Thursday, March 13, 2014

US Marines official says Guam transfer on track

The top officer of the US Marines says planning for construction of new installations in Guam will start early next year after an environmental assessment is complete.

The Commandant of the Marine Corps, James Amos, testified before the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday.

He said the environmental assessment is due to be complete by the end of this year, allowing for construction planning to get underway in early 2015.

The Chief of Naval Operations, Jonathan Greenert, also attended the hearing. He said the US territory needs a dry dock for repairing ships that otherwise have to go back to the mainland for repairs.

The governments of Japan and the United States agreed to transfer a part of the US Marines stationed in Okinawa Prefecture, southwestern Japan, to Guam.

But the US Congress has a freeze in place on some of its transfer-related budgets.

The Obama administration has requested 51 million dollars for the plan for fiscal 2015, down from the previous year.

The reduced amount has diminished the prospect of carrying out the transfer.

Analysts say the US military is upgrading capabilities at a base in Guam, as it monitors China's increased activities at sea.