Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
mota bhai

Guam Not Ready For 5,000 More Marines: GAO

14 posts in this topic

Recommended Posts

Guam is America’s unsinkable aircraft carrier in the South Pacific, the fulcrum of the fabled Pacific “pivot.” It’s also kind of a mess.

With a GDP per capita less than a third the US average, an earthquake-damaged harbor, geriatric generators that black out the entire island roughly twice a year, drinking water periodically contaminated with sewage, a fire department with three working ambulances for a population of 160,000, and a police department so short-staffed it’s started deputizing unpaid civilians, according to a Government Accountability Office report due out today, Guam is closer to the Third World than to California economically as well as geographically.

That’s not just a development problem, it’s a national security issue. The Defense Department, which already owns more than a quarter of the island, plans on bringing in 5,000 more Marines and their estimated 1,300 dependents. DoD and GAO agree that the island’s infrastructure isn’t ready to receive them. What they disagree on is the cost to get it ready. The last three defense budgets requested, all told, $400 million for public infrastructure in Guam over 2012-2014, with more costs to come, but GAO doubts that that’s all necessary.

There are two big problems here, one that’s merely difficult to fix and the other nigh-impossible. The first is that the Pentagon’s still rewriting its Guam plan. The original goal was to relocate 8,600 Marines and 9,000 dependents from Okinawa to Guam by 2014, but disagreements over cost-sharing with the Japanese led the Defense Department to scale the move down to 5,000 Marines and 1,300 dependents. (Mathematically minded readers will notice that the Marine-to-dependent ratio in those two plans is radically different: My guess is this is because the current plan includes a higher percentage of young, unmarried Marine Corps riflemen).

That’s a 64 percent reduction in the number of people moving, but you can’t just cut the cost estimates by 64 percent and call it a day. A smaller force gives you more options about where to put it, such as US bases on the island that generate their own clean water, which could bring the needed infrastructure investments down more than 64 percent. But some costs are fixed – assuming that you decide to do them at all– such as upgrading water treatment plants.

That kind of costs brings us to the second, almost insoluble problem: How do you disentangle what’s needed purely to support the military– i.e. what Congress feels the Pentagon should pay for – from what’s needed by the civilian population? You can’t even draw a neat line between the two groups, because adding more Marines and their families also requires adding more civilian contractors who will work on base but never live there.

The relocation would also mean a temporary upsurge in construction workers, many of them from off the island, and, besides all the other public infrastructure the influx would require, Guamanian officials say they lack the health labs to test the newcomers for communicable diseases. Then you get into messy issues like landfill sites: The main Air Force and Navy bases have almost filled theirs up and are starting to send their trash, for a fee, to Guam’s waste disposal site, which by the way is in court-ordered receivership for environmental violations.

Congress has been deeply skeptical of the Pentagon’s cost estimates and Japan’s pledged contributions, so it keeps legislating restrictions on what the Defense Department can spend to move forces from Okinawa to Guam, leading to what one thinktank study called a “logjam.” As Congress’s accountant/attack dog, the GAO has challenged DoD on costs in the past, and the report due out today is just the latest installment in a long and dreary story.

So what does the GAO study (which we got in advance) actually recommend? The report’s title, as usual, is little help: “Further Analysis Needed to Identify Guam’s Public Infrastructure Requirements and Costs for DoD’s Realignment Plan.” (Pro tip: GAO always thinks “further analysis is needed.” If your house was on fire and you were trying to get out, GAO would tell you to first make sure that your escape plan met best practices and that you had perfected your knowledge-based systems analysis.) In this case, GAO wants the Defense Department to revise its estimates for Guam – which the Pentagon is doing – before it asks for any more money and to write “an integrated master plan” for all the forces reshuffling around the Pacific – which the Pentagon is not doing.

That’s precisely the kind of long-term planning that the last two years of sequestration, government shutdown, and general legislative chaos have made impossible. Now that the budget deal has – we hope – stabilized the situation for the next two years, maybe everyone can get back to business.

http://breakingdefense.com/2013/12/guam-not-ready-for-5000-more-marines-gao/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Money. Very likely some if not all of the clothing and equipment those Marines are wearing was manufactured and/or imported through a corporation owned by the Tan family.

So, if China started a military campaign, the US Marines would switch sides to the Chinese because the Tan family has been paying for stuff? Or are you suggesting the US would never dare challenge their Chinese landlords?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The family had origins in Hong Kong and mainland China. They spent time on the Philippines and Guam. By the early 1980s they were part of a vanguard of global Chinese entrepreneurs reconnecting with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in the aftermath of Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping’s declaration that "To be rich is glorious."

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/10/23/401675/-Meet-the-Tan-Family-corrupt-patrons-of-the-GOP-HRC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, if China started a military campaign, the US Marines would switch sides to the Chinese because the Tan family has been paying for stuff? Or are you suggesting the US would never dare challenge their Chinese landlords overlords?

That is what you mean, right?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is what you mean, right?

You know what's really funny about that.......... That is literally what I wrote and then I thought it my be too over the top in context to what I thought you were suggesting. So I erased it and put landlords.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You know what's really funny about that.......... That is literally what I wrote and then I thought it my be too over the top in context to what I thought you were suggesting. So I erased it and put landlords.

First impressions are often the correct ones.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
- Back to Top -


Important Disclaimer: Please read carefully the Visajourney.com Terms of Service. If you do not agree to the Terms of Service you should not access or view any page (including this page) on VisaJourney.com. Answers and comments provided on Visajourney.com Forums are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Visajourney.com does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. VisaJourney.com does not condone immigration fraud in any way, shape or manner. VisaJourney.com recommends that if any member or user knows directly of someone involved in fraudulent or illegal activity, that they report such activity directly to the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement. You can contact ICE via email at Immigration.Reply@dhs.gov or you can telephone ICE at 1-866-347-2423. All reported threads/posts containing reference to immigration fraud or illegal activities will be removed from this board. If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by contacting us here with a url link to that content. Thank you.
×