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Last updateThu, 27 Jul 2017 12am

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    Tuesday, July 25, 2017-8:41:15A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

NMI, DoD Coordinating Council discuss priorities moving forward

(Office of the CNMI Governor) — Gov. Ralph D.L.G. Torres and Acting Assistant Secretary for Installations and Environment and Coordinating Council Co-Chair Peter Potochney announce the completion of the first CNMI-DoD Coordinating Council meeting as a result of the final 902 Report recommendations.

Based upon the preferred and agreed recommendation during the 902 talks to further discuss and find resolution on outstanding issues within the CNMI-DoD relationship, the CDCC further serves to ensure due diligence of current high level and future issues are discussed and developed in a balanced manner.

According to Governor Torres, maintaining a dialogue on key DoD issues especially with regard to the CJMT and Divert Airfield plans is crucial.

“This is a supplemental council that will oversee issues where further concerns need to be brought to a higher level with key stakeholders for resolution,” Governor Torres said.

Acting Assistant Secretary Potochney added that open dialogue to offer recommendations that reflect the needs of the community and the priorities of both sides is a long-term process.

“The CNMI-DoD Coordinating Council will improve communication channels and long-term goals,” Potochney said.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy Steven Ieslin, Mayor of Tinian and Aguiguan JP San Nicolas, Acting Assistant Secretary for Installations and Environment Peter J. Potochney, Gov. Ralph D.L.G. Torres, legal counsel Wesley Bogdan, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations, and Environment and Vice Chair Rich Hartley, Director of Pacific Division for Plans, Policy and Operations Gayle Von Eckartsberg, Commander of Joint Region Marianas Rear Adm. Shoshana Chatfield and Ginger Rice,  Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment assistant director, pose after the completion of the first CNMI-DoD Coordinating Council meeting.  Contributed photo

Governor Torres and Assistant Secretary Potochney pointed out that the CDCC will not replicate the 902 process.

“I have expressed to Assistant Secretary Potochney that the CNMI’s position is that this Council should first be established and functioning so that informed discussions concerning DoD matters can begin,” Governor Torres said, adding that he also informed Rear Adm. Shoshana Chatfield and Pacific Comand CJMT representatives on the initial process.

In a letter to Governor Torres earlier this year, Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work said the 902 consultations represented a significant foundation for improving communication between the CNMI and the DoD.

Work emphasized that the Coordinating Council will provide a forum for both the CNMI and DoD to have strategic-level, open, and respectful communication enabling DoD’s missions while preserving the CNMI’s culture, way of life and economy.

Designating the following for DoD membership to the Council, Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work will co-chair along with Peter Potochney, Acting Assistant Secretary for Installations and Environment Peter J. Potochney, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations, and Environment and Vice Chair Rich Hartley, Director of Pacific Division (Plans, Policy and Operations) Gayle Von Eckartsberg, Maj. Gen. Kevin Fenton, Commander of Joint Region Marianas Rear Adm. Shoshana Chatfield and other component representatives on an as-needed basis.

Governor Torres designated the following for CNMI membership on the CDCC, legal counsel Wesley Bogdan, Matthew Adams, Senate President Arnold Palacios, Tinian Mayor JP San Nicolas, Rota Mayor Efraim Atalig, and Northern Islands Mayor Vicente Santos as well as other key representatives on an as-need basis.

“The council will be better able to address communication shortfalls as well as the economic, environment and workforce development interests of the CNMI. Future policies and regulations will be discussed with due diligence in a fair and consistent manner in order to ensure the CNMI’s economic stability and our way of life,” Governor Torres said.