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Defense spending for Guam up 445% since 2020

Updated: Jan 10


Photo courtesy of Dennis Santo Tomas

By Mar-Vic Cagurangan


The Department of Defense’s spending authorization for Guam has increased by 445 percent over four years as the Pentagon beefs up its forces in the region amid growing threats from China.


The 2023 National Defense Authorization Act appropriates $1.69 billion for military projects on Guam, showing a substantial leap from $765 million in fiscal 2022; $587 million in 2021 and $310 million in 2020.


The new allocation for Guam forms part of the NDAA’s $857.9 billion defense spending policy signed by President Biden on Dec. 23, 2023.


DOD’s total budget seeks to fund “targeted investments that enhance U.S. force posture, infrastructure, presence, and readiness, specifically in the Indo-Pacific region, west of the international date line,” Guam’s economist Dr. Claret Ruane said, citing defense documents.


The budget for Guam is a component of the Pentagon's $6.1 billion Pacific Deterrence Initiative

Source: 2022 Guam Economic Report by Dr. Claret Ruane
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The new appropriations for Guam include the research and development of an integrated air and ground missile architecture to defend the island against ballistic, hypersonic and cruise missile threats, specifically from China.


For FY2023, the NDAA appropriates $585 million for PDI projects on Guam, the most notable of which is the $398 million for the MDS on Guam,” Ruane said.


The PDI budget shows estimates for the missile defense system component for FY2023 to FY2027.


“In the near term, the (missile defense system) budget estimates as $826 million for FY2024, $497 million for FY2025, $407 million for FY2026 and $303 million for FY2027, with probably a significant share of each year’s budget to be allocated to Guam," Ruane said.


The military relocation of U.S. Marine forces and their families from Okinawa to Guam provided billions of dollars of military projects in the past years and buffered the local economy from what could have been a devastating blow from the Covid-19 pandemic,” Ruane stated in an economic report released Dec. 31.


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The plan to relocate 5,000 Marines to Guam is estimated to cost between $11 billion and $13 billion, a portion of which is shouldered by Japan.


As of 2022, the DOD has invested $2.5 billion in Marine Corps Camp Blaz, which is anticipated to be up and running by the time the troops begin flowing in by the end of 2024 or early 2025.


The Marine Corps Installations Command will host a reactivation and naming

ceremony for Camp Blaz at Asan Beach on Jan. 26. According to the Joint Region Marianas, the event will mark the official recognition of Camp Blaz "after Marine Barracks Guam was deactivated on Nov. 10, 1992."


“As this Marine relocation from Okinawa to Guam comes closer to completion, developing geopolitical concerns identified by the U.S. Department of Defense to include ‘the multi-domain threat posed by China call for ‘strengthening Indo-Pacific deterrence,’” Ruane said.



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