Air Force Bolstering Andersen's Survivability
Key to the Defense Department's "rebalance"
to the Asia-Pacific region is the beddown of US military assets, particularly on
the island territory of Guam, which hosts Andersen Air Force Base. US Pacific
Command officials have noted they are proceeding
with initiatives to make the island more resilient against potential attack,
and Air Force senior officials have begun to detail these plans. Kathleen Ferguson,
the Air Force's acting assistant secretary for installations,
told lawmakers on April 12 that the Air Force is committed to hardening "select
hangars" as part of the Pacific Airpower Resiliency initiative. In Fiscal 2014,
the Air Force also plans to invest in building a Silver Flag fire and rescue
training facility and a RED HORSE engineer operations facility on Guam to promote
the skills necessary to maintain and recover basing in forward locations, she
noted. Air Force Secretary Michael Donley and Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh also told lawmakers on April 12 that hardening
and dispersal activities will ramp up on Guam. "This is not a choice
between dispersal or hardening, it's a combination of factors that will help
make our bases . . . resilient in any number of threat scenarios," Donley told
the House Armed Service Committee. "Andersen is a very important asset to
us," added Welsh. If the US military expects to survive an attack and
continue to operate from there, "hardened facilities will be
mandatory," he said. (Ferguson's prepared testimony)
—Marc V. Schanz
In More Depth
|Gates Versus the Air Force
In his book, “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War,” former Defense Secretary Robert Gates describes the Air Force as “one of my biggest headaches”—a perception USAF leaders were never able to turn around during his tenure.
A Systemic Problem
Air Force Secretary Deborah James acknowledged the Air Force does “have a systemic problem” within its nuclear forces, though she said she is confident the mission itself remains strong.
The A-12, Settled At Last
After a 23-year seesaw legal battle in which both sides were at some point “up” by more than a billion dollars, the Navy and its A-12 contractors have put the A-12 controversy to rest with a settlement.