Funding for a new satellite communications facility in Guam is being diverted to pay for barriers on the U.S. border with Mexico, but the move could leave the base at risk of communications interruptions that would hinder operations on the battlefield.
On Sept. 4, the administration announced it was diverting $3.6 billion from 127 military construction projects to go toward 11 barrier projects along the southern border. Among those projects is $14.2 million for a new command, control, communications, computers and intelligence satellite communications facility at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam.
Funding for the SATCOM C4I facility was set aside in fiscal year 2017 to ensure that a diverse communications system would be available to support what’s needed on the battlefield. The current facilities “lack the redundancy and diversity necessary to ensure continuous communications operations," according to the Air Force fiscal year 2017 budget request.
Without this new facility, the Air Force claimed that Andersen’s communications were at risk of interruptions, be they man-made, technical or natural, and any interruptions could severely impact theater operations.
At the time, a contract for the facility was expected to be awarded by February 2017 and construction was slated to be completed by December 2018. According to a list of projects circulated by the Pentagon earlier this year, the estimated award date has since been moved to January 2020.