Written by FRANK WHITMAN
Tuesday, August 09, 2011
GUAM – One of three major Air Force expansion and upgrade programs on Guam is transforming Andersen Air Force Base into a Pacific hub for global reconnaissance that includes new Global Hawk technology.
"There's a lot of construction going on here at Andersen," said Lt. Col. Michael R. Staples, commanding officer of the 36th Civil Engineering Squadron. "And there's considerable DoD investment in preparing and modernizing our existing facilities."
U.S. Congress continues its steady funding of military construction projects to build "Guam Strike," an intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance program at Andersen's South Ramp. The program is one of three for the Air Force designated for $211.6 million in funding in the fiscal year 2012 Defense budget, which could take effect on October 1 at the earliest.
Pacific Air Forces has already spent $85.3 million on Guam Strike, including a new Global Hawk hangar and upgrades to South Ramp's electrical system, communications infrastructure and water and wastewater utilities. Meanwhile, another $147.2 million is budgeted in fiscal year 2012 for three new task orders.
The most recent military construction contract award from Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Marianas — $9.58 million to Massachusetts-based P&S Construction Inc. for the upgrade of water, sewer and communications infrastructure at South Ramp — is one of a series of projects to develop the Guam Strike capability that began in 2007 and is slated to be completed in 2022, according to a June 27 Government Accountability Office report on the Guam buildup.
Guam Strike was known as Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR) and Strike when its Environmental Impact Study was released in November 2006 followed by the Record of Decision in January 2007. "That program is designed to develop capabilities and facilities to support our flying mission here at Andersen Air Force Base — to support the continuous bomber presence, to support Theater Security Package fighters as well as tankers," said Stephen Wolborsky, director of the Andersen Development Office.
The continuous bomber presence at Andersen began in 2003 when bomber squadrons began rotating into Guam from U.S. mainland bases. Aerial tanker squadrons and fighter squadrons have also been deployed to Andersen on a rotational basis.
The 2006 EIS indicates that Guam Strike is to support 48 fighter aircraft, 12 tankers, six bombers and four Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles either permanently based or rotationally deployed. Facilities are located in the South Ramp area of the Andersen flight line. The EIS also indicates that the base population of military, civilian Air Force employees, contractors and dependants would increase by between 1,850 and 3,000, depending on whether and what aircraft and units are based on Guam or continue rotational deployments.
One of the first Guam Strike contracts was the $42 million Global Hawk hangar awarded in May 2007 and completed in June 2009 by Black Construction Corp. The Global Hawk aircraft provide the base's ISR capability.
Mr. Wolborsky said that there have been modifications to Guam Strike plans since the EIS was released, but he declined to be specific. "There are some changes to the planning assumptions and there are some changes to the type of support that goes with that," he said.
"The types of facilities that come under [Guam Strike] are support structures, maintenance facilities, hangars for aircraft, possibly some community support facilities for people to live, people to work," Mr. Wolborsky said. "There are some quality of life programs covered under the Guam Strike umbrella."
The $33.75 million electrical infrastructure upgrade contract being executed at Andersen by dck-ecc Pacific Guam Construction LLC is a Guam Strike project awarded in fiscal year 2010. An operations group and tanker task force facilities renovation project budgeted in fiscal year 2011 at $9.1 million has yet to be awarded. Guam Strike projects in the fiscal year 2012 Defense Authorization Act are a clear water rinse facility valued at $7.5 million, a fuel systems maintenance hangar at $128 million and a conventional munitions maintenance facility at $11.7 million.
The Air Force has also identified another $268 million in Guam Strike facilities projects for the four years after 2012, according to its Military Construction Program Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Estimates.
Beyond Guam Strike, two other expansion programs at Andersen will establish a Pacific Air Forces Regional Training Center at Northwest Field and upgrade the Air Mobility Command complex. Construction projects worth $47 million are anticipated for air mobility. Guam Strike and the Training Center meanwhile are expected to cost $847 million through 2015 alone, the GAO report said. Guam Strike construction would continue to incur additional costs through 2022 and the Training Center through 2016.
This is the first in a series of three GuamBuildupNews.com reports on Air Force expansion projects at Andersen.
Photo used in this article courtesy U.S. Air Force. Photo by Senior Airman Nichelle Anderson.
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