The Air Force has a number of initiatives planned to bolster the resiliency of Andersen AFB, Guam, one of its strategic hubs in the western Pacific, Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz, told lawmakers last week. For Fiscal 2012, plans are in place to harden infrastructure there, Schwartz told the House Appropriations Committee’s military construction panel. “That includes both facilities and, importantly, utilities,” such as “making sure that we have some redundancy and resilience in the fuel supplies,” said Schwartz. He said there also are plans to disperse Andersen assets “at outlying locations around Guam” in time of conflict. The Air Force has earmarked “to the tune of $25 million” next fiscal year for those two efforts and a similar amount in Fiscal 2011. On top of that, Schwartz said there’s “about $147 million” programmed in Fiscal 2012 for a munitions facility, an aircraft rinse and wash facility, and a fuel maintenance facility. Such infrastructure is needed “to operate a major airdrome like Andersen . . . in a tropical area,” he said during his testimony April 7. (See also Hardening Times in the Pacific and Sheltering Pacific Mammoths)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.