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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

U.S. Admiral Tells Guam Buildup Will Eventually Happen
Delay in construction could go on until 2015: Payne

By Joy White

HAGTA, Guam (Marianas Variety, Jan. 28, 2013) – The military buildup may be delayed, but it will surely happen, Rear Adm. Tilghman Payne, commander of Joint Region Marianas, said on Thursday.

Speaking before the Rotary Club of Guam, Payne reiterated the statements made earlier this week by Joint Guam Program Office officials, who said the infrastructure projects related to the military realignment will be on hold until the environmental impact statement is finalized in 2012 and the record of decision is signed in 2015.

"After that, money can be committed and dirt can be turned and buildings can be constructed," he said.

Because the buildup on Guam will be smaller —5,000 instead 8,600 Marines — other locations had to be considered for U.S. forces in the Pacific, Payne said.

"We had to rethink where we are going to put [them]. Where are some of the places we didn’t think about before where we couldn’t fit 8,600 but now we can consider," he said.

Payne said Guam will not be the only place in the Pacific region that will see an influx of U.S. forces.

He said Marines will be phased in to the northern tip of Australia starting this spring while four littoral, or shallow water, combat ships are going to Singapore.

Payne took command of Joint Region Marianas last July, relieving Rear Adm. Paul Bushong.

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