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Guam needs $60 billion in 10 years for defense beef-up and typhoon recovery


Housing facilities at Andersen Air Force Base were damaged by Typhoon Mawar in 2023. Photo courtesy of FEMA

By Pacific Island Times News Staff


Building a resilient Guam requires $60 billion over the next 10 years, according to U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, citing the Joint Region Marianas’ estimate.


The estimated costs, Wicker said, include the defense infrastructure’s recovery from Typhoon Mawar, expansion and hardening of facilities and completion of the defense system for the island.


“Commanding and controlling a war in the Pacific would stress even the best-designed command and control system, which is not what Indo-Pacom possesses today. The command will need new general and flag officers, along with a significant staff,” Wicker said in a white paper released this week.


The white paper noted the significant challenges facing Guam, such as the limited workforce, overcrowding, lack of adequate basic infrastructure, and “onerous” environmental requirements for military construction.


“Likewise, it is inexplicable why billions of dollars of executable investment remain unfunded. If the United States cannot fight from the first and second island chains in the Indo-Pacific, our military will not have a standing chance against Chinam” Wicker said. “Within the second island chain, Guam is a linchpin node for U.S. forces.”

 

He noted that the U.S. conventional and nuclear deterrence in the Western Pacific is eroding while the Chinese Communist Party is preparing for war.


"There is no time to waste, and no reason why it should take years to repair the airfields at Tinian or the new enhanced defense cooperation agreement sites in the Philippines," Wicker said.

 

He urged the Pentagon to prioritize focus and investment "on key enabling infrastructure in the Western Pacific so those capabilities can be effectively employed."


"As Admiral (John) Aquilino has repeatedly emphasized over the past three years, putting the U.S. military in a sustainably advantageous position in the Western Pacific will require tens of billions of dollars over the next five years. There is simply no way to maintain U.S. influence from afar in the Pacific," Wicker said.



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