Monday, February 27, 2012
Shirley A. Kan
Specialist in Asian Security Affairs
Since 2000, the U.S. military has been building up forward-deployed forces on the westernmost U.S. territory of Guam to increase U.S. presence, deterrence, and power projection for potential responses to crises and disasters, counterterrorism, and contingencies in support of South Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan, or elsewhere in Asia. Since 2006, three joint exercises based at Guam called “Valiant Shield” have boosted U.S. military readiness in the Asian-Pacific region. The defense buildup on Guam has been moderate. China still has concerns about Guam’s buildup, suspecting it to be directed against China. There has been concern that China and North Korea could target Guam with missiles. Still, Guam’s role increased in engaging with China’s military.
In 2006, the United States and Japan agreed on a Realignment Roadmap to strengthen their alliance, including a buildup on Guam to cost $10.3 billion, with Japan contributing 60%. Goals were to start the related construction on Guam by 2010 and to complete relocation of about 8,000 marines from Okinawa to Guam by 2014. In Tokyo on February 17, 2009, the Secretary of State signed the bilateral “Agreement Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of Japan Concerning the Implementation of the Relocation of the III Marine Expeditionary Force Personnel and Their Dependents From Okinawa to Guam” that reaffirmed the “Roadmap” of May 1, 2006. The two governments agreed that of the estimated $10.27 billion cost of the facilities and infrastructure development for the relocation, Japan will provide $6.09 billion, including up to $2.8 billion in direct cash contributions (in FY2008 dollars). The United States committed to fund $3.18 billion plus $1 billion for a road for a total of $4.18 billion.
However, completion of the marines’ relocation by 2014 would be unlikely, and the original realignment actually would have involved more than moving 8,000 marines to Guam. In September 2009, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) became the ruling party. This political change raised uncertainty as Japan sought to re-negotiate the agreement, even while the United States sought its implementation. The dispute over the location on Okinawa of the Futenma Replacement Facility (FRF) to replace the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma raised implications for the relocation of marines from Okinawa to Guam. Then, North Korea’s attack on South Korea’s naval ship Cheonan in March 2010, and China’s deployment of its Navy near Okinawa and confrontation with Japan’s forces in April, catalyzed Japan to resolve the dispute in favor of stronger deterrence in alliance with the United States. On May 28, the Secretaries of Defense and State and their counterparts in Japan issued a “2+2” Joint Statement, in which they reaffirmed the 2006 Roadmap and the 2009 Agreement. In September 2010, the Navy and Army issued a Record of Decision that deferred some decisions for Guam. Nonetheless, despite the dispute over the FRF, Japan has budgeted for direct contributions and loans for the marines’ relocation to Guam.
Since 2011, some Members, including Senator Jim Webb and Guam’s Delegate Madeleine Bordallo, have urged more attention to concerns that included Japan’s impasse, expanded costs, and the delay in the realignment even as the U.S military presence and readiness remain critical. On May 11, 2011, Senators Carl Levin, John McCain, and Jim Webb called for a review of plans to restructure military forces in South Korea, Japan, and Guam. Finally, on February 8, 2012, the United States and Japan agreed to “adjust” the Roadmap and separate the move of marines from the plan for the FRF, in order to make progress separately. According to news reports, of 8,000 marines to transfer from Okinawa, only 4,700 could move to Guam. Legislation includes the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY2012, P.L. 112-81. Updated as warranted, this CRS Report discusses major developments and policy issues related to the defense buildup.
Date of Report: February 13, 2012
Number of Pages: 25
Order Number: RS22570
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Posted by Penny Hill Press, Inc. at Monday, February 27, 2012