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Military agency begins EIS process for Guam missile defense system




By Pacific Island Times News Staff


The Missile Defense Agency will begin accepting public input on its plan to build a 360-degree integrated air and missile defense system on Guam amid the escalating security threats in the Indo-Pacific region.


The public comment period will begin May 5 through June 27.


“During these times of increased tension in the Asia Pacific region, the Department of Defense has assured me they will do everything they can to protect Guam,” Lt. Gov. Josh Tenorio said.


Tenorio said he was notified by Joint Region Marianas Commander Rear Admiral Benjamin Nicholson that the MDA's notice of intent will soon be published in the Federal Register.


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“This marks the beginning of the EIS process, which is a requirement of the National Environmental Policy Act," Tenorio said.


"Our administration will closely examine their plans as soon as they are made available, and the relevant government agencies will provide the appropriate responses. We also encourage the public to participate in the upcoming scoping process and provide public input,"{ he added.


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The agency's notice of intent also starts the scoping process, which involves a collaboration between the federal agency and the public to define the range of issues and potential alternatives to be addressed in the EIS.


Three scoping meetings are scheduled for next month. Scoping meetings will be held at the University of Guam Fieldhouse on June 14, Okkodo High School on June 15, and Southern High School on June 16, all from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.


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This is vital in terms of evaluating the potential environmental impacts and mitigation of deploying and operating the Guam Missile Defense," Guam Delegate James Moylan said.


"More importantly, it is critical to not only obtain the public’s input but provide some answers to the community. Our office continues to advocate increasing the budget of the Guam Missile Defense by $147 million to ensure we meet the recommendations of what the Indo-Pacom theater needs to accomplish its mission."


"It is also our office’s number one priority in ensuring that our community in Guam is safe and properly protected, despite the Biden administration's decision to shortchange this critical component within this region," he added.


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At the center of discussions on the proposed federal budget for fiscal 2024 is “the pacing threat, the pacing challenge of China,” the oft-repeated catchphrases that are driving Washington’s policy decisions and renewed engagement in the Pacific island region.


The Defense Department's $842 billion budget request is fueled by the U.S. military’s raging competition with the communist nation. The number represents a 3.2 percent increase over the current appropriation and is 13.4 percent higher than the fiscal 2022 level.


The budget proposal includes $9.1 billion for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative, which is 40 percent above the current level. Austin said the requested budget will boost a stronger force posture and better defenses for Hawaii and Guam, and strengthen cooperation with allies and partners there.




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