With the Pentagon’s increased focus on the Pacific region, and deployment of 60 per cent of its naval fleet to the area, the locations now being considered for bases could shape U.S. military policy for decades. Guam has been a prime contender for years, but a new report out by the centre of Strategic and International Studies could bring that plan into reality.
Brett Kelman at Pacific Daily News reports 109 unclassified pages of the document were released yesterday and outline a plan to move as many as 5,000 marines to the U.S. territory.
While this is a few thousand troops less than originally planned, the report also recommends bringing more weapons systems than originally called for.
If the White House agrees to the plan, which was drafted to reignite stalled efforts at a 2007 buildup agenda, the island could see three new submarines, a rotation of 12 B-52 bombers, and an extensive missile defence system to protect it all.
Already hosting B-52 rotations, Submarine Squadron 15 which includes three Los Angeles class nuclear submarines, and Naval Special Warfare Unit One which includes three SEAL teams — and a specialised group to deliver the SEALs into hostile territories — the additional buildup would make Guam a sizeable outpost in the Philippine Sea.
Guam is about 2,200 miles closer to Taiwan than Hawaii, already home to U.S. forces and the port facilities necessary to host and maintain fleet operations.
Given these considerations there seems little doubt that the island will see an increased U.S. military presence and we’ll follow this up when additional information becomes available.
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