This website acts as a resource for those wanting to learn more about the growing U.S. militarization of the Mariana Islands, Oceania, and the global community. The Mariana Islands, including the surrounding sea and air space are militarized zones that are currently being used or planned to be used by the U.S. Military for maneuvering, training and weapons testing. Learning more about the scope of military plans in the CNMI will keep us informed about how our islands and people will be impacted by these drastic changes. We are all stakeholders in our futures, and none of us are exempt from the consequences of militarization.
"A social process...in which civil society organizes itself for the production of violence." It includes an "intensification of labor and resources allocated to military purposes, including the shaping of other institutions in synchrony with military goals." It also involves "...a shift in general societal beliefs and values in ways necessary to legitimate the use of force, the organization of large standing armies and their leaders, and the higher taxes or tribute used to pay for them" (Catherine Lutz (2002) in Making War at Home in the United States: Militarization and the Current Crisis)
By focusing on militarization as a "process," we can move away from the idea of war as a discrete event and instead focus on the "broader processes of war preparation and their implications" (Eyal Ben-Ari (2004) in Review Essay: The Military and Militarization in the United States).
Living in the Marianas, we need to ask ourselves how we have been impacted by U.S. militarization in our everyday lives and how we are part of perpetuating the process.. Are we privileging violence and war preparation at the expense of our cultures and community? Who is winning and who is losing in this extensive process of militarization? How has the military gained from the use and abuse of the CNMI's environment and people? Are we part of this abuse and how can we stop it?
Understanding the extent to which the U.S. Military is present in the CNMI
can help to clarify the scope of the institution's involvement in the Pacific region more broadly. Teasing out these differences is an important part of clarifying how the Mariana Islands are viewed by different branches of the military and for what purpose.
Currently, the U.S. Military has extensive plans mapped out in the CNMI. These include: A proposed buildup on Tinian and Pagan, Divert Activities and Exercises for Guam and the CNMI which includes changes to the airports on Saipan, Tinian and Rota, an increase in the the Mariana Island Training and Testing Area, which includes training and testing activities in the areas surrounding the CNMI, and lastly, the Mariana Islands Range Complex (MIRC) for Airspace re-designation which includes an extension of restricted airspace and surface danger zones for military use.
An Environmental Impact Statement or EIS is a "comprehensive public document that analyzes the impacts of a Federal action that will have a significant effect on the human environment.” The U.S. Military is therefore required to create an EIS for each significant impact that it plans to have on the islands.. One of the most recent EIS documents addresses the impact of a proposed military buildup on Tinian and Pagan.
The impacts addressed in each EIS are immense, and therefore need to be scrutinized in detail by agencies and the general public. Public commenting periods, which allow for the citizens of the CNMI to submit comments about the EIS documents, are an essential part of having our voices heard. These documents are a valuable resource to the local people of the CNMI because they chart out the military's proposed plans on the environment and how these changes will impact our people.
To learn more about the differences between Environmental Impact Statements, click here.