By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks has appointed a senior defense official who will oversee and coordinate military activities on Guam.
Undersecretary of the Navy Erik Raven has been named the Department of Defense's lead senior defense official for Guam as the military buildup accelerates in preparation for the Marines’ relocation to the island.
The first flow of troops from Okinawa is anticipated to arrive either late this year or early next year.
Besides the $11 billion worth of construction projects covered by the 2006 realignment roadmap, the defense department is poised to build a Guam missile defense architecture to shore up the island’s protection against potential threats from China.
As the DoD’s senior official for Guam, Raven will represent the department when meeting with key territorial leaders in Guam.
He will provide oversight, advocacy and support to the Joint Region Marianas in the execution of its installation management mission; bring senior military leaders together to align efforts to meet operational requirements consistent with the National Defense Strategy, ensure resources are programmed and de-conflicted across DoD components, and to develop and deliver new capabilities to meet logistics, environmental and infrastructure requirements.
The next step will include the establishment of the Guam Synchronization and Oversight Council, which will be co-chaired by Raven.
The council’s primary function will be to ensure senior-level cross-visibility and, where needed, prioritization of key issues related to the missions and associated requirements for Guam including military construction.
Commander, U.S. INDOPACOM will have a leadership role in the GSOC supporting the co-chairs, as the combatant commander with responsibility for Guam.
Other members of the GSOC will include Under Secretary of the Army, Under Secretary of the Air Force, Under Secretary of Defense (Research &
Engineering), Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel & Readiness), Under Secretary of Defense (Policy), Director of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation, and the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)/ chief financial officer.
The GSOC will have a formal charter and will meet quarterly. Following each quarterly meeting, the co-chairs will update DoD leadership on key activities.