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Buildup on Guam deploys U.S. forces strategically, but farther from hot spots


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The U.S. military is moving ahead with plans for a major military buildup on the Pacific island of Guam. The strategic U.S. territory is playing a major role in the Pentagon's strategy of hedging against China's threatening buildup of forces and efforts to expand its hegemony over large areas of the region.



8,500 Marines are being deployed to Guam [ZOOM] from Okinawa.



Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn recently visited the island and commented on the buildup: “We need the right mix of forces to address the increasing set of security missions across the region,” he said.

Some 8,500 Marines are being deployed to Guam from Okinawa and U.S. Air Force bombers and Naval warships also are being sent to the island.


Lynn said Guam’s importance as a strategic location is increasing since it offers access to U.S. allies and potential hot spots throughout the region. Guam, however, is still some distance from key hot spots. It is 2- to 5-hours by air and two days by ship from Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Philippines, Indonesia and other key western Pacific locations.


“From bases here, our forces can ensure the security of our allies, quickly respond to disaster and humanitarian needs, safeguard the sea lanes that are so vital to the world economy and address any military provocation that may occur,” Lynn said.


Lynn said the Guam buildup is part of a larger U.S. military posture realignment in Asia with forces that will become more “geographically dispersed, operationally resilient and politically sustainable.”


Lynn, however, made no mention of China and the growing concerns about Asian states over China’s aggressive military posture in such regions as the South China Sea and Yellow Sea.


The buildup on Guam will increase the island’s population by 14,500 people by the end of 2011 and by 41,000 by 2016.


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