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Guam will have to do a lot of upgrading to the island’s infrastructure to prepare for a planned arrival of 7,000 Marines from Okinawa over the next several years, according to congressional delegate Madeleine Z. Bordallo.

Though it’s not known whether the Marines will be based at U.S. Naval Base Guam, Andersen Air Force Base or elsewhere on Guam, Bordallo stressed the importance of preparing the island’s schools, roads and other facilities for growth.

“The arrival of the Marines will reinforce the existing need to modernize power generation, water distribution and waste disposal, among other services in Guam,” Bordallo stated in a written response to a Stars and Stripes query.

“The burden for making infrastructure improvements on Guam will increase, requiring a greater commitment from the local government, the military and the federal government.”

The United States intends to move more than 7,000 personnel to the 200-square-mile Pacific island as part of a broad realignment of U.S. forces now in Japan, both nations announced Saturday.

In a news release, Bordallo also stated that no exact time line has been set for the Marines’ arrival but “we should expect a focused period of planning and then a phased movement of forces to Guam over the next two to eight years.

“Important discussions, including possible cost sharing by the Japanese, remain that will affect the timeline.”

In the same release, the congressional delegate indicated III MEF headquarters likely “will be accompanied by significant numbers of additional forces, including possible maneuver forces that would form the basis of a new Littoral Warfighting Center.”

Bordallo said the decision to transfer the Marines reflects Guam’s leaders’ strong efforts to showcase the island to the Defense Department.

“Many people on Guam have joined in answering Secretary (Donald) Rumsfeld’s popular saying, ‘We go where we’re wanted,’ by making it clear that U.S. forces are wanted on Guam,” Bordallo said. “Our message has gotten through.”

Guam Power Authority spokesman Art Perez told the island’s Pacific Daily News this week that he hopes to discuss with military planners soon the infrastructure changes needed to support the influx.

“We are in the right momentum forward to meet the lion’s share of this movement to put more troops on Guam,” he told the newspaper.

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