Accompanied by a tight team of five officers from the U.S. Pacific Command Lt. General Dan "Fig" Leaf deputy commander of the command; flew into Guam on Sept. 11.

Leaf brought with him a power point presentation designed to share information on the Guam Integrated Military Development Plan with Guam’s top leaders and a variety of community groups. The plan details what is so far known about the move of 8 000 Marines and an estimated 10 000 dependents from Okinawa to Guam.

While Pacific Command awaits input from the Marine Corps on its intentions much direction "" if not specific details "" was shared. Plans for Guam for other branches of the military are already incorporated Leaf said but intentions to move Marine Corps personnel from Okinawa would be the first focus of military build up on Guam.

New construction is unlikely to start for two years Leaf said but renovation or reuse of facilities might begin earlier he said.

The possible use of foreign workers and resulting immigration controls additional contracting staff and civilian build up were also issues he said. Leaf told the Journal that the business community on Guam "has to help us find solutions."

The Department of Defense will make use of its existing properties for the build up and training. "We’ll put the ground and logistics elements and the headquarters elements in Finegayan " Leaf said. The Naval base can expect an embarkation point at Polaris Point for the Marines; an Army air defense capability possibly integrated with the Guam National Guard facility at Barrigada; and weapons training at Naval Magazine.

Branches of the service will combine their use of operational and training resources on Guam to include the Guam National Guard. "All of the bases on Guam will eventually fall under a joint base construct " Leaf said. He said that Air Force and the Marine Corps had agreed to integrate Marine barracks.

Facilities planning will be for the long term. Through the years Guam has seen a variety of increase and decrease in military assets on the island not least through the Base Realignment and Closure decisions. This time planning is considered Leaf said. "We want to make sure we can expand and contract [facilities] without being a house of cards."

Naval Facilities Marianas the contracting facility on Guam; will award contracts. Leaf counteracted rumors that contracts would be awarded out of Virginia. A Joint Program Office in Washington D.C. will address specifics of the plan Leaf said. "They’re going to be the key execution authority " he told the Journal. "The Pacific Command will have a Title 10 role throughout execution because we have mission responsibility for the region. But the specific facilities engineering programming and budgeting will reside with the Joint Program Office. We’ll continue to work together to be absolutely a part of this.

"The area I’d be watching with most interest if I was a business person or a government official on Guam is the development of the program office and see how they are structured and see how you will interact with them. They’re going to be a very important organization."

Utilities planning would affect military accounts and the local community

Leaf said "We’re going to have to be able execute infrastructure improvements to power water waste water solid waste IT [information technology] inside the fence line that can integrate with similarly necessary improvements outside the fence line."

The Guam plan allows for 3 500 housing units in the existing military "footprint". Japanese businesses have expressed a specific interest in constructing housing units on Guam while Guam has traditionally fielded a strong presence in construction. Leaf demurred on whether Japanese interest in housing construction would be successful. "Not all of their contributions are real money. Some of it are recoverable approaches to the cost." He also said he was unaware of other Japanese preferences but expected that those would be iterated.

"Not all the forces will choose to live on base " Leaf said. However he said "We know what’s happened here we know what’s happened in other places before in terms of off-base housing. We have a reasonable expectation. We have the ability to ensure that the capacity’s utilized."

Leaf did share information on housing and location. "The Air Force and the Marine Corps have agreed to integrate barracks " Leaf said.

Accommodation also confirmed for South Finegayan would be part of initial projects. "We will see what we can reuse " Leaf said.

Other plans Leaf touched on included the use of the Guam National Guard facility as a missile defense location and Andersen South as an urban combat training zone.

As the Journal revealed first (See "Navy plans bomb route with munitions highway " in the July 11 2005 edition of the Journal.) the military plans a munitions highway from Andersen to the Naval Base. Leaf said this was not part of the Guam plan. Nor he said was an aircraft carrier. "That’s a U.S. Navy decision." If the carrier were to be stationed on Guam this would be incorporated into the plan he said.

Citing the Northern Mariana Islands Leaf said "We need to do some training off-island "" that will be less basing and more training. There are some positive economic impact for that."

Leaf did not comment on estimates of additions to Guam’s civilian population of as much as 20 000 as a result of the buildup only saying that he did not know whether those figures were accurate or not. He also said changes in Japan’s government were unlikely to affect the transfer process.

Leaf met with the Journal on Sept. 12 early in his five-day visit and immediately after his presentation to Guam Chamber of Commerce members. Other groups that were scheduled to meet with Leaf during his sojourn included the Guam Contractors’ Association in conjunction with the Society of American Military Engineers. A Town Hall meeting open to the public was also scheduled at the University of Guam. MBJ