DOD working to ensure enough labor for Tinian divert projects


TINIAN—To head off the lack of workers for shovel-ready projects on Tinian, the U.S. Department of Defense is right now working with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to secure labor ability for all the construction work that is going to happen at the Tinian airport and seaport.

Without elaborating on the specifics, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Allison R. Sands, who was on Tinian last week to sign a 40-year lease agreement with the Commonwealth Ports Authority for the U.S. Air Force’s divert airfield, said they are working with DHS to find ways to ensure there will be enough workers.

“We’re very cognizant of the fact that there is a demand on labor,” Sands said.

She pointed out that, with the signing of the lease accord last week, there is a $400 million worth of construction that is going to happen at the island’s airport and seaport to prepare for the divert activity.

The 40-year lease agreement itself for the U.S. Air Force’s divert airfield is worth $21.9 million.

Sands did not elaborate on where and how they would get enough workers for such big construction works on Tinian but one of those projects is a fuel pipeline that would run from the seaport to the airport.

Sands said the pipeline would help commercial planes have access to fuel at the Tinian airport, which they don’t have today.

The lease deal will allow the Air Force to use Tinian as an alternative landing site for its planes—divert airfield—in case Andersen Air Force Base in Guam is inaccessible due to war or calamities.

The divert airfield project is expected to spur economic activities on the island as it will directly benefit the people of the island through infrastructure improvement of the airport and seaport, public roads, and community facilities.

Sands was among the signatories of the divert airfield lease agreement.

Tinian Mayor Edwin Aldan earlier stated that the impact to the island’s economy will be huge during the construction period of the divert airfield and its related projects.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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