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Back Local News GMBO director Calvo assures buildup will happen

GMBO director Calvo assures buildup will happen

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SHIFTS in plans for the military buildup have created a lot of uncertainty for the island, but Guam Military Buildup Office Director Mark Calvo assures that the buildup is going to happen – though on a smaller scale.

Calvo spoke to members of the Rotary Club of Northern Guam during their monthly meeting held yesterday at the Hyatt Regency. He provided an overview of the military buildup as well as general updates on progress to date.

According to Calvo, the program “reset” for the buildup resulted in a smaller number of U.S Marines coming to Guam. He said approximately 4,700 Marines are to be relocated from Okinawa, Japan to Guam. However, that number has yet to be confirmed by the U.S. Congress.

Calvo also spoke about how the U.S. Navy is considering another environmental impact study, or EIS, for the new numbers being considered as a result of the negotiations between the governments of the U.S. and Japan. Calvo stated the EIS may take two to three years to complete, which may potentially prolong the buildup.

“That information was formally made known to us during some congressional hearings that were held last week,” said Calvo of the announcement from a high-ranking military buildup official. “Jackalyne Pfannenstiel, during congressional hearings, indicated to Congress that with the new numbers ... with the new scope ... the Navy may have to begin a new EIS.”

During a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington D.C. last week, Pfannenstiel, an assistant secretary of the Navy, told lawmakers that the buildup would likely need a new EIS once a new agreement has been reached between the U.S. and Japan on the Guam military buildup.

So while numbers are still in the air as the U.S. and Japan continue negotiations, Calvo roughly estimates that peak construction for the military buildup could begin in 2017, based on the information his office has been given.

“It continues to remain fluid because funding commitments from the governments of Japan and the U.S. are still being negotiated,” Calvo stated. “The most important thing we’ve learned is the situation on the buildup and the final resolution is hard to predict until the U.S. and Japan commits.”

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