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Hearing of the House Armed Services Committee - The Defense Department's Fiscal Year 2009 Budget


Location: Washington, DC


DEL. MADELEINE Z. BORDALLO (D-GU): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. And thank you again for your visit to Guam.

Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen, Secretary Jonas, thank you for testifying before our committee today.

And I want to get right to the point. And that is to the military buildup on Guam. In 2005, the deputy secretary of Defense, Mr. England, signed a memorandum that established the Joint Guam Program Office to coordinate all the planning associated with the Guam military buildup. The coming year is very important for the groundwork for planning. Just next moth, we will be receiving a draft of the Guam master plan, and in a year or so the draft environmental impact statement is scheduled for completion.

I have repeatedly stated in this committee and elsewhere that we must get the planning right, and it has to incorporate the concerns and the needs of the citizens of Guam.

So to that extent, I have called for a memorandum of understanding to be drafted between the appropriate federal departments and the counterpart agencies in the government of Guam, since there undoubtedly will be changes in government leadership in the near future.

Mr. Secretary, are you coordinating with Secretary Kempthorne at the Department of Interior to get the interagency group on insular areas to identify funding needs and program them into the budgets across all corresponding federal agencies? And what level of discussions have you had with the secretariat level about coordinating activities? And do you envision more meetings to implement these coordinated activities?

Mr. Secretary, it appears that there is some unwillingness from federal agencies to program for various aspects of the military buildup.

SEC. GATES: Secretary Kempthorne got me in the White House. He has just returned from Guam, and he caught me in the White House two or three days ago, said that he needed to come talk to me about Guam, and that will be our first meeting on it. And we will pursue it from there.

DEL. BORDALLO: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Secretary.

Also, I have one quick question. Additionally, I'm concerned that the funding levels for Anderson Air Force Base on Guam. I received a letter, and Chairman Skelton's office also received this letter, and I think Chairman Skelton and General Owens discussed this when the chairman was on Guam. This letter is from General Rice at PACAF back in November about projects that would support the planned ISR strike capability at Anderson. They identify nearly $700 million in construction needs that do not appear to be in the Defense program. The fiscal year 2009 budget only contains $5.2 million for construction of a combat communications facility at Anderson. As the Marine relocation construction approaches in 2010, I am very concerned that these Air Force projects will not be able to be completed. So what is being done, Mr. Secretary, at the Department of Defense to address these concerns? Or maybe Secretary Jonas can answer that.

MS. JONAS: I'm not familiar exactly with the issues of the Air Force, but I'd be happy to get in touch with the vice chief and talk to him about the specific funding issues there. Be happy to do that.

DEL. BORDALLO: Well, I can see why we're in trouble, Mr. Chairman, because neither of you are too much aware of this buildup, and it's looming very quickly.

MS. JONAS: The Navy has, I believe, the project office for Guam. Do you want to -- sorry about that, Admiral, but -- (chuckles).

ADM. MULLEN: You look at me like I'm in the Navy. (Laughs, laughter.)

Ma'am, you know that the program office has been set up and there's direct report to Don Winter on this, and he's really the executive agent for the Department of Defense. There's been a tremendous amount of focus on getting this right. I can't -- I know that Anderson has -- there has been -- there have been challenges working through getting to the joint basing construct there, and I understand that that's now been decided and we're moving through that. I'm not aware -- I just don't have the detail on some of the specific projects.

But I think to say that it's not a -- it's not a focus area and it's not an area that a lot of people are paying attention to doesn't reflect the leadership, particularly on the part of the Navy, and the individuals in the program office who are spending an awful lot of time on this. That we might have missed something to look at something like this, obviously we can go back and look at that.

DEL. BORDALLO: Well, the entire project is to be concluded by 2014 --


DEL. BORDALLO: And at the rate we're going, you know, the funding is very, very important. Of course, Japan is funding $6 billion, but, you know, the additional money we need from our federal government is very important. So I just wanted to bring it to light, and certainly, I hope you will, you know, get together with some meetings on this.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


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