Final Programmatic Agreement: Section 2

Posted on Feb 22 2021

Last week we briefly discussed Section 1 of the Final Programmatic Agreement, attempting to revisit what this all means. Today, we look at section two of the PA to extract some additional observations to help further demystify and understand this document.

Time to stipulate

Section 2, which runs between 11 and 12 pages, is labelled the “stipulation” section, and outlines the process, decision, and behavioral guardrails of signatories to the “agreement.” Twenty different subsections are contained in this section and they are: 1) standards, 2) other agreements, 3) area of potential effects, 4) training and testing reviews, 5) general mitigation measures, 6) documentation, 7) identification of historic properties, 8) discoveries and emergencies, 9) general stipulations, 10) review, 11) objections, 12) resolving objections, 13) amendment, 14) extensions, 15) termination, 16) failure to carry out agreement, 17) duration, 18) anti-deficiency act, 19) severability, 20) execution of this programmatic agreement. 

How many people really understand each of these subsections? Does each subsection reflect some, several, or most concerns of our ancient Chamorro Pacific Islander civilization? Do villagers really understand what the Final PA is all about? If the answer is “no” or “maybe” or “kind of” to any of these questions, then additional public hearings and public conversations should continue along with discussions on how to introduce additional changes to the document.  

Notes on some particulars

Several American national legal statutory references are cited that include the following: Anti-Deficiency Act; 36 CFR 800.3 through 800.13; 36 CFR Part 63 & Part 800; National Register of Historic Places; Archeology and Historic Preservation; Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and Guidelines, 48 FR 44716-42; National Historic Preservation Act Sections 304, 106 and 110(f), Archeological Resources Protection Act; Traditional Cultural Property; and the Secretary of the Interior’s Historic Preservation Professional Qualification Standards, 62 FR 33712 & 33708.  

The standards, general mitigation measures, discoveries and emergencies, general stipulations, and the resolving objections subsections take up most of this second section of the Final PA. Shorter subsections like training and testing reviews are tied to Appendix A, and we need to carefully look at this because Appendix A has a tremendous amount of information that is not adequately summarized in the Final PA.  

The central question to ask is “do our families, friends, acquaintances and associates readily understand these statutes and guidelines?” This section looks like a lawyer’s dream, full of information that can be used to dissuade and confuse many of our people. What frameworks, if any, have villagers been able to insert into the document? 

What’s odd, what’s omitted

What is odd is that not one government of Guam law is cited in Section 2. What is odd is that federal statutes alone are used to define matters such as who is or is not qualified to conduct cultural studies, what constitutes documentation requirements, and what training actions are fully covered and satisfied by federal law. What is odd is that the military is obligated to meet PA stipulations contingent upon receiving money from an unnamed appropriated funding source. 

What is odd is that the word “Chamorro” is not mentioned once in the document. What is odd is that no references are made to seeking the deep knowledge and expertise of our umku, who are the experts on our Chamorro language and culture. What is odd is that while this document is called a “programmatic agreement,” it doesn’t necessarily show that anything was authentically negotiated and mutually agreed upon between our ancient Chamorro Pacific Islander people and the American national government.

Original intent: Readily understood or clear as mud? 

Do our people really understand the original intent of why a Final PA was established in the first place? How many of our families and friends understand how to convert and translate this vague document into a specific, tangible, and common sense understanding of how the air, terrestrial sub surfaces, sea, reefs, land and the ancient plants, trees, fish, and rare human cultural corridors will be damaged or destroyed? Do we really understand how having a Final PA and this Section 2 preserves and protects our total environmental and Chamorro human and cultural resource corridors? Why are there no stipulations discussing what kinds of pollution will be produced? Do we truly understand the first, second, and third order consequences that may or may not have occurred from having the original Final PA lapse in 2019? 
If the answer is “maybe” or “sort of,” we need to pick up where we left off and continue to ask questions to understand and demystify what precisely this Final PA document is all about once again.

Demystify to understand, understand to empower

The second section of the Final PA provides ample evidence and reason to have this document redone, reworked, reset, and maybe even retweeted. Language that fully reflects and gives long term advantage to our ancient and rare Chamorro cultural, environmental, and human resource concerns needs to be added. Most of the 20 subsections give too much control and power to the military. The Guam Mayors Council, the Guam Legislature, villagers, the Chamorro people, and the Guam Governor are not mentioned once in this second section, yet the admiral who is identified as “CJRM” is mentioned close to 50 times. 

Not one government of Guam law is referenced or mentioned in Section 2 and not one locally produced method to address villager, or fisherman concerns is outlined. Yet American national laws are mentioned approximately 31 times and no glossary of terms was inserted into this Final PA document. What, for example, are the specific detailed definitions of major training exercises, data recovery plans, public involvement, unit level training, JRP cultural resources manager, and geographic information systems?

So far, this Final PA looks and smells like a representation of how American colonial military statecraft engages in un-democracy and political control of the Chamorro people of Guam, using American national statutory frameworks to further justify actions and behaviors associated with preparing for war.  

Rick Perez | Author
Rick Perez used to serve in the U.S. military and has work experiences in public policy research and public affairs. He is passionate about national security and geopolitics and runs a newsletter called Guam Affairs at For questions or comments, contact Perez at
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