US Military seeks land from Guam
Guam has been a United States territory since 1898. The United States government has utilized the land and people of Guam since its incorporation for land and resources. It is a strategic point in the US’ territorial holdings and one that increases its military power. The US government holds it in part to watch over China’s military activities and developments and North Korean military tests. Military installations occupy 30% of the land. Its population is less than that of Akron, Ohio.
The military wants over a thousand acres of Guam’s forests to construct buildings for their usage. Firing ranges would be the main occupant of these buildings. Clearing portions of the forests native to Guam will have a negative impact on Guam’s environment.
The Missle Defense Agency under the US Department of Defense plans to use land in Guam to build a missile defense center. Its location would position it to defend against US adversaries that could launch a missile attack on US territory.
The indigenous practice of the Chamorros people of maintaining the forests will suffer. Many culturally significant sites to the Chamorros are in these forests. Local residents of Guam have taken to the streets and questioned the US military’s presence in Guam. Some have derided its presence as colonial and unwelcome due to the environmental impact on the fragile ecosystem. The discovery of ancient artifacts on many military construction sites aids this sentiment.
The military plans to move thousands of servicemembers to Guam from Okinawa, Japan. The leading cause of the move is unrest over incidents caused by members of the military and concerns from the Japanese government about the US presence in Japan. The relocation began in the first half of the 2020s. In total, about five thousand servicemembers will be moved to Guam. This will place a strain on its natural resources and an ecosystem that already hangs in a precarious balance. It leads to increased militarization in the surrounding region due to the increased presence of US weaponry and military members.