The Government Accountability Office in a new report on overseas master plans (see above) also noted that DOD has a ways to go in its planning effort for the buildup of military forces and infrastructure on Guam. The major portion of that buildup is the shift of some 8,000 marines from Okinawa to Guam, but there are other elements, as well, including much that affects Andersen Air Force Base. Andersen is slated to gain a permanent force of Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles and possibly other fixed wing aircraft and could host some new Army, Navy, and Marine Corps operations. GAO isn’t raising any red flags at this point. However, it notes that completing environmental impact statement could take up to three years to complete, and DOD is “still determining the exact size and makeup of forces to be moved to Guam.” In a side note: Andersen has just relocated and rededicated the plaque crafted more than 50 years ago to honor the base’s namesake, Brig. Gen. James R. Andersen. The plaque has been restored to a spot in front of the wing headquarters building.
The Air Force will begin its 71st annual Operation Christmas Drop on Dec. 4. The weeklong exercise is a yearly tradition that delivers supplies such as food, fishing equipment, school books, and clothes to remote islands in the Pacific. It is the longest-running Department of Defense humanitarian mission.