‘Make America Secure’: Media, militarism, and climate change in the Marianas Archipelago

  • Sylvia C. Frain Auckland University of Technology
Keywords: Asia-Pacific Pivot, climate change, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Guam, media, militarisation, resistance


The 2018 Make America Secure Appropriations Act is the latest United States federal policy which prioritises funds for defence projects at the expense of climate change adaption planning in the Marianas Archipelago. Since 2006, the US Department of Defense (DoD) has released six Environmental Impact Statement documents which outline construction of bombing ranges on the islands of Guam, Pågan, and Tinian. Expanding militarisation of the archipelago is supported by US-owned media through the narrative of pro-American ideologies which frames any resistance as unpatriotic. However, both non-voting US Congress representatives for Guam and Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) express concerns with how federal funds are prioritised for military projects instead of climate change adaption. Further, Indigenous Chamorro and Refaluwasch peoples of the Marianas continue to resist by creating content on alternative digital media platforms and through lawsuits supported by the National Environmental Protection Act against the DoD and Department of the Navy. This article illustrates how remaining as insular areas of the US directly dictates the lack of sovereignty the people of the Marianas have in planning for climate change.


Download data is not yet available.


Metrics Loading ...

Author Biography

Sylvia C. Frain, Auckland University of Technology

Postdoctoral Fellow

Pacific Media Centre | Te Amokura
School of Communication Studies

Auckland University of Technology | Te Wānanga Aronui o Tāmaki Makau Rau

Aotearoa New Zealand 

PJR icon
How to Cite
Frain, S. C. (2018). ‘Make America Secure’: Media, militarism, and climate change in the Marianas Archipelago. Pacific Journalism Review : Te Koakoa, 24(2), 218-240. https://doi.org/10.24135/pjr.v24i2.407