TINIAN, Micronesia, Nov. 19 (UPI) -- U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Tilghman D. Payne is promoting benefits ahead of the Marianas Islands as the U.S. military puts more attention on the Pacific.
Payne, Joint Region Marianas commander and Department of Defense representative, made his pitch alongside Joint Guam Program Office director Capt. Philip E. Oldand Marine Corps Activity Guam public affairs officer Lt. Col. Aisha Bakkar during the Tinian Chamber of Commerce's military contracting forum.
As the U.S. military redeploys forces from the Middle East to the western Pacific, Payne said that from the Navy perspective, "We are going to bring 60 percent of our ships to the Pacific," the Marianas Variety reported.
"If we have a bunch of forces forward in the Pacific, we need places to refuel, re-arm, rest, relax and sustain; we need places that are not foreign bases, that are on U.S. territory," Payne said. "So the Marianas comes to mind."
He said the Marianas has a definite advantage, predicting that with guidance from U.S. President Barack Obama and U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, "there are a lot of forces coming to the Pacific."
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