Senators Propose Partial Kadena-to-Guam Shift

Three Senators well-versed in national security topics are calling on the Defense Department to consider the feasibility of shifting some Air Force assets from Kadena Air Base on the Japanese island of Okinawa to Andersen AFB, Guam, and/or other locations in Japan. It’s one of the proposed changes to the Pentagon’s plans to realign US military forces in East Asia that Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), and Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) have put forth. The current realignment plans “are unrealistic, unworkable, and unaffordable,” stated the three lawmakers in a joint release. Dispersing Kadena personnel and aircraft to Guam and/or other parts of Japan is part of the Senators’ broader recommendation to move Marine Corps assets at MCAS Futenma, Okinawa, to Kadena, with the net effect of reducing the US footprint on the island. The three Senators also advocated Wednesday placing on hold any shift of US forces in South Korea and revising the initiative to establish a large marine presence at Guam. Levin chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee; McCain is its ranking member. Webb, a SASC member, oversees East Asia affairs for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. (See also Pacific Daily News report.)