$160K contract for CNMI strategy on Guam buildup
Friday, October 16, 2009
By Haidee V. Eugenio
The government awarded a $160,000 contract to a private consulting firm that came up with a 77-page draft document on what the CNMI could offer the U.S. Department of Defense as the region prepares for a $15-billion, multi-year military buildup in Guam.
Commerce Secretary Michael Ada, one of the signatories in the contract, said the $160,000 contract was for Project Management Operations LLC “to provide the CNMI/Strategic Economic Development Council with a plan to present to DoD for potential and in depth uses for the CNMI in relation to the military buildup.”
“The plan was to look at what the DoD needs are, both logistically and operationally, and to identify the resources of the CNMI so that we may position ourselves to better avail of the opportunity that the military buildup presents,” Ada told Saipan Tribune when asked for the contract price.
Project Management Operations LLC, a Colorado-based global provider of project management and information technology operation consulting services, prepared the draft document, “A Strategic Approach: Utilizing CNMI’s Natural Resources to Provide Complimentary [sic] Support to DoD Guam.”
Today is the last day for public comment on the draft document, which is available on the Department of Commerce website, www.commerce.gov.mp.
Lt. Gov. Eloy Inos, in an interview yesterday, said there's no telling whether the $160,000 paid to the contractor is money well spent until the final product comes out.
Inos said there's no concrete plan yet as to what the U.S. military intends to do in or with the CNMI in line with the buildup in Guam.
“But I tell you this much: Until we know what we can do to support the military, then all we're doing is talking in the vacuum because it's a complex thing. A military situation involves logistics and other support, including non-military type of things like a venue for relaxation not only for the active military members but for their families. Because of our proximity to Guam, they can be up here in 30 minutes and they're home,” Inos said.
Inos also met with U.S. Navy Undersecretary Robert O. Work on Wednesday afternoon and 22 other military officials and personnel on Capital Hill.
From Saipan, Work and the team went to Tinian to take a look at the Tinian Northfield, and went back to Guam.
“It's a courtesy visit. And it's good because they assured us of assistance, and we told them that the CNMI stands ready to assist in whatever way we can,” Inos added.
In the draft strategic plan, the CNMI plans to provide operational support and services to Guam instead of viewing the neighbor island as a “competition” to maximize benefits from the relocation of some 8,000 Marines from Okinawa to Guam, some 17,000 family members, and up to 20,000 federal construction workers to the island.
Among these operational and support services that the CNMI said it can offer are providing airport and seaport facilities for deployment, training and relocation; provide ground forces training areas; provide storage facilities; provide solid food like “meals ready to eat” for military personnel; catering services; and lastly, provide a rest and recreation destination for military personnel.
The draft document's goal is to emphasize military opportunities associated with the regional buildup as the CNMI tries to understand how the military buildup can be beneficial to its people.
The CNMI, being a U.S. territory and its capital island of Saipan only 120 miles from Guam, can provide alternate airport and seaport facilities that could be used to enhance training opportunities for deployment training, and operations and maintenance logistics function, the document said.
In addition to the training opportunities, the airfield operations facilities, supported by the U.S. Air Force Guam operations staff, provide alternate hangar capacity in the case of relocation of aircraft and crews due to mission requirements and/or weather.