Order Code RS21805
April 2, 2004
CRS Report for Congress
Received through the CRS Web
Guam Emergency Management and
Homeland Security Statutory Authorities
Specialist in American National Government
Government and Finance Division
L. Cheryl Runyon and Kae M. Warnock
Government and Finance Division
The Guam Civil Defense Act of 1951 serves as the basis for emergency
management efforts in Guam. The lieutenant governor’s office serves as clearinghouse
for all programs and projects related to recovery after a natural disaster. Continuity of
government is not addressed outside traditional legislation addressing vacancies.
This report is one of a series that profiles emergency management and homeland
security statutory authorities of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico,
American Samoa, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Each profile identifies the more
significant elements of state statutes, generally as codified. Congressional readers may
wish to conduct further searches for related provisions using the Internet link presented
in the last section of this report. The National Conference of State Legislatures provided
primary research assistance in the development of these profiles under contract to the
Congressional Research Service (CRS). Summary information on all of the profiles is
presented in CRS Report RL32287. This report will be updated as developments
Entities with Key Responsibilities
Governor: The governor is authorized to: exercise general direction and control of
the Civil Defense Agency; make, amend and rescind orders, rules and regulations; prepare
a comprehensive plan for civil defense; determine civilian needs for food, clothing, and
the necessities of life after an attack or disaster; and to plan to procure supplies,
medicines, materials and equipment. Also, the governor is authorized to: survey
industries, resources and facilities; institute training programs and public information
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programs; train and equip militia; cooperate with the President and armed forces; give
directions to law enforcement to secure compliance with orders, rules, and regulations;
direct the Department of Public Health and Social Services on matters affecting public
health; use the services, facilities, and officers of existing agencies; and enter into
reciprocal aid agreements or compacts with other states, territories, and the federal
government (Guam Code Ann. Tit. 10 §65105, 65106). The governor may plan and
regulate traffic control for evacuation (Guam Code Ann. Tit. 10 §65111). The governor
has the power to: enforce all laws, rules, regulations and assume control of defense
forces; seize or condemn property, including the means of transportation and
communications; allocate fuel, food, clothing, equipment, materials, medicines and
supplies; lend, sell, or give property to residents; and provide compensation for property
seized or condemned, as specified (Guam Code Ann. Tit. 10 §65107).
Civil Defense Advisory Council: The council consists of 14 members (governor is
chair) from specified agencies as well as private citizens; it advises the governor and the
director of the council on civil defense matters (Guam Code Ann. Tit. 10 §65104).
Director, Office of Civil Defense: The director is appointed by governor and serves
as the executive head of the civil defense agency. In that capacity he or she carries out the
civil defense of the territory, coordinates civilian defense activities, and cooperates with
federal agencies (Guam Code Ann. Tit. 10 §65103). The director also is responsible for
developing mutual aid agreements with public and private agencies in the territory, and
negotiates mutual aid agreements between the governor and adjoining territories or states
(Guam Code Ann. Tit. 10 §65108).
Office of Lieutenant Governor: The office is designated as the clearing house for all
programs and projects related to the territory’s recovery, reconstruction, and public
services rehabilitation after typhoons, tropical storms, earthquakes, tidal waves and
territorial disasters. Construction projects must be reviewed by the Bureaus of Planning
and Budget and Management Research prior to submission to the lieutenant governor for
approval. The lieutenant governor submits projects for legislative review and approval
prior to implementation (Guam Code Ann. Tit. 5 §2102).
Guam Environmental Protection Agency: Agency officials must develop a plan for
providing safe drinking water under emergency circumstances, and take action with the
concurrence of the governor to implement the plan (Guam Code Ann. Tit. 10 §53112).
See discussion under “Entities with Key Responsibialities,”—Governor, Lieutenant
The governor may authorize a department or agency to lease or lend real and
personal property to the President and the armed forces during an emergency (Guam Code
Ann. Tit. 10 §65112).
If enemy attack occurs, the governor may declare a state of emergency (Guam Code
Ann. Tit. 10 §65107).
Agencies can recommend the making, amending, or rescinding of executive orders
regarding rules and regulations deemed necessary for civil defense. All executive orders
have full force and effect of law. All inconsistent laws, ordinances, and rules are
suspended during the duration of an executive order (Guam Code Ann. Tit. 10 §65114).
Types of Assistance
The governor may accept services, equipment, supplies, material, and funds as gifts,
grants or loans from the federal government or from a person, firm or corporation on
behalf of the territory (Guam Code Ann. Tit. 10 §65113).
If aid is rendered outside the territory, reimbursement is to be made by the territory,
state or political subdivision receiving the aid, in accord with the applicable mutual aid
agreement or compact (Guam Code Ann. Tit. 10 §65109).
No specific provisions.
No specific provisions.
Continuity of Government Operations
General vacancy provisions, none specific to disasters.
The governor may compel, by subpoena, the attendance of witnesses and the
production of records to make surveys and investigations related to civil defense (Guam
Code Ann. Tit. 10 §65110).
Neither the territory nor its agents or representatives is liable for personal injury or
property damage to volunteer civilian defense workers or agency staff performing civil
defense activity, nor are they liable for death or injury to persons, or for property