Joint Region Marianas to Stand Up at Andersen AFB, Guam

Glacial Guam

Glacial Guam

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The Joint Region Marianas will stand up in January as Andersen Air Force Base officials will relocate installation management functions to the commander of U.S. Naval Forces, Marianas located on Guam.

This was a result of almost four years of planning to implement this change to the law as a result of Base Realignment and Closure Commission legislation in 2005.

To address concerns from base members, Andersen AFB leaders held two town hall meetings Nov. 21 to discuss issues base appropriated funded employees may face when installation management oversight and funding transfers to the Navy. Comparable meetings for nonappropriated fund employees are scheduled for Dec. 5.

The meeting was an interactive forum for Brig. Gen. Philip M. Ruhlman, the 36th Wing commander, to outline some of the details. During the briefing, the general explained the Joint Region Marianas structure and said the transition would be as transparent and uneventful as possible. While the majority of Andersen AFB civilian employees will become Navy employees, they will work in the same place, doing the same thing, for the same organization and boss. He also explained how he will continue to serve as both mission and installation commander for Andersen AFB, while acquiring a third “hat” as deputy commander of Joint Region Marianas.

General Ruhlman described the resources that would be transferred to the Navy. He said 49 installation support functions will move from Air Force to Navy running the gamut from fire protection and emergency services to children and youth programs.

During the meeting, civilian employees voiced a variety of concerns to include loss of jobs, retention of pay and seniority and if they had to physically move to Navy.

While the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s official guidance allows for reduction in forces and other force shaping measures, their unofficial stance has been to encourage joint bases to minimize or avoid these if possible, according to officials in the Andersen AFB Development Office. At present, there are no plans to use these measures as Andersen AFB stands up Joint Region Marianas. There will be no change in pay upon transfer to Navy.

Employees will transfer in their current position and be paid at their current pay grade and salary. Seniority relative to other employees will be determined after the transfer, and will depend on whether the employee remains in the existing organization or is part of a merged function.

Furthermore, as it stands today, no appropriated fund employees will have to move to a new duty location as a result of Joint Region Marianas implementation.

Andersen AFB officials will begin to transfer installation management functions to the Navy on Jan. 31, 2009, and is required to complete the process by Oct. 1, 2009. However, base officials expect the impact of this to be relatively minor due to the unique structure of Joint Region Marianas, whereby Andersen AFB retains its Air Force commanding officer and identity.
Jamie LeSard (AFNS)

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