SEDC praises CNMI planning guide for Guam's buildup
Thursday, November 19, 2009
The CNMI Strategic Economic Development Council recently received a final copy of the CNMI's Planning Document titled, “A Strategic Approach: Utilizing CNMI's Natural Resources to Provide Complementary Support to DoD,” prepared by Project Management Operations, LLC and paid for through the Office of Insular Affairs.
The report was prepared at the recommendation of former Assistant Secretary of the Navy, BJ Penn, in his visit with the Governor's Strategic Economic Development Council. While the SEDC requested the grant funding, the CNMI Department of Commerce was responsible for administration of the grant and oversight of the contracted work.
The planning document was paid for through a technical assistance grant from OIA and was awarded to the Colorado-based company. Project Management Operations provided access to a military planner who was familiar with Defense requirements, particularly in areas of Base Realignment and Closures.
“I took the recommendation of the Secretary Penn and advised our SEDC to ensure that we develop a marketing plan, which highlights specific uses of the CNMI's human resources, infrastructure, and natural resources,” said Gov. Benigno R. Fitial. “I required the solicitation of the public in the final submission of the report and asked that various dynamics were taken into consideration in the development of the plan. This planning document is a good starting point for meaningful discussions with our partners in Guam and in the Department of Defense about the realistic uses of the CNMI in the much anticipated military buildup.”
“The report defines exactly what Governor Fitial directed the SEDC to develop. It provides us with insight as to what the Department of Defenses' requirements would be along with the potential uses for the CNMI in an effort to fill those needs,” said SEDC chair Bob Jones.
“The primary purpose of the report was to provide the CNMI with direction on what we realistically could provide the Department of Defense with in terms of resources. We knew that we would have a tough time competing with Guam, so we took the approach that we should try to support Guam for areas of DoD needs which provided a natural fit with our resources,” said Commerce Secretary Michael Ada.
The document was highlighted in yesterday's Military Symposium and has been shared with various Defense agencies, all of whom have expressed the value of having such a document.
“The CNMI has been working quietly on its approach to the military buildup in a way that builds partnership with our neighbors in Guam and the Department of Defense. We have been working with the Office of Economic Adjustment, under DoD, as well as various officials from Naval Facilities, and the Joint Guam Program Office,” said Ada.
The report provides the CNMI with “Talking Points” that speak directly to known defense needs.
“This dynamic allows the CNMI to begin the dialogue with the Department of Defense on their specific needs and how we can service those detailed needs,” said Jones.
“I am extremely pleased at the effort of the SEDC to heed the recommendation of former Assistant Secretary Penn. This planning document is the first CNMI produced document that speaks directly to the military buildup. While much has been said about what is going to happen, we took the approach of providing solutions to the needs of the Department of Defense,” said Fitial. (PR)