Written by SHARLA TORRE MONTVEL-COHEN
Thursday, December 15, 2011
GUAM – This week's action on Capitol Hill to delay funding for the Guam buildup portion of a blueprint to realign troops in Japan and Asia-Pacific marks the first serious sign of U.S. wavering on the plan, even if all Congress has really done yet is call the price tag of the buildup into question.While Congress is demanding more cohesive detail from the Pentagon on the broader plan for implementing the realignment, its actions this week have stopped short of calling for an outright end to American funding for the plan.
A story in The Wall Street Journal talks about why the bigger dilemma lies in the fact that a newly tentative U.S. can only weaken political resolve in Tokyo for building a new air base for the Marines on Okinawa to replace the one in the island's crowded Futenma region.
For over a decade, through various U.S. Presidents, America has led the charge to implement the troop realignment roadmap agreement with Japan. To be sure, Tokyo has needed Washington's support and pressure to keep its part of the deal on track, especially the controversial Futenma replacement facility part of that plan – without which, the Marine transfer to Guam would not happen.
Even as Tokyo has funded its portion of the Guam buildup since 2009, appropriating over $1 billion already for Guam construction, it has made too little progress on a Futenma replacement facility. The Obama Administration and even Congressional leaders understand that if they do not want to derail plans for a modernized military presence in Japan, they must find a balance between new fiscal austerity in Washington and assuring Tokyo that America will uphold its alliance agreement.
Read the full story at the link here: "Futenma Fumble as U.S. Freezes Guam Move."
Animated flag images courtesy 3DFlags.com
- 11/12/2011 17:40 - President Obama Weighs in on 2012 Defense Policy Bill; Authorization for Guam Military Buildup Nears Decision Point
- 11/12/2011 17:32 - Japan Censure to Remove Defense Minister Deals Political Blow to Noda, Complicates Progress on Futenma Replacement Base and Marines’ Realignment to Guam
- 08/12/2011 12:14 - Two House-Senate Conference Committees Will Decide Fate of 2012 Funding for Guam Military Buildup as Early as Next Week
- 07/12/2011 09:32 - Pressure to Pass Annual Spending Package Could Bring Short-Term Clarity for Guam Military Buildup
- 05/12/2011 08:08 - Pentagon May Offer Key Law Makers Early Look at New Spending Plan; Revised Guam Military Buildup Timeline Likely to Be Included