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Think tank calls for moving U.S. Marines to Guam faster

Date Posted: 2012-07-20

Construction of facilities in Guam, and the transfer of U.S. Marines from Okinawa to Guam, should be expedited.

Thatís the thinking of a U.S. think tank that has assembled a complex report for the Defense Department. The independent think tankís work is expected to go before Congress within a matter of weeks. The report concurs with plans to relocate Futenma Marine Corps Air Station within Okinawa Prefecture, but goes on to press for realigning U.S. military forces in Japan.

The revised bilateral agreement between Japan and the United States in April calls for shifting about 9,000 of the 19,000 Marines now in Okinawa to other locations, including Guam, Hawaii and Australia. The think tank candidly warns both Congress and the Department of Defense against delaying construction of the needed military facilities on Guam, noting that more factors than expense should be expanded.

Funding is currently blocked by the Senate for funding even a partial transfer off Okinawa-based troops to Guam. The Armed Services and Appropriations Committees have both rejected the funding, too. The Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, says heíll take a look at the think tankís report, and then decide what to do about the funding issue.

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