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Hawaii must prepare for move of up to 2,700 Marines, Inouye says

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 02:53 p.m. HST, Apr 24, 2012

The U.S. will move as many as 2,700 Marines from Japan to Hawaii as the Pentagon scales back a $21.1 billion blueprint for Guam, U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye confirmed today.

"This troop movement will occur after extensive discussions with the leaders of Japan and it highlights Hawaii's importance as the focus of our national defense shifts to the Asia-Pacific region," Inouye said.

The Pentagon is expected to announce as soon as tomorrow that it intends to send about 4,700 U.S. Marines now stationed in Japan to Guam, as previously reported, as well as the contingent going to Hawaii, according to two people familiar with the plan, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the plan hasn't been made public.

"There is a lot of work that needs to be done (in Hawaii) to prepare for their arrival," Inouye said. "We must build more housing, secure more training areas and improve and expand infrastructure while working with the counties and the state to make certain the Marines transition easily into their new duty station in Hawaii. The one thing I am confident of, is that the people of Hawaii will welcome these brave men and women and their families with Aloha," said Inouye.

Marines also will rotate through Australia, and hundreds will be stationed on the U.S. mainland, probably on the West Coast, the people said.

Under a 2006 agreement with Japan, 8,600 Marines and 9,000 dependents were to be transferred from the island of Okinawa in Japan almost 1,500 miles south to Guam, a U.S. territory in the Pacific, by 2014. Now, the Obama administration is seeking a less costly plan in a time of defense spending cutbacks even as its strategy places added emphasis on projecting force in the Asia-Pacific region.

While the number of Marines going to Guam under the revised plan was previously reported, the numbers to be based in Hawaii and the U.S. mainland hadn't been resolved.

"Since taking office, I have had discussions with officials from the U.S. Pacific Command in anticipation of a Marine transfer from Okinawa to Hawaii," Gov. Neil Abercrombie said in a statement. "I also met with Okinawa Prefectural Governor Hirokazu Nakaima on this matter when I visited in October," he said.

"As the Pentagon finalizes its plans, I believe the number of Marines moving to our state will increase and we are well prepared to receive them. While in Congress, I worked on key legislation that allowed for ample military housing. In my role as governor I am working to ensure that there is ongoing military and state cooperation to allow for a seamless and smooth transition for our servicemen and women and their families."

About 60 percent of the Marines going to Guam will be based in the territory temporarily, known as "on rotation," rather than being permanently stationed there, according to one of the people familiar with the plan.

Okinawans have long called for the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to be closed, citing crime and pollution. The Obama administration's plans to move Marine Corps expeditionary forces out of Japan are no longer contingent on progress in building a new site at Kadena Air Base on the island for Marine aviation units.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta phoned Japan's Defense Minister Naoki Tanaka yesterday "to discuss the realignment of U.S. forces in Okinawa and Guam," according to Navy Captain John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman.

"Panetta said he looked forward to an official announcement in the very near future outlining specifics of the mutually agreed-upon way forward," Kirby said in a statement posted on the Pentagon's website. Pentagon spokeswoman Leslie Hull said today she couldn't provide details beyond Panetta's call.

Japan's bill for the relocation of the U.S. Marines will be $3.1 billion in 2012 dollars, a reduction from that nation's initial commitment to provide as much as $6.09 billion to fund the move of some forces to Guam and to replace Futenma.

The Obama administration also is engaged in discussions with the Philippines and Australia as it seeks to realign forces in the region. Earlier this year, Philippine officials said they were seeking closer ties with the U.S., including a "rotating and more frequent" military presence to deter China from operating in disputed waters of the South China Sea.

The Pentagon's proposal to move Marines from Japan to Hawaii, Guam and Australia must be approved by Congress, and lawmakers may reject any plan until the Defense Department submits an independent assessment of its strategic posture in the Asia-Pacific region, three U.S. senators said in a letter to Panetta today.

Conditions set by Congress to move Marines out of Japan haven't been met by the Pentagon, Senators Carl Levin, John McCain and Jim Webb said. Levin, a Democrat from Michigan, is chairman of the Senate Armed Services committee; McCain of Arizona is the top Republican on the panel, and Webb, a Virginia Democrat, is a committee member.

"We require additional information regarding how this proposal relates to the broader strategic concept of operations in the region, the Marine Corps' concept of operations, master plans, and alternatives to base realignments on Guam and Okinawa, as well as the positioning of U.S. Air Force units in the Asia-Pacific region," the lawmakers wrote.

