Budget request includes over $94M for Japan, Korea base construction
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Several U.S. bases in Japan and South Korea are pegged for construction projects under the White House’s fiscal 2005 budget request sent to Congress last week.
Projects planned in South Korea include a $12 million sanitary sewer system at Camp Humphreys, where thousands of U.S. troops currently stationed in Seoul are set to move under a relocation plan; $37.1 million for two 144-room dormitories at Kunsan Air Base, and $18.6 million for a 156-room dormitory at Osan Air Base, also cited as a base for expansion.
The money the Army has allotted for fiscal 2005 is significantly lower than the $65 million appropriated for fiscal 2004, all at Camp Humphreys. Those projects included three barracks and seven other military operations buildings. The Air Force allocated $68.5 million for military construction and housing in fiscal 2004.
In Japan, Misawa Air Base would get two projects under the fiscal 2005 proposal: $6.7 million to expand a strategic airlift ramp and $19.9 million for a hydrant-fuel system.
The projects are only proposals at this point and must go through several reviews in Senate and House committees, votes in both houses of Congress and finally President Bush for his signature before going into law. Even then, the military has some leverage in how the money could be redirected in light of its restructuring, military budget officials have said.
In South Korea, many construction projects have been postponed or halted while talks with the South Korean government on relocating U.S. troops are ongoing. The two governments have agreed to move all U.S. troops now at Yongsan Garrison by 2007 and consolidate the 2nd Infantry Division onto two camps south of the Demilitarized Zone, eventually shifting them farther south.
The White House would like to spend $9.5 billion on worldwide military construction and family housing in fiscal 2005, according to a news release.
“This request continues progress toward providing the right quality of facilities and assets to support the nation’s military personnel and their families,” it states.
In sum, the request includes 318 major construction projects at more than 175 different locations worldwide, many of which are called “classified.” The Defense Department’s goal is to eliminate inadequate military family housing units by 2009, officials have said.