Marianas Variety

Last updateWed, 12 Dec 2018 12am

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    Tuesday, December 11, 2018-11:35:12A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Mariana Islands Range Complex approved

THE multi-billion-dollar military buildup project on Guam will finally come to fruition with the signing of the Record of Decision for the Mariana Islands Range Complex four years after Japan and the United States agreed to realign their forces in the Pacific Region.

Neil A. Sheehan, acting director of the Department of Navy’s Fleet Environmental, announced the Record of Decision, or ROD, for the MIRC’s Final Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement, has been approved.

The environmental study for the buildup took two years in accordance with the mandates of National Environmental Policy Act.

Sheehan made the announcement to Senate President Paul A. Manglona, Ind.-Rota, the ROD was signed on July 16 and reached the CNMI on Aug. 5.

“After carefully weighing the operational and environmental consequences of the proposed action, the Department of Defense Representative Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia and Republic of Palau, announces his decision to support and conduct current, emerging and future military training and research, development, test and evaluation activities in the Mariana Islands Range Complex, while enhancing training resources through investment in MIRC,” part of the 63-page Notice of Record of Decision stated.

The Department of the Navy, the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Air Force, Guam National Guard, the U.S. Coast Guard and other users based and deployed in the Western Pacific will hold the training in the MIRC.

The Navy will be the executive agent to manage MIRC which includes parts of Guam and Tinian.

Alternative I was chosen to be implemented in the affected areas which will “include increased training as a result of upgrades and modernization of existing capabilities, training associated with intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and strike (ISR/Strike) and increased training associated with multi-national and/or joint exercises.

The ISR/Strike will involve hosting on a rotation basis deployed F-22 aircraft, permanently deployed air lift and refueling aircraft and the RQ-4 Global Hawk Unmanned Aerial Vehicle.

The land ranges of MIRC include DoD training areas and facilities  on Farallon de Medinilla, Tinian, Saipan, and Guam and non-DoD training venues on Rota and Saipan.

More than 6,200 hectares of public lands on Tinian are leased to the U.S. military.

The water surrounding the Marianas will also be used for regular drills like the submarine warfare, sonar technology development, among others.

Rear Adm. Paul J. Bushong, who signed the notice, said the Defense Department will continue to review operational procedures in addition to the specific mitigation measures identified in the ROD.