The senators said they understood the administration plans to announce an agreement on moving forces out of Okinawa in advance of a visit by Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, who is scheduled to meet with Obama on April 30.

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Maneki_Neko wrote:
Okinawans have long called for the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to be closed, citing crime and pollution.

In response, the US government moves the operations to Hawaii. Because actually dealing with the pollution and crime would be too much trouble and those folks in Hawaii won't mind at all. Or maybe the crime and pollution stays behind when people move?

on April 24,2012 | 10:16AM
butinski wrote:
The local brothers will deal with outsiders causing trouble. It won't be hard to identify them by their jarhead haircut.
on April 24,2012 | 10:40AM
Kapcity wrote:
A lot of times it could be the other way around...some local brothers act stupid and they get beat up by Marines.
on April 24,2012 | 04:39PM
Cubsfan wrote:
Very rare does that happen and I'm from the mainland hence I play no favorites.
on April 24,2012 | 05:39PM
allie wrote:
true..da brothers are as useless as a stuffed olive
on April 24,2012 | 05:48PM
allie wrote:
The cowardly local brothers are the problem hon. Not the marines
on April 24,2012 | 05:47PM
Cubsfan wrote:
I don't come on these boards often however every comments of an article I read you seem to be posting. Is your life that sad. Get out and enjoy life sometime.
on April 24,2012 | 07:30PM
IAmSane wrote:
I wouldn't mind the comments if they were even the slightest bit insightful. But, no, just one or two sentences of snark is what we usually get from her.
on April 25,2012 | 12:29AM
teejay wrote:
You and everyone else has benefited from these brave men and women in uniform for the last eleven years and yet you come across as some activist who can diss their service. Don't even go to the, "I wasn't taking about them!" crap because no matter what you say about this situation you are against the military. What have you done to serve your country that exceeds these patriots?
on April 24,2012 | 07:23PM
teejay wrote:
These marines have been protecting you and doing their job and you come out and automatically sterotype them and the logistical burden that comes with it. What have you done to protect our nation in the last ten years? What have you done to state your anti basing of more marines here? The true pollution is people like you who have done nothing for our nation and yet bitch about others.
on April 24,2012 | 07:32PM
joshislost wrote:
What you rather have them or the Micros?
on April 24,2012 | 08:14PM
lee1957 wrote:
So you believe the Okinawans?
on April 24,2012 | 08:43PM
The_Dude_Abides wrote:
Great. More crowding and traffic...Thanks.
on April 24,2012 | 10:22AM
HD36 wrote:
Can't afford to keep em in Japan, but we sent a bunch to Australia to check China, now we send them back to Hawaii.
on April 24,2012 | 10:43AM
lee1957 wrote:
It's not about the affordability of keeping them in Japan. The decision to move to Guam was strictly political, not economical. It's the move to Guam plan that is not affordable.
on April 24,2012 | 11:41AM
LadyNinja wrote:
IMO, any military that comes to Hawaii deserves our Aloha. These men and women fight for our country and freedom. How many of you forgot that? Hmmm.
on April 24,2012 | 12:03PM
honolulugal wrote:
Amen, LadyNinja.
on April 24,2012 | 12:19PM
butinski wrote:
You forget that there are a lot of losers in the military, just as in civilian life.
on April 24,2012 | 01:44PM
lee1957 wrote:
So one cross section of humanity will live with another cross section of humanity, what's the big deal?
on April 24,2012 | 08:46PM
dctaira wrote:
Just another ploy by obama to buy inouye's loyalty.
on April 24,2012 | 03:50PM
NiteMarcher wrote:
The US needs to cut back spending for the military. War mongering is just another way for war industrialists to make more money.
on April 24,2012 | 02:53PM
allie wrote:
Hawaii lives off of military spending. We thrive on war.
on April 24,2012 | 05:47PM
lee1957 wrote:
They are going to be based here, not invade. And the Marines are shrinking by about 30K. All we are saying is give peace a chance..................
on April 24,2012 | 08:47PM
9ronboz wrote:
Yes to more military personnel here! We can use all the help economically and for security.
on April 24,2012 | 03:08PM
Oye_Como_Va wrote:
Yeah, maybe they can help build new sewage treatment facilities and other basic infrastructure needs for the additional housing while we sweep the homeless out too where? Could it be another reason to have rail to transport the troop movement from the Leeward coast to the other parts of Oahu? Hmmm.
on April 24,2012 | 04:03PM
Changalang wrote:
