WASHINGTON – The U.S. Defense Department is considering shifting some of the 8,000 marines stationed in Okinawa to Hawaii and other Pacific areas instead of Guam, according to Pentagon sources.
The sources said Tuesday officials are contemplating transferring about 3,000 marines to those locations because Guam, which is geographically close to China, is vulnerable to a catastrophic attack.
Realignment of the Okinawa marines is part of a deal involving the relocation of the Futenma air base from Ginowan to a less-populated part of Okinawa Island.
The Pentagon recently released a new defense strategy with more focus on the Asia-Pacific area.
In the face of growing military activity by China, the Pentagon believes it is better to disperse the marines across a wide area, the sources said.
Another factor behind the change in the realignment plan is growing congressional pressure on the Obama administration to address rising construction costs amid budgetary constraints in the United States.