Hawaii Braces for Pentagon Budget Cuts

Image: Hawaii Braces for Pentagon Budget Cuts Two U.S. Marines of the 3rd Marine Regiment run past a CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter after landing at a live-fire training exercise at Marine Corps Base Hawaii.

Tuesday, 18 Mar 2014 08:36 AM

By Elliot Jager

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Hawaii is preparing for a $200 million cut in military construction, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

The impact goes beyond the military and affects the state economy. "We've lost more than 50 percent of what was anticipated to come in terms of our military construction," Democratic Rep. Colleen Hanabusa told the newspaper.

Local lawmakers have warned that Hawaii's role in any U.S. pivot to the Asia-Pacific region is undermined by such cuts, according to the Hawaii Reporter.

The cuts are part of overall reductions to the $495.6 billion Pentagon budget for 2015 announced March 4.

Among the projects that could be affected are Marine Corps Base Hawaii. Planned construction there included an operations center, enlisted quarters for 2,700 Marines who were to be relocated from Okinawa, and upgrading of the airfield electrical system. The base had been gearing up for a squadron of two dozen MV-22 tilt-rotor Osprey aircraft.

The Army's Second Stryker Brigade Combat Team at Honolulu's Schofield Barracks could be relocated off Hawaii in the new fiscal environment, according to the Star-Advertiser.

Non-construction projects on the chopping block include the "Starbase" military educational program in math and science for youth and the "Operationally Responsive Space" program run in cooperation with the University of Hawaii. Funding for the Maui Space Surveillance System will drop from $26.3 million to $14 million.

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