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)