AS THE first $89.7 million in Japanese government-funded military buildup projects are being awarded, Governor Eddie Baza Calvo has written two powerful U.S. senators, requesting Congress to fund local socioeconomic improvements related to the buildup.

In a letter to Senators Carl Levin and John McCain, Calvo asked the lawmakers to reinstate $33 million for Guam into the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act.

“It is critical to American military, economic, political and diplomatic strength in the Asia Pacific Rim, the fastest growing region in the world. Guam, America’s westernmost community on the frontier of Asia, is at the center of this region and is

America's first line of defense in this region,” Calvo wrote.

The money will go to fund several critical projects:

? A repository for the proper handling and protection of cultural artifacts found as a result of military construction. This facility is mandated in the March 2011 Programmatic Agreement between the Department of Defense, Guam, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

? A mental health facility needed to address the increased demand for mental health care for the military population and veterans.

? More school buses that will be needed to handle the increase in the number of children of families moving to Guam to support the buildup.

At the center

“Cutting spending programs and services to bring the U.S. government to a more realistic and sustainable state of affairs is important, but it should not come at the expense of the security and regional presence of the United States. Guam is at the geopolitical center of the Asia Pacific Rim’s future and, therefore, the fast-approaching future of U.S. interests,” Calvo wrote.

Calvo asked the two “to be responsible in supporting the military’s mission to provide security for the nation and stability for Guam’s social and economic interests adversely impacted by the military’s ever-increasing role in the western Pacific.”

In other buildup news, the first Japanese government-funded military buildup projects have begun, stimulating the local economy and progressing the “One Guam” buildup, announced the Office of the Governor.

Last week, Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Pacific awarded an $89.7 million firm fixed-price contract to Hensel Phelps-Granite JV of Greeley, Colo. for phase one of utilities and site improvement (U&SI) work on Guam at Andersen Air Force Base in Yigo and Naval Base Guam at Apra Harbor.

“Our federal partners have once again demonstrated their commitment to a 'One Guam' buildup. These projects will create jobs, help local businesses, and stimulate our economy. I'm hopeful and confident the military will continue to fight for what's right: a buildup that builds up Guam,” Calvo said.

“Today is a testament to the power of collaboration. The relationship we have with Congress, the Department of Defense, and our local military will ensure this buildup progresses.”

This contract is funded by monies received from the government of Japan via the Mamizu funds as part of its direct cash contribution to the relocation of Marines from Okinawa to Guam. It includes site improvements, clearing, utilities, roadways and other improvements in support of building construction needed to support Marine Corps aviation and waterfront operations.

"This work is not only important for moving the military buildup forward, but it also will contribute to the island's economy," Rear Adm. Paul Bushong, Commander, Joint Region Marianas, said.

"The Navy looks forward to continuing its partnership with industry and the community to make the buildup a success for both the military and the people of Guam."

Contracts of this nature pave the way for future development which will stimulate the local economy and ultimately help local and national business. Site improvements such as roadways, sidewalks, gate houses, lighting, clearing, and leveling, filling and site remediation are needed first for each site to be able to accept facilities construction.

Work is expected to be completed by February 2014 and demonstrates the continued collaboration between DOD and the government of Guam in a commitment to a “One Guam” buildup.

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