Lawmakers Question White House’s Reliance on DOD to Fund Guam Buildup
Emphasizing that the strain on Guam’s municipal infrastructure stemming from the relocation of 8,000-plus Marines from Okinawa is not a “military problem,” the House Appropriations Committee is urging the Obama administration to include other agencies in the federal effort to help the island prepare for the influx.
Because the realignment is the result of a bilateral agreement between the United States and Japan, “DOD should not be isolated as the sole source of funding for the necessary improvements to physical and human capital in Guam,” according to the committee report accompanying the fiscal 2012 military construction and veterans affairs spending bill.
“The committee notes with concern that the administration has sent mixed signals on this issue,” the report said. “Much of the non-DOD work appears to be mired in the ‘planning’ or ‘under consideration’ phase,” according to the report.
The committee approved the FY 2012 milcon spending bill on Tuesday.
The lawmakers also question whether the department has the ability to adequately fund and complete on time the military construction projects needed to support the relocation of Marine Corps forces. The realignment’s defense environmental impact statement (DEIS), for example, concedes that construction likely will continue until 2016, two years after the scheduled date to complete the move. The Navy’s Future Years Defense Plan (FYDP), meanwhile, indicates that some construction projects likely will not be finished until 2017 or later.
“This fundamental disconnect on the target completion date between the U.S.-Japan agreement, the DEIS and the FYDP leaves doubt regarding the most realistic and feasible timeline for the Guam buildup,” the report states.
Need to Budget for New Initiatives
Another concern of the committee is whether the Pentagon has adequately budgeted for military construction needed to accommodate a series of initiatives included in the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review and the Nuclear Posture Review. Those programs include:
- creation of a new U.S. Cyber Command
- full “normalization” of tours for U.S. Forces Korea, requiring infrastructure to handle as many as 14,000 military families, compared to less than 2,000 previously;
- stand-up of two new Army combat aviation brigades, and the conversion of one heavy brigade combat team to a Stryker brigade combat team by 2013; and
- creation of National Guard Homeland Response Forces in each of the 10 Federal Emergency Management Agency regions.
As a result, the committee directs the defense secretary to submit a report with the FY 2013 milcon budget request describing how the initiatives are funded in the accompanying FYDP for military construction.