The Navy has signed off on plans to move 5,000 Marines to Guam, in an effort to rebalance forces in the Western Pacific and bolster air defenses and aviation capacity, the Marine Corps Times reported.
The move will include 1,300 Marine Corps family members.
The Marines are moving to Guam from Okinawa, Japan, where the U.S. military presence has been viewed by the Japanese as burdensome, the Marine Corps Times reported.
“The Marine Corps has a historic friendship with the people of Guam.”
- Lt. Gen. Ronald Bailey
“The Marine Corps has a historic friendship with the people of Guam,” Lt. Gen. Ronald Bailey, the Corps' deputy commandant for Plans, Policies and Operations, said in an Aug. 29 announcement. “We look forward to continuing that partnership.”
The 5,000-member force is a reduction from the original plan, which included 8.600 Marines, 9,000 dependents and 1,900 government workers to Guam by 2020.
After a second look at the plan, the Navy scaled back the operation and Japan’s government pledged to shoulder part of the cost.
The plan is to increase the number of Marines and dependents based in Guam each year through 2026. That is when the Corps expects to reach its goal of basing 5,000 Marines and 1,300 family members there.
The biggest increase will occur between 2019 and 2020, when the total number of Marines based in Guam will jump from 387 to 2,990.