On Saturday night, the Singapore media broke the news to the world that Guam will be the third United States jurisdiction to host a detachment of Singaporean Air Force personnel and aircraft that need room for "permanent fighter training."
Singapore's The Straits Times was among the first to report that Singapore's Air Force will use Andersen Air Force Base and the skies and around Guam for fighter training. Singapore doesn't have enough room for such training, according to Singapore media, which quoted a statement from the U.S. defense chief.
Hours later, U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper formally announced on the Pentagon's website defense.gov that he and Singapore Minister for Defense Ng Eng Hen met Friday on the sidelines of the Reagan National Defense Forum in California. In that meeting, Esper announced both sides had signed "a nonbinding memorandum of understanding establishing a Singapore Air Force permanent fighter training detachment on Guam."
"The training presence, which will begin around 2029, will consist of approximately a squadron of aircraft and associated personnel, and include the construction of hangars, aprons, and support facilities for the detachment footprint," Esper announced. "The Singapore fighter presence on Guam will provide more training and cooperation opportunities that will improve the interoperability of our Air Forces and strengthen U.S.-Singapore defense ties."
Guam will be Singapore's sixth long-term unit overseas and the closest geographically to Singapore, Singapore's The Straits Times reported. Two Singapore Air Force detachments are based in Arizona.
Singapore also has a training detachment in Idaho, as well as one in Queensland, Australia, and one in Bordeaux, France, The Straits Times reported.
It would have been nice if the U.S. military had given Guam a timelier courtesy heads-up that this was coming down. If Singapore's public was given an early notice, it doesn't look well on the part of the U.S. military and its civilian talking heads on Guam to neglect letting Guam residents know ahead of time.
Many on Guam appreciate the military's role and presence on Guam. But when the military neglects common courtesy, it's tough to see the sincerity in its so-called "One Guam" promise.
"One Guam" was the promise by the U.S. military to be mindful of the civilian community's interest while moving on military missions to keep the world a safer place.
We get it. Guam plays a key role in balancing the security of the Indo-Pacific, especially in light of massive muscle-flexing by China. But that doesn't mean the local community should be disregarded and relegated to being an afterthought when major decisions are made that will put foreign military personnel and aircraft on the island on a longer-term basis.
Guam's civilian community has been a good neighbor to the military. The U.S. military owes it to its host community to be courteous and nice.