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Budget proposal for Guam missile defense system raised to $2 billion

Moylan's proposed amendment seeks a DOD report on contigency plans for Guam's civilian sector in case of war


By Jayvee Vallejera

 

The proposed budget for the Guam missile defense system has been raised to $2 billion under the draft defense spending policy measure.


Guam Del. James Moylan said President Joe Biden’s budget request was originally tagged at a little more than $1.8 billion, but the total now exceeds $2 billion, due in part to his office’s efforts.


“The key is to ensure that our community is safe from foreign adversaries, and the Guam missile defense is intended to defend our island from incoming missiles, as it provides a 360-degree capability of interception,” Guam Del. James Moylan said.


The Indo-Pacific Command is seeking to build a 360-degree enhanced integrated air and ground missile defense architecture with multiple components to be spread throughout Guam.

Speaking at a virtual news briefing last Friday, Moylan announced a string of amendments he had proposed to benefit Guam have made it to the base text of the proposed National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2025, including funding to repair Guam’s roads and its breakwater and beefing up the territory’s anti-missile defense to protect the island’s residents.


In addition to proposed funding that totals more than half-a-billion dollars, Moylan said his proposals include language requiring or requesting the Secretary of Defense to enhance the role of the Guam National Guard and to provide a report on how Guam’s civilian population would be protected in the event of a crisis.


Moylan said what excites him most is the authorization of $140 million to repair Guam roads under the Defense Access Roads program. The repairs would include paving and strengthening roads, repairs to bridges, and hardening power lines where needed by moving them underground.


James Moylan

In particular, the road repairs would center on the 33.9-kilometer Marine Corps Drive, one of the primary roads on Guam stretching from the Naval Base Guam in Santa Rita to the Anderson Air Force Base in Yigo.


Another amendment is the authorization of $117.5 million to repair the Guam glass breakwater in Guam harbor. The breakwater, which is currently damaged, “is literally one storm away from being destroyed,” Moylan said, adding that this would impact both military and commercial ships.


To address problems with the cost of housing on island, the amendment to provide another $200 million in new military housing was also added.


Moylan said this would ease the Department of Defense’s need to rent outside in the community and leave more of Guam’s housing inventory for the civilian population.


Two of Moylan’s amendments that also made it to the base text of the NDAA for FY 2025 are language that, one, would require the Secretary of Defense to provide a briefing on the role of the Guam National Guard when it comes to the Joint Task Force Marianas, and two, request the Defense Secretary for a report on how Guam’s civilian population would be protected in times of crises.


Moylan said the National Guard amendment aims to enhance the role of Guam’s sons and daughters in defending the homeland, while the second amendment should include plans for evacuations, along with how medical and food supplies would be provided.


“The protection of our community in the event of a crisis is our priority,” he said.


Moylan said these are base texts included in the bill and the odds of the base texts remaining in the final bill are much higher. He conceded these amendments could still be removed “but it’s our job to continue to advocate for them to remain there.”


The NDAA bill is still at the subcommittee level and it will be learned by Tuesday which of Moylan’s proposed amendments will make it to the final cut of the measure that will be voted on by the Armed Services Committee.


“At this point, it’s a waiting game. It’s a waiting game until Tuesday when we will learn which amendments will qualify for votes. But until then, we will continue to advocate for priorities with the committee members that I know personally,” he said.


Moylan assured that he has already gained support from committee members on his amendments and he continues to build relationships with his colleagues to shore up support. “These are my colleagues and these are also my friends,” he added.


He attributes the inclusion of his amendments to the bill’s base text to that relationship he has already built, particularly with members of the Armed Services Committee and its chairman, Rep. Mike Rogers.


Final passage in the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to take place possibly in the third quarter of this calendar year—barring any unforeseen developments, such as a leadership shakeup in the House.


Expanding on his amendment relating to the Guam National Guard, Moylan said he wants DOD to address construction, recruitment, and other priorities.

He also seeks to provide the Secretary of Defense with more options for military housing. That could include entering into leases, purchases, or contracts for vacated structures with vast dwellings, 3D manufacturing, and even resorts, with the goal to provide volume housing for both individual service members and families.


“…We need to reduce the military’s need to pick out from the local market’s limited housing supply, and hopefully this leads to the cost of rentals becoming more manageable for working families,” he added.


Touching on the Agent Orange Exposure issue, Moylan also inserted an amendment for DoD to study and publish the effects of Agent Orange Exposure in Guam, as this would open the process for island residents to seek compensation.


Other Moylan amendments seek a feasibility study on establishing an Army Reserve Center in Palau and addresses some of DoD’s procurement policies that prevent Guam’s businesses from successfully bidding for A&E contacts.

“We have several other amendments addressing regulatory issues, and we also included the provisions of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, also known as RECA, which includes Guam in the language as an amendment,” he added.





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