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Fed study for local National Guard unit held up — question of jurisdiction

reporters@samoanews.com

The federal study on the feasibility of setting up a National Guard Unit in American Samoa has been held up until a determination is made as to who has jurisdiction over such a study, according to a news release issued last Friday from the Governor’s Office, which also revealed that a National Guard official has stepped forward to help American Samoa.
 
The federal “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014” signed into law last December by U.S. President Barack Obama, includes a provision for the U.S. Defense Department to conduct a feasibility study with the results to be available next year regarding the establishment of National Guard units in American Samoa and CNMI—the only U.S. jurisdictions without such units.
 
The provision on American Samoa was authored and pushed by Congressman Faleomavaega Eni with full support of Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga.
 
In the news release Lolo announced that U.S. Air Force National Guard Col. Robert ‘Randy’ Huston has offered to help the Governor and Faleomavaega pursue their joint desire for a unit in American Samoa.
 
However, “the issue of jurisdiction regarding the performance of this feasibility study remains to be determined,” the release says, adding that the Defense Department has until June 24 this year to complete the study for submission to the U.S. Congress, but again, the “process is currently stymied at the Department of Defense because jurisdiction has not been determined.”
 
(There were no other details in the news release regarding the jurisdiction issue)
 
Huston contacted the governor last year expressing his interest to participate in the process of setting up a local unit and since then Huston “has been working diligently to follow the process since legislation to compel the study was enacted by Congress,” the news release says.
 
Huston is in Washington D.C to follow up with the Department of Defense on the status of the study and he hopes to be selected as one of the members of the study team. “This will give him the opportunity to ensure that the interest of American Samoa as directed by Governor Lolo Moliga will be addressed by the study,” the release says.
 
It also says that Huston is “doing this work on his own time and using his own resources”. Huston informed the governor that he “had the privilege to serve with many Samoan soldiers and he has come to admire their commitment, hard work, dedication, and great sense of patriotism and he would like, as his tribute to these fine soldiers, to see that a National Guard is created in American Samoa.”
 
In return, the governor expressed his sincere gratitude to Huston for his offer to help American Samoa realize its goal of a local unit. Lolo also gave Huston his “blessings on becoming the point man" in advancing the process towards the establishment of a unit locally.
 
Huston is currently a member of the Air Force National Guard Unit stationed in Germany, while his full time profession is an airline pilot.
 
Lolo expressed his appreciation for the amount of work Huston has done since the passage of the legislation to conduct the study.
 
The governor is currently in Washington D.C. attending several meetings.



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