Thursday, October 08, 2009

Guam Buildup Scorecard - DOD: $734M; Community: $0

Guam Buildup Scorecard - DOD: $734M; Community: $0

Written by Jeff Marchesseault, Guam News Factor Staff Writer
Friday, 09 October 2009 06:05

Civilian Development Noticeably Absent From Massive List Of Guam Buildup Projects

By Jeff Marchesseault

GUAM - Sorely needed civilian-side development projects are noticeably absent from a $734 million list of Guam military buildup projects released to media yesterday.

The project rundown was issued in a news release from the Washington, D.C. Office of Guam Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo. The local buildup projects are part of the approximate $700 billion FY2010 Defense Authorization Act agreed to by a joint conference committe of House and Senate leaders yesterday.

The installation construction plan may come as welcome relief for anyone who ever hoped that the $15 billion, multi-year buildup would get off the ground with the necessary funding to kickstart first-year development in time to meet a stated 2014 deadline.

But it also flies in the face of anyone else who may have recognized the federal government's consistent lack of focus on, or monetary commitment to, Guam's civilian needs relative to the buildup. Absorbing the impact of 8,000 marines, their 17,000 dependents, up to 20,000 federal construction workers, their families, plus anyone and everyone else gravitating to Guam in search of opportunity in a freshly cash-infused economy is a tall order for Guam's strained and dilapidated infrastructure and utilities -- much less for the island's already underfunded public services and social programs.

Fortunately, local senator and Guam Buildup Committee Chair Judi Guthertz has just as consistently directed attention to the island's unpreparedness for the buildup

On August 12th, Guthertz confronted Members of a Congressional Delegation (CODEL) at a hotel luncheon during their visit to Guam.

As Guam News Factor then reported:

Among other issues, the lawmaker expressed that an Omnibus Appropriation measure would be most appropriate to address the needs of the civilian community and assist in preparing the island's island-wide infrastructure system. Sen. Guthertz told the CODEL that piece-meal legislation which parcels out small appropriations over a long period of time will not answer the needs that will appear immediately during the course of the buildup.

Sen. Guthertz expressed, "It is also not just or sufficient to require Guam to compete with the 50 states and the other territories for grants and loans for the above listed projects as if they are not absolutely necessary for a successful buildup."

However, on that same day, Congresswoman Bordallo, the CODEL host, disagreed with Guthertz' assessment. Here is what Guam News Factor reported in our August 12th CODEL analysis:

When asked whether her subcommittee would recommend the omnibus funding legislation now being called for by Guam Senator Judi Guthertz to help ensure adequate funding for a long list of projects related to the civilian-side of the buildup, Bordallo said she preferred piecemeal legislation. And she expressed confidence that all necessary funding would be identified and committed in due course.

Bordallo chairs the Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife Subcommittee under Natural Resources Chairman Nick Rahall, D-West Virginia, in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Minutes prior to Bordallo's stated preference for piecemeal legislation for Guam's civilian needs, Rahall had just told Guam News Factor that he would support Bordallo's funding recommendations, whatever they might be.

And at an afternoon news conference later that day, most Members of the CODEL supported Bordallo's assessment, stating that an omnibus appropriation for the buildup would be too difficult to pass through Congress, given budgetary constraints and the large number of committees involved.

At this juncture, Guam's call for adequate funding for municipal, civilian-side development that keeps up with the rapidly paced base-side buildup has gone unanswered.

Here is the Bordallo news release on the Department of Defense's Guam projects now supported by funding in the joint conference committee's Defense Authorization Act of 2010:

(*Note, this Defense-spending bill will now be sent to both Houses of Congress for final debate and voting, then to the President's desk for signature or veto.)

Conference Report Finalized On National Defense Authorization Act For Fiscal Year 2010

Bill Continues Rigorous Oversight Of Guam Military Buildup

October 7, 2009 - Washington, D.C. - Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo today announced that the final conference report for H.R. 2647, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 (FY10 NDAA), was signed by conferees this morning. The conference report has now been referred to the House Committee on Rules and will subsequently be debated and voted on by the full House of Representatives on Thursday afternoon. The House of Representatives is expected to pass the legislation. The conference report will then be sent to the Senate for their consideration and vote. No date has been set for the Senate's consideration of the bill. After Senate passage, the bill will be sent to President Obama for his signature.

H.R. 2647 authorizes spending and sets policy for the Department of Defense for fiscal year 2010. H.R. 2647 would also provide the Department of Defense with $550.2 billion in budget authority while authorizing $130 billion to support defense operations overseas. Servicemembers will receive a 3.4% increase in their pay, a 0.5% increase over the President's Budget. Moreover, the FY10 NDAA provides for significant military construction funding for Guam in support of the Guam International Agreement.

"The Congress is clear in its support for the military build-up on Guam," Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo said today. "The final conference committee report has significant funding commitments for military construction on Guam. More importantly, I worked closely with Committee leadership including Chairman Solomon Ortiz of Texas and with Congressman Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii to find a compromise on the matter of Davis-Bacon and limits on H-2 workers on Guam. We will not extend Hawaii's Davis-Bacon wages to Guam but we do have a provision that requires contractors to be diligent and ensure that reasonable efforts are taken to hire U.S. workers. The conference committee also adopted protections against worker abuses and enhanced reporting requirements on workforce issues."

