'Guam left out of the loop on military buildup planning'
Thursday February 7, 2008
By Mar-Vic Cagurangan
Variety News Staff
GUAM is groping for detailed information about the military buildup. Coordination between the civilian and the military communities doesn't exist and a two-way communication doesn't occur. The source of funding for infrastructure developments is unknown.
These are among the several complaints that Sen. Judith Guthertz, D-Mangilao, relayed to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, in a response to a set of questions provided by GAO analyst Jamilah Moon.
Guthertz said the senators' meetings with Navy officials in the past had been "a one-way communication event."
"Since then, there have been absolutely no meetings between the senators and the military installation commander," Guthertz said.
Guthertz complains about the limited role of the civilian components of the Civilian-Military Committee.
"The military has its own planning committees and it is developing its master plan but there is no government of Guam representation on those committees," Guthertz said.
"The civilians are operating in the dark and in a planning mode only," she added.
Guthertz is also protesting the military's refusal to coordinate infrastructure needs with the civilian community.
"The military is supposedly developing, without civilian participation or observation, its next iteration of the master plan. When they did brief the civilians on the state of their master plan, it was all labeled as 'pre-decisional' and not suitable for any planning by the civilian community of government," she said.
The senator said she was frustrated by the military's refusal to provide Guam with pertinent data related to the military expansion plan.
But what frustrates her more, she added, is the "lack of assertiveness" on the part of the local government to demand these data and to acquire federal funding.
The senator said due to the limitations of the information that the military provides to the civilian population, Guam can't finalize its plans.
"Various plans have been developed but they are all tentative, awaiting data from the military," Guthertz said.