as immigration reform and Cuba, the United States' Asia policy remains largely bipartisan, the report states.

"It is therefore critical and practical to ask that the White House and the Republican leadership in the Congress chart a common course on policy toward Asia for the next two years," the report states.

Guam delegate

Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo yesterday said she appreciates the findings contained in the report.

"The report underscores the importance of the rebalance strategy and the need for Congress to continue to fund military construction projects in Guam and the Asia-Pacific region," Bordallo said. "This report builds on the progress that we made in the most recent defense authorization bill to support the rebalance strategy and get the Guam buildup back on track," Bordallo said.

Congress recently approved lifting the funding freeze on Guam military buildup projects.

Existing military bases on Guam, which include Andersen Air Force Base, Naval Base Guam in Santa Rita and related installations, already are seeing additional projects.

In the newly signed defense spending bill, Guam provisions include a $162 million military construction spending authorization.

Within that $162 million, two projects worth $50 million combined would pay for the Marines' aviation facilities at the North Ramp area at Andersen.

The entire defense budget would cost $577 billion.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment