Despite Setbacks, DOD Pleased with Progress on Marine Corps Realignment
The Pentagon welcomed as “significant progress” last week the Japanese government’s completion of an environmental assessment of the plan to relocate Marine Corps Air Station Futenma elsewhere on Okinawa.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta “looks forward to working with Japan in taking the next step: securing the landfill permit” for construction of offshore runways adjacent to the Marine Corps’ Camp Schwab in northern Okinawa, DOD spokesman George Little said. The assessment is one of the key milestones required before about 8,600 Marines can move from Okinawa to Guam, reported Stars and Stripes.
Last week’s news, however, follows several recent events which will slow the Marine Corps realignment, including enactment of language in the fiscal 2012 defense authorization bill suspending funding for the project until the Pentagon meets multiple requirements established by lawmakers. In addition, the Japanese government last month proposed a budget that would drastically trim funding for the buildup on Guam and the relocation of Futenma, according to the story.