The U.S. Navy has awarded more than $1 billion worth of contracts and task orders for work on military bases on the Pacific Island of Guam, most for Marine Corps Base Camp Blaz, which is intended to accommodate thousands of Marines being relocated from Okinawa, Japan.

The U.S. Marine Corps has committed to beginning the flow of Marines from Okinawa to Guam roughly by FY2025, with the date of completion still to be determined. The Dept. of Defense has assessed the total cost of the Okinawa relocation at $8.7 billion, with $3.1 billion provided in contributions by Japan.

In April, the Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) awarded a $106-million firm-fixed price contract to a Black Construction-Tutor Perini joint venture for construction of a bachelor officer quarters with a multi-story housing tower, attached common area wing and detached utility building. That project is expected to complete in December 2024. 

A Black Construction-Tutor Perini joint venture also won a $73-million firm-fixed price task order in May for construction of an electronics-communications shop, auto maintenance shop, administrative space and other facilities at Camp Blaz. NAVFAC awarded three firm-fixed price task orders under a multiple-award construction contract to Gilbane SMCC ECC LLC for projects at the base, including $75 million for a maintenance building, administrative building and other facilities, $62 million for a Marine expeditionary brigade enablers facility and $35 million for a low-rise consolidated armory. 

Other work awards for Camp Blaz projects include $36 million to Hensel Phelps Construction Co. for a principal end item warehouse and $38.7 million to APTIM Construction JV for a police station funded by the Japanese government as part of the deal to relocate Marines from Okinawa.

Improvements also are in the works for Naval Base Guam and Andersen Air Force Base Guam. NAVFAC awarded an $83-million firm-fixed price contract to Black Construction Corp. in May for design and construction of wharf improvements at the naval base.

For Andersen AFB, NAVFAC also awarded a $43-million contract to Reliable Builders Inc. for construction of munitions storage igloos, a $27-million contract to a Caddell-Nan A joint venture for construction of an airfield damage repair storage facility and a $48-million task order under a multiple-award contract to Black Construction-Tutor Perini JV for construction of an aviation administrative building. 

More Guam military base projects are currently out to bid. NAVFAC is seeking contractors to build up to 178 duplex housing units for Andersen, a headquarters facility for Camp Blaz and a National Guard readiness center. NAVFAC has also issued an RFP from contractors for indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity multiple-award construction contracts worth a combined $2.5 billion, with the majority of the work expected to be for projects on Guam.

U.S. Dept. of Defense officials say they have committed about $11 billion in funding for military construction projects in Guam over the next five years. The projects are part of Defense Dept. plans to increase cooperation with Indo-Pacific allies to increase regional stability, deter aggression from China and dissuade North Korea from making threats, Assistant Secretary of Defense Mara Karlin said last year. 

During a press briefing in November, Karlin said infrastructure improvements were in the works for U.S. military facilities in Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and Australia.

“Those will include things more broadly like logistics facilities, fuel storage, munitions storage, airfield upgrades,” Karlin said. "So, we're doing a lot that will hopefully come to fruition in the coming years.”

NAVFAC also awarded indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contracts worth up to $995 million to six firms on June 2 for work in Hawaii and on Wake Island. Aaron Darley, NAVFAC’s Hawaii chief engineer, said in a statement that the contract will support initiatives like the shipyard infrastructure optimization program, Marine Corps force design initiatives and other military construction projects.

Officials say 10 firms submitted for the work. The awarded contractors include Hawaii Harbors Constructors JV of Aiea, Hawaii; Kiewit Infrastructure West Co. of Honolulu; Manson Construction Co. of Seattle; Nan Inc. of Honolulu; Nova Group Inc. of Napa, Calif., and The Dutra Group of San Rafael, Calif. 

Defense officials are increasingly concerned about China’s growing military presence regionally and globally. According to the Dept. of Defense annual report on security developments involving China, the Chinese military has extended its presence into the South China Sea in order to “coerce Taiwan and rival claimants in territorial disputes, counter an intervention by a third party in a conflict along the PRC’s periphery, and project power globally.” 

The Chinese military completed an extensive artificial manipulation in the Spratly Islands in late 2015, after adding more than 3,200 acres of land to the seven features it occupies in the island chain. According to the DOD report, these outposts have been equipped with extensive military gear that “allow the [People’s Republic of China] to maintain a more flexible and persistent military and paramilitary presence in the area.”