From a weeklong trip to Washington D.C., Gov. Juan N. Babauta will stop by Hawaii for two days to meet with local and federal officials to discuss certain issues, including the proposed creation of a National Guard in the CNMI.
“I intend to stay there for two days to follow up on National Guard before flying back to Saipan,” he said Sunday.
While in Hawaii, the governor said he would also meet with some staff of the office of Gov. Linda Lingle.
Babauta is set to be back on island on Thursday.
In efforts to get the support of the U.S. Congress for the creation of the CNMI’s own National Guard, Babauta formed last month a task force that would determine the viability of the proposal.
He appointed former Supreme Court Associate Justice Edward Manibusan to chair the Task Force. Its members include Deputy Police Commissioner Franklin Babauta, Saipan JROTC head Tony Cabrera and the JROTC head from Tinian.
For its initial task, the team would be holding a series of meetings with the Guam National Guard Adjutant to discuss the militia’s composition, organization, and other pertinent matters.
The task force would also submit a study on funding needs: how it could be funded, whether the CNMI population base could support it, and how many senior and junior high school students would be participating and later move up to the U.S. military.
The governor would then submit these to the U.S. Congress in support of the CNMI’s bid for its own militia.
The administration hopes that the CNMI National Guard could be included in the U.S. FY 2005 budget under the National Defense Appropriation.
Budget deliberation in the U.S. begins about August this year.
The CNMI is one of the last members of the U.S. political family that still lacks its own National Guard.
Guam receives $32 million for its National Guard.
The CNMI hopes that even half of the appropriations allotted to Guam could be allocated to the Northern Marianas.
In 2003, the U.S. House of Representatives junked the proposed creation of the CNMI National Guard due to budget constraints and doubts over the CNMI’s ability to form its own unit given its small population.
The proposal required an estimated $275 million to set up a unit in the CNMI.
Babauta has been pushing for the CNMI’s National Guard to enhance local security.
The local Legislature had enacted a law, Public Law 13-32, authorizing the creation of the militia unit.