Aircraft carrier wharf construction in Guam in limbo

Bernadette Carreon – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Guam, United States (4E) – The military carrier wharf construction in Guam is in limbo, according to the U.S. Navy.

The construction is linked to the Marine Corps plan to move troops to Guam.

The proposed wharf, which would allow the Navy’s largest carriers to dock in the harbor, originally was part of the overall buildup plan to relocate Marines from Okinawa to Guam.

But the military has delinked the carrier wharf from the Marine move, and there is no definite strategy for wharf construction.

The target date for the Marine Corps relocation is moving toward 2015 while the plans for the carrier wharf remain unknown.

The military buildup will bring about 5,000 Marines and 1,300 family members from Okinawa to Guam.

, Guam, along with the rest of the Mariana Islands, is being prepared to be the westernmost military training range for the U.S.

The U.S. military has proposed to build a new aircraft carrier berth on Guam and to move 8,600 Marines, and 9,000 of their dependents, to Guam from Okinawa, Japan. Including the required construction workers, this buildup would increase Guam’s population by 45%.

With the proposed increased military presence stemming from the upcoming preparation efforts and relocation efforts of U.S. Marines from Okinawa, Japan to Guam slated to begin in 2010 and last for the next several years thereafter, the amounts of total land that the military will control or tenant may grow to or surpass 40% of the entire landmass of Guam.

In January 2011 however the Ike Skelton National Defense Authorization Act for FY2011 indicated that recent significant events will delay the deadline for realigning U.S. Marine Corps service members and their families from Okinawa to Guam. The transfer may be as late as 2020. In addition, the Defense Authorization Act cut approximately $320 million from the 2011 budget request.

If it is ever built, the Apra Harbor carrier wharf would allow the largest ships in the Navy to quadruple the amount of time they spend in Guam. Although options for the wharf were studied in recent years, the Navy never decided where to build it.

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