Guam & CNMI Military Relocation


Since 2002, the governments of the United States and Japan have negotiated a series of security agreements stipulating to reducing U.S. military presence on the Japanese island of Okinawa. The Guam and Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Military Relocation Project (“Relocation”) represents the Defense Department’s proposal to implement these agreements by relocating personnel from Okinawa to Guam.

As originally proposed in 2007, the project had six primary components, five on Guam and one on Tinian:

  • Relocation of more than 8,000 Marines and their dependents from Okinawa to Guam, including construction of a “main cantonment” and development of various training, airfield, and waterfront facilities;
  • Construction of landside and waterfront facilities necessary to accommodate a nuclear aircraft carrier on Guam, including extensive dredging of corals;
  • An anti-ballistic missile system on Guam;
  • Extensive utility infrastructure upgrades on Guam;
  • Transportation infrastructure upgrades on Guam; and
  • New live-fire training on the island of Tinian.

In its Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”), the Defense Department proposed to implement the “Training on Tinian” component of the Relocation project within the island’s existing Military Lease Area. At the time, however, military activity on Tinian was only occasional and largely limited to non-live fire activities. The Relocation project therefore represented a significant departure from the status quo.

In 2010, the Defense Department approved, in whole or in part, four of the six original components of the Relocation project, including the “Training on Tinian” project component. Decisions on the nuclear carrier and anti-ballistic missile project components were “deferred.”

A coalition of community and government groups then filed a legal challenge to a portion of the Relocation project that would have authorized live-fire training activities at Pagat, Guam. Rather than contest the merits of the case, the United States agreed to withdraw and reconsider training at Pagat in a Supplemental EIS. The Supplemental EIS also reconsidered several other aspects of the Relocation project, ultimately proposing substantial reductions in the number of Marines who would be relocated to Guam and the extent of transportation and utility infrastructure improvements to be made. The “Training on Tinian” project component was not reconsidered, however.

The Defense Department completed its Supplemental EIS and re-approved the Relocation project in 2015.

Additional information about the Relocation project can be found here.

The Relocation project involved significant new infrastructure throughout Guam, as well as new live-fire training ranges and activities within Tinian’s Military Lease Area

Project Effects

Effects Identified as Potentially Significant in EIS

Soil erosion, compaction, runoff, and related issues; termination of agricultural leases on Tinian; terrestrial wildlife and habitats; cultural resources; socio-cultural issues arising from DoD failure to establish a warm base; hazards and hazardous materials; environmental justice

Additional Areas of Concern

Failure to address impact on Tinian infrastructure; loss of public access to northern Tinian; DoD failure to provide detailed development plans

Timeline of activities

The following timeline pinpoints important milestones for U.S. military operations and proposals in the CNMI. As shown, the U.S. military has been a part of CNMI culture and economy for many decades.


The Covenant establishing the CNMI as a U.S. Commonwealth was signed by negotiators on February 15, 1975. Section 803 required that a separate Technical Agreement Regarding Use of Land To Be Leased by the United States in the Northern Mariana Islands be executed simultaneously with the Covenant.


U.S. Department of Defense, Military Training in the Marianas Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision (June 1999)


Joint Region Marianas (JRM) was established in accordance with congressional legislation implementing the recommendations of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission.


Mariana Islands Range Complex Final Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement, published May 2010.

The Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) evaluated global U.S. military strategy and priorities (Department of Defense 2010,, and called for development of additional training capabilities for unit, combined, and joint forces in the Western Pacific.

Guam and CNMI Military Relocation Final Environmental Impact Statement: Relocating Marines from Okinawa, Visiting Aircraft Carrier Berthing, and Army Air and Missile Defense Task Force Volume 3, published in July 2010


Training Needs Assessment: An Assessment of Current Training Ranges and Supporting Facilities in the U.S. Pacific Command Area of Responsibility (hereafter the “Assessment”) identified and validated unfilled training requirements for units/commands in the U.S. Pacific Command Area of Responsibility (Department of the , 2013,


Mariana Islands Range Complex Airspace Environmental Assessment/Overseas Environmental Assessment, published in June 2013.


The 2014 QDR confirmed the U.S. military’s continued commitment to rebalance the Asia-Pacific region, which is increasingly central to U.S. political, economic and security interests.


Record of Decision for the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for Guam and Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Military Relocation


U.S. Air Force (USAF) Tinian Divert Infrastructure Improvements Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS)

Mariana Islands Training and Testing SEIS/Overseas EIS, published June 2020

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