Yup, best if any more war stimulus spending happen on American soil than in lost operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
on April 24,2012 | 04:30PM
Oye_Como_Va wrote:
Horahh! The people in Waimanalo should be pleased to hear this bit of news from the senior senator from Hawaii. Yes, they'll prepare themselves for the additional training in the Bellows area. Hey, maybe let them practice in the Waianae area or better yet, Waikiki. They could use Ft. DeRussey as their staging area the Army does need it..
on April 24,2012 | 03:56PM
lee1957 wrote:
They could use the inside of your head, that appears to be empty.
on April 24,2012 | 08:48PM
Changalang wrote:
Get ready for choppers all night long in the East. Got to hand it to Dan, he is still finding ways to bring Fed dollars here in these lean times.
on April 24,2012 | 04:03PM
cojef wrote:
Price of freedom doesn't come easy or cheap. Sacrifices will have to be made by one and all. We are in it together or we all lose.
on April 24,2012 | 04:45PM
allie wrote:
true. Let us welcome the business. We need help
on April 24,2012 | 05:48PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Nice cooperation with Japan. Long ways from hostilities during World War II.
on April 24,2012 | 04:53PM
butinski wrote:
Japan didn't want them. Now we're stuck with them. You can thank our senile senator Inouye.
on April 24,2012 | 05:36PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Japan did not want them? Let me try and read the article to see if it said anything about that in it. I think the article said that the Obama Administration was seeking a less costly alternative.
on April 25,2012 | 12:09AM
Manapua_Man wrote:
As much as I love our Military... I'm a bit hesitant to have more people on Oahu. Things are getting crowded as enough here already. How much more people can our infrastructure handle?
on April 24,2012 | 07:28PM
Dragonman wrote:
Japan does not want our troops in their country. The Filipino government kicked our military out of their country. China now claims ownership of the Sprately Islands and its rich mineral oil deposits. The Filipino government has no military to speak off and will need our help in dealing with China, and I would not be surperised if Japan will be asking the U.S. for help against N. Korea and China. Funny, no one wants us around until trouble looms on the horizon.
on April 24,2012 | 07:42PM
joshislost wrote:
Ill take 2700 marines that SERVE our country rather than 100 Micros
on April 24,2012 | 08:16PM
Eradication wrote:
If the U.S.had not polluted their islands with hazardous waste material so that they could actually live in their own homeland it wouldn't be a problem now would it?
on April 24,2012 | 11:16PM
joshislost wrote:
People that will put money BACK into our economy. Not ones that will continue to leach off of our government and our island. Did Hawaii bomb them? NOPE there are 49 other states. Must be related.
on April 25,2012 | 02:38PM
IAmSane wrote:
Wow, a random shot at Micronesians that seemingly came out of nowhere. I love this website.
on April 25,2012 | 12:35AM
joshislost wrote:
Not random people arent complaining about the micros who leach off this island and government. But yet complain about the people in our military
on April 25,2012 | 02:39PM
Eradication wrote:
Four Army installations (Schofield, Wheeler, Shafter, DeRussy), 2 Marine bases (MCBH Kaneohe, Camp H.M. Smith), three Navy installations (Pearl Harbor, NAVCOMSTA, Barking Sands), Air Force Base (Hickam), Pohakuloa Training Area, Bellows, Kahuku, etc. etc.,etc. I think Hawaii is doing more than its share of supporting the military. How about this, Montana, Nevada, Idaho, Arizona. I support the military but our infrastructure can not support 3K Marines and about twice as many family members. Where do you put them all? The military got kicked out of Okinawa because they did not know how to be good guests. What has changed?
on April 24,2012 | 11:27PM
Ronin006 wrote:
Moving 2,700 marines to Hawaii is a dumb idea. No live fire training in Makua Valley because it might cause harm to some sacred site, no night training at Bellows because it disturbs people living in Waimanalo and no more training of any kind on Kahoolawe, so tell us Senator Inouye, where will the Marines secure new training areas?
on April 24,2012 | 11:37PM
LittleEarl_01 wrote:
I am shocked that some posters seem to place our brave warriors, both men and women, in the category of second class citizens, yet are more than willing to accept the economic benefit of having them here. Probably the majority these posters have never stood a post in a combat area, slept in a rice paddy full of leaches, seen their fellow comrades blown to bits. You want them, via your elected representatives, to do your bidding yet seemly reject them as equals. SHAME ON YOU!
on April 25,2012 | 01:09AM
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