A look at some of the likely locations for U.S. forces
Air Force Lt. Gen. Daniel P. Leaf, deputy commander of U.S. Pacific Command, is on Guam this week to talk about the military expansion on the island and to hear community ideas and concerns. Under Leaf’s direction, the military has written the Guam Integrated Military Development Plan, an early blueprint of the move of 8,000 U.S. Marines and their 9,000 dependents from Okinawa to Guam and other forces to the island. Construction is set to begin in 2008 for an estimated $10.3 billion, a cost to be shared with the Japanese government under an agreement. Another $5 billion in military buildup is expected in tandem with the III Marine Expeditionary Force arrival.
As Leaf makes the rounds on Guam this week, the military has yet to release any planning documents associated with buildup. But Leaf is sharing the probable locations of the Marines and other changes. Among them:
¶ Marine aviation elements will be on Andersen Air Force Base. The Marines’ ground combat, logistics support, and headquarters elements will go into the North Finegayan region. Training will be on a southern part of Andersen and at the Navy’s arsenal on the island’s south end.
¶ The Marines will not use Andersen’s Northwest field or renew military operations at Guam’s commercial airport.
¶ About 3,500 family housing units will be needed for the Marines, as well as barracks for single servicemembers. Other housing for civilian workers, defense workers and construction workers will be needed off-base.
¶ On Aug. 25, the Navy activated a joint program office that will oversee Guam’s military development. The Navy will write the more detailed master plan for the buildup.
¶ An Army air defense battalion will eventually move to Guam. The headquarters likely will be with Guam’s Army National Guard. No decisions have been made about the battalion’s makeup or size.
¶ The military remains interested in using islands within the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, though no areas have been selected. Leaf was to tour the area by air this week to begin that planning process.