30 Dec 2013

US Air Force's Northern Marianas divert airfield closer

2:59 pm on 30 December 2013

The United States' National Defense Authorization Act for 2014 includes a provision of 29 million US dollars for the development of a U.S. Air Force divert airfield in the Northern Marianas.

The CNMI's delegate to Congress, Gregorio Kilili Sablan, has been working with the U.S. House Armed Services Committee to place some limits on the Air Force, as the question remains as to where this field will be sited.

The Air Force wants it on Saipan but the territory's government wants it on Tinian.

The new law also requires the Pentagon to report to Congress by June the 25th on the feasibility of having National Guard units in the CNMI and American Samoa.

The defense bill also includes almost 500 million dollars in spending for military construction projects in Guam.

The divert airfield is intended to be an alternative landing base for Air Force planes if Andersen Air Base in Guam becomes unavailable because of weather or war.