Following months of dialogue regarding the placement of the U.S. Air Force planned Divert Activities and Exercises Initiative, the U.S. Air Force has signed the Record of Decision to select Tinian International Airport as its location.
The selection of Tinian to be a part of the divert and activities initiative follows a comprehensive review through the National Environmental Protection Act, the CNMI Final Environmental Impact Statement, and a series of high level conversations with the CNMI government.
“It has been a long process,” said Gov. Ralph DLG Torres who is in Hawaii currently meeting with Gen. Anthony Crutchfield. “From the very beginning we were insistent that Tinian be the selected alternative to support the Tinian airport and economy, while preserving the economic importance of the Saipan airport to the overall CNMI economy.”
Torres added, “I am very grateful that the Department of Defense, the U.S. Air Force, and Gen. Crutchfield were willing to hear our concerns about their plans, meet with me on a regular basis, and select the location that we felt would be in the best interest of both our people in the CNMI and our national security interests.”
With the selection of Tinian International Airport, the facilities will now start the process of being equipped to support a cargo, tankers, and similar aircraft and personnel support to meet the divert capabilities in the region.
“There has been a great deal of hard work put in by the CNMI to ensure that this will be beneficial to the people of Tinian and the collaboration we have shared with the Department of Defense underlines the fact that, as Americans, we care for the security of our nation and that, if done with consideration for the needs of the people of the CNMI, partnerships can work in all of our interests,” Torres said. (PR)