The Defense Policy Review Initiative was the beginning of a long, drawn-out process to get where we are today for a military base that has drawn attention from the moment it was solidified beyond the point of return.
The Journal has written about the repeated delays and the issues through the years that the move of U.S. Marines from Okinawa to Guam have encountered.
From talk of whether the Marines should go to Guam, to funding, to finally making significant inroads into Japanese funding or mamizu money — the base is now halfway home.
In 2023 Marine Corps Camp Blaz is a reality.
What it brings is an inevitable focus on both the Marine Corps and the island of Guam. This is after all the first new U.S. base in decades and the island is in the spotlight.
In today’s world, there should be no pulling up the drawbridge by the U.S. military and isolation or aloofness, and there is not. Similarly, island concerns need to be thoughtfully voiced.
And that is a process we are seeing mutually accommodated.
We have made significant inroads on communication, mutual desires and sometimes accommodation of individual ones.
We are all also people. On Guam a military uniform is nothing new and in the islands conversations and smiles as we go about our errands, stand in line, or chat with neighbors are a part of our culture that arrivals adapt to positively and quickly.
Of course, it is equally essential that media are engaged and that is also occurring on many levels.
We do not have to list the advantages that will come to Dededo, or the advantages that will come for a base with being sited in a U.S. territory, and a special one like Guam.
Geopolitical tensions are a reality, but it has ever been so somewhere in the world.
Those tensions need to be faced, and they are part of the discussion too. mbj