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Back Local News Military bullish on Guam, wary of spending cuts

Military bullish on Guam, wary of spending cuts

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GEN. James Amos, commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, and Adm. Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations, on Tuesday each told Guam Delegate Madeleine Z. Bordallo that they were “bullish” on Guam. They, and Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, were testifying during a full committee hearing of the House Armed Services Committee on the posture and fiscal year 2014 budget of the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps.

However, Amos also warned about the impact of the mandated massive federal spending cutbacks known as sequestration. “[Sequestration] is going to slow down the transition to Guam,” he said. “It absolutely has to. It’s going to slow down military construction money. It will slow it down, but we are still committed to go to Guam and I’m bullish on it.”

Amos also pointed out that the Marines are currently operating in Guam, despite the fact that there are no Marine facilities on the island. An infantry rifle is presently on Guam, F-18 fighter jet squadrons from Iwakuni, Japan have trained here, and forces have “operated out of Tinian,” he said. “We’re trying to climatize ourselves there.”

Bordallo told Greenert she remains “greatly concerned about the number of [Military Sealift Command] and Navy ships that are sent abroad for repairs,” instead of being repaired at American shipyards. Greenert assured Bordallo he was committed to the letter and the spirit of the Repair American law. He also assured her that he was committed to ship repair capacity on Guam.

“I’m real bullish ... on depot repair capabilities on Guam,” he said. He showed Bordallo a chart of the region and pointed out Guam’s location. “It’s right in the middle of all of it, so we have to have a repair and refurbish [facility]. It’s a base and a place, and a key to my strategy.”

Mabus also addressed the Marine relocation. “Consistent with the [National Defense Authorization Act] and the restrictions that were put in there, we’re doing military construction particularly for Marine Air in Guam,” he said. The supplemental environmental impact study is to be completed in 2015, he noted. “We are marching ahead with the plan to relocate Marines from Okinawa to Guam.”

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