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Guam infrastructure & money may stall Marines’ move

Date Posted: 2008-05-06

Plans to relocate 8,000 Okinawa-based Marines and their families to Guam within six years appear are being challenged by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
The plan approved by Japanese and U.S. officials more than a year ago is likely to be stalled by Guam’s lack of infrastructure, the GAO is telling Congress. The official report noted that leaders in Guam, as well as some Defense Department officials, “believe this is an optimistic schedule” to have the relocation project developed and implemented by 2014.
The 2006 agreement between Tokyo and the U.S. linked the shift of U.S. Marines from Okinawa to Guam with a relocation of a controversial Marine Corps airfield located in the heart of central Okinawa. A delay in implementing the bilateral agreement could alter the dynamics of the proposed move of Futenma Marine Corps Air Station from densely populated Ginowan City to a sparsely populated area of Nago City in northern Okinawa.
The Government Accountability Office, more commonly referred to as the General Accounting Office, is the investigative, audit and evaluation branch of the U.S. Congress, charged with oversight of federal funds expenditures. The GAO says there’s a lot of work to be done on Guam to facilitate major troop moves, and notes required environmental impact assessments may take longer to accomplish than optimistically predicted.
Funding issues are also muddled, with the GAO saying “sufficient funding from the governments of the United States and Japan to support the move” may be delayed.

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