President Bush’s recently drafted defense budget for fiscal 2006, which begins in October, included a number of Navy and Air Force construction projects to continue a building trend at the Air Force and Navy bases on Guam.

Pacific Air Forces Commander Gen. Paul V. Hester told Stars and Stripes last Saturday that Guam has been “for nearly three decades or so in a semi-caretaker status. … Now, we are planning for some permanency.”

U.S. forces continue moving personnel and equipment to the U.S. territory, including several submarines and possibly an aircraft carrier.

In fiscal 2004, construction began on a number of projects, including renovation of the first of several Navy wharfs. Those projects, as well as several quality-of-life improvements, continue this year, including a new Department of Defense Dependents Schools high school at U.S. Naval Base Guam and an Army and Air Force Exchange Service complex at Andersen Air Force Base.

The plans and anticipated spending for fiscal 2006 are a long way from set in stone, military leaders caution. Congress must approve the budget before it goes into effect.

Under the current plan, the new Navy projects include:

Upgrades and improvements to Alpha and Bravo wharfs at Polaris Point, where submarines are dockedA new middle school and elementary school on U.S. Naval Base Guam at Lockwood Housing. The new schools would join the current middle and elementary school at Apra Housing off base.A new hardened electrical system across the base to guard against typhoon damage.Air Force officials could not provide a list of their proposed projects by deadline.

The Navy projects for fiscal 2005, the current year, include:

Renovating the Fena Reservoir.Upgrading the waterfront, including Kilo Wharf.Building a Navy training facility to train mobile security squadrons.Air Force 2005 projects include building a storage facility at Andersen Air Force Base and a new DODDS high school to be built by Navy engineers.

The development is a boon for Guam residents. Interior Department economists report that military spending, along with tourism, are the two main growth engines for the island.

About 12,000 military personnel are stationed on Guam, home to 166,000 residents, according to a 2004 census report.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now