National Defense Authorization Act for 2014
Dec 11, 2013
Washington, D.C. - Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2014 contains a provision requiring the Department of Defense (DOD) to do a feasibility study on establishing National Guard units in American Samoa and the CNMI. The House is expected to vote later this week.
In the case of American Samoa, Faleomavaega has worked on this issue since 2004 with the late Senator Daniel K. Inouye and 2005 with Major General Robert Lee, former General of the 9th Regional Support Command.
As previously stated, “While I am pleased that the U.S. Congress supported efforts to construct a new $20 million U.S. Army Reserve Center in American Samoa, I am hopeful that the Congress will now give serious consideration to the establishment of a National Guard unit in the Territory as I believe that it is in our national interest for the United States to increase its military presence in American Samoa,” Faleomavaega said.
“During WWII, the naval station in American Samoa served as a critical refueling point for U.S. troops. With increasing tensions in the Asia Pacific region, now more than ever the U.S. needs to reconsider its relationship with U.S. insular areas in the Pacific.”
After many discussions and delays in Congress, in May 2013, the Congressman provided testimony before the House Committee on Armed Services where he urged the Committee to finally include language for a feasibility study for a National Guard in American Samoa. The Committee decided to include CNMI as well because it does not have a National Guard unit.
In June 2013, Congressman Bordallo offered an amendment at Faleomavaega’s request and the amendment was passed. The language is now included in the final bill to be considered.
A feasibility study is the first step for the establishment of a National Guard unit in American Samoa, and the conferees to the NDAA agreed to include language authorizing the study. The House is now expected to vote on the NDAA as early as tomorrow.