Scoping period extended to Aug. 11
By Mar-Vic Cagurangan
The House Armed Services Committee is seeking a report from the Missile Defense Agency on anticipated munition requirements for Guam missile defenses and the related deployment schedule for the proposed new system.
Rep. Dale Strong (R-Ala.) proposed the reporting requirement through an amendment introduced into the committee’s version of the 2024 National Defense Authorization bill approved on June 22.
Guam Del. James Moylan added an amendment requiring a report by March 2024 and a subsequent briefing to Congress by November detailing the operational concept that will explain how the missile defense system will defend the island.
The committee is also requiring the Secretary of Defense to determine whether or not the Pentagon has adequate resources and capabilities to defend its bases in the Indo-Pacific amid growing threats from China.
The Pentagon is proposing to invest $1 billion to build an integrated air and missile defense architecture on Guam. The system, targeted for completion by 2026, includes multiple mobile components, such as a sensor, command and control, and interceptors that will be located across the island.
Guam residents have until Aug. 11 to comment on the MDA’s environmental impact statement related to the missile defense architecture.
The original scoping comment period was initially scheduled to close on June 27, but the MDA extended the process as the island is still recovering from Typhoon Mawar.
According to the governor’s office, the administration is preparing to collate comments from all relevant agencies that may be impacted by the proposed project.
“The government of Guam will also be providing input in the areas of environment, socioeconomics, infrastructure, economics and labor and workforce development,” the governor’s office said.
Guam officials said the government currently has limited information on the proposed missile defense architecture.
The exact details of the Missile Defense Agency’s plans have not been released to the public or to the Leon Guerrero-Tenorio administration,” the governor’s office said. “The only information the administration has with regard to DoD’s missile defense plan is the information that DoD has already made public.”
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Earlier, the MDA said the Department of the Navy will consider expanding its footprint to meet the strategic requirements of building the multiple components of the Guam missile defense system.
The federal government owns about 49,000 acres of land on Guam, roughly a third of the island.
“In the event where DoD property is not available to strategically locate the components on DoD properties or where buffer and safety zone arcs encroach on non-federal properties, acquisition of appropriate real estate interests on non-federal property may be needed in a few areas. Site selection is evolving and additional sites may be considered,” the MDA stated in its notice of intent posted on the Federal Register.