High-Level Leadership Needed to Help Guam Address Challenges Caused by DOD-Related Growth

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Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In an effort to improve the U.S. military's flexibility to address conventional and terrorist threats worldwide, the Department of Defense (DOD) plans to relocate more than 8,000 Marines and an estimated 9,000 dependents from Okinawa, Japan, to Guam as well as expand other U.S. force capabilities on the island at an estimated cost of more than $13 billion. Guam is an integral part of DOD's logistical support system and serves as an important forward operational hub for a mix of military mission requirements. According to DOD, Guam provides ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. April 9, 2009.

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Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In an effort to improve the U.S. military's flexibility to address conventional and terrorist threats worldwide, the Department of Defense (DOD) plans to relocate more than 8,000 Marines and an estimated 9,000 dependents from Okinawa, Japan, to Guam as well as expand other U.S. force capabilities on the island at an estimated cost of more than $13 billion. Guam is an integral part of DOD's logistical support system and serves as an important forward operational hub for a mix of military mission requirements. According to DOD, Guam provides strategic flexibility, freedom of action, and prompt global action for the Global War on Terrorism, peace and wartime engagement, and crisis response. DOD plans to begin construction on Guam during fiscal year 2010 in order to meet the desired buildup deadline of fiscal year 2014 indicated in the agreement reached by the U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee on October 29, 2005. As a result of the military buildup, Guam's current population of 171,000 will increase by an estimated 25,000 active duty military personnel and dependents (or 14.6 percent), to 196,000. In addition, the realignment will require additional workers to move to the island, including non-defense personnel, DOD contractors, and transient military personnel. As such, the U.S. military realignment and buildup will substantially impact Guam's community and infrastructure. DOD and representatives for Guam have expressed concern that Guam's infrastructure and social services will not be prepared to handle the impacts of the buildup by the 2014 completion date because of the compressed timeline and the extensive impact of the buildup. Further, GAO previously reported that the Government of Guam faces significant challenges in addressing the impacts of the buildup and realignment. Although DOD plans to fund infrastructure requirements directly related to the military buildup and realignment as well as contribute some funds toward civilian infrastructure requirements such as utilities and roads, the Government of Guam is largely responsible for obtaining funding for civilian requirements related to the buildup. In a May 2008 hearing before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, the Governor of Guam stated that approximately $6.1 billion would be requested for fiscal year 2010 to help fund Guam's needs in support of the military buildup. GAO has reported that most communities affected by such defense actions, with far lower requirements than Guam, were likely to incur significant costs for infrastructure and were seeking federal assistance. Guam is similarly seeking extensive federal aid across many federal agencies. Both DOD and the Department of the Interior have worked to raise awareness across the federal government of the need to address the systemic challenges to support both the construction effort and the long-term impact of stationing additional forces on Guam as well as to coordinate interagency budgets by identifying Guam's core requirements and matching up those requirements with potential federal agencies that may be able to provide the necessary resources to address Guam's critical social services and infrastructure needs. Section 2822(b) of the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009 required us to report on the status of interagency coordination through the Interagency Group on Insular Areas (IGIA) of budgetary requests to assist the Government of Guam with its budgetary requirements related to the realignment of U.S. military forces on Guam. Our objective was to determine the status of interagency coordination including the status of the IGIA's participation in that coordination."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • April 9, 2009

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. High-Level Leadership Needed to Help Guam Address Challenges Caused by DOD-Related Growth, text, April 9, 2009; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc299447/: accessed November 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.