A. Kan Specialist in Asian Security Affairs
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, 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
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.
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.
By 2011, some Members urged 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. Meanwhile, President Obama
issued in January 2012 a new strategy of “rebalancing” priorities more to the
Pacific (in what some call a “pivot” to the Pacific). Finally, on February
8, 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. A U.S.-Japan Joint Statement of April 2012 specified that out of
about 9,000 marines to be relocated from Okinawa, about 5,000 marines would
move to Guam. Out of the new estimated cost of $8.6 billion, Japan would
contribute $3.1 billion. On July 24, the Defense Secretary submitted to
Congress a required independent assessment on the posture in the Pacific.
Legislation includes the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY2013 (H.R. 4310;
S. 3254). Updated as warranted, this CRS Report discusses major
developments and policy issues related to the defense buildup.
Date of Report: October 25, 2012
Number of Pages: 29 Order Number: RS22570 Price: $29.95
For email and phone orders, provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card
number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail
or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing.