We don’t want to fight to get to the fight. We want to already be inside so if there’s a conflict, the stand-in forces are already forward.Marine Corps Commandant General David Berger as the U.S. Marine Corps ceremonially opened it’s first newly-constructed base since 1952 in Guam.
Strategic Location: Guam is America’s westernmost Pacific island and sits about equal distance from Taiwan and Japan. It is located within China’s missile-strike range and likely within North Korea’s. The new base is intended to serve as a Marines’ hub for the area, and widely reported as a strategic move to counter China.
Why It Matters: The U.S.’ concerns about China’s military power and potential threats to nearby nations, such as Taiwan, have grown in recent years. The new base, which will house around 5,000 troops, allows U.S. forces to be closer to a potential conflict and be among the first ground troops to respond. Additionally, it will reduce the number of U.S. troops in Japan (which currently has about 18,000 U.S. Marines) amidst “at times … resentment“ from locals who want them elsewhere.
Important Context: This move has been “at least a decade in the making,” The Wall Street Journal explains. However, the idea for a new base gained momentum in 2018 when the U.S. national-defense strategy deemed China a pre-eminent threat to U.S. security and interests in the region. Both Japan and the U.S. are funding the base, though the U.S. covers most of the costs.
New U.S. Base on Guam Is Aimed at Deterring China (The Wall Street Journal)
For more history about Marine presence in Guam since early 1900’s: Marine Corps Base Camp Blaz Reactivation (Marine’s Youtube channel)
by Jenna Lee,