"The defense bill also continues the commitment of this Congress to properly ensure that our servicemembers in harms way have the equipment and access to training that makes them so capable," added Congresswoman Bordallo. "We also continue to honor our commitment to the Reserve Components through substantial funding of the National Guard & Reserve Equipment Account. I supported, and the Congress authorized, the authorization for several programs important to the National Guard including the State Partnership Program and increase in the federal cost share for the Youth ChalleNGe program. These provisions demonstrate Congress's understanding of the important contributions of our citizen soldiers and airmen."

A table of the President's requests and a summary of Congresswoman Bordallo's requested and supported provisions included in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 are listed below.

Codifies the charter of the Guam Executive Council within the Department of Defense and makes the Deputy Secretary of Defense the lead agent from the Department of Defense for coordination of all interagency efforts;

Establishes an Interagency Group of Inspectors General to conduct and supervise audits and investigations regarding programs and operations related to the military build-up on Guam;

Extends Davis-Bacon wage protections to all military construction projects on Guam and requires the U.S. Department of Labor to conduct yearly wage surveys on Guam during the period of major construction for the military build-up. The provision does not tie Davis-Bacon wages rates on Guam to those set for Hawaii;

Requires contractors performing work on military construction projects on Guam to develop a recruitment plan that is submitted to the U.S. Department of Labor that details their efforts to hire local and other U.S. citizens and nationals. It also requires that the contractors submit a follow-up report that details why any U.S. citizen or national was not hired for a specific project. Finally, it also maintains the Governor of Guam's ability to certify the need for H-2B workers but he must submit an additional certification to the Secretary of Defense for military construction projects only;

Prohibits any inpatient fee increases for TRICARE beneficiaries for fiscal year 2010 and was added in response to recent Department of Defense announcement that it was increasing the inpatient co-pay by 20% for retirees on TRICARE Standard;

Parity for federal employees in Alaska, Hawaii and the U.S. territories by phasing out cost of living allowances and phase in locality comparability pay in place of the allowances. In particular, the language protects wages for federal employees on Guam;

Funds the procurement of 8 Joint Cargo Aircraft (JCA) for Fiscal Year 2010;

Requires the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to report on alcohol and liquor procurement policy for resale at commissaries and exchanges on Guam;

Suspends A-76 studies for three years until the Administration reviews the process and reports back to Congress;

Reauthorizes the Sikes Act for an additional five years from 2009 through 2013 which provides for cooperation by the Departments of the Interior and Defense with local agencies in planning, developing and maintaining fish and wildlife resources on military reservations throughout the United States (this provision also extends a requirement that DoD manage for invasive species on its installations on Guam);

Increases DoD funding support from 60% to 75% for the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program and allows the states and territories to include in-kind, non-cash support as part of the statutorily mandated State share of the cost of operating the program;

Requires the Secretary of the Army to report to Congress on the feasibility of establishing an Army National Guard Trainees, Transients, Holdees, and Students (TTHS) account;

Adds $600 million to the National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account and a total of $6.9 billion in National Guard and Reserve equipment for Fiscal Year 2010;

Requires a report on the implementation guidance for Special Purpose Entities (SPE) and also requires that all construction of facilities be done in accordance with U.S. building standards;

Requires the Secretary of Defense to report to Congress Grants the Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) with the authority to assist local communities with public infrastructure improvements;

Authorizes the Secretary of Defense to use Department of Defense funds to pay costs associated with the National Guard's State Partnership Program and requires the Department of Defense to prescribe regulations governing the expenditure of future funding for this program;

MILITARY CONSTRUCTION - The Conference committee fully authorized several projects on Guam and incrementally funded them for fiscal year 2010. Fully authorizing the projects allows each respective service to issue a contract for the total cost of the project and begin construction incrementally. Projects that were fully authorized were the new Navy Hospital at $446 million; Apra Harbor Wharf Improvements at $167 million; Andersen AFB North Ramp infrastructure improvements at $183 million and Andersen AFB North Ramp utility improvements at $101 million.

Fiscal Year 2010 Military Construction Authorizations, including branch of service, project, and cost:

Air Force
Andersen AFB - Commando Warrior Operations Facility

Air Force
Andersen AFB - Northwest Field Perimeter Fence and Road

Air Force
Andersen AFB - Northwest Field Combat Support Vehicle Maintenance Facility

Air Force
Andersen AFB - Electrical Infrastructure Hardening

Defense Logistics Agency
Agana Naval Air Station - Gas Storage Facility

Army National Guard
Barrigada Readiness Center

Marine Aviation - AAFB North Ramp Improvements Phase 1

Marine Aviation - AAFB North Ramp Utilities Phase 1

Apra Harbor Wharves Improvement Phase 1

Consolidated Training Facility

Defense Access Road Improvements

Military Working Dog Relocation

Torpedo Exercise Support Building

Navy Family Housing - Replace N. Tipalao Phase 3

Defense Health Programs
Hospital Replacement Phase 1

Grand Total: $734,154,000

No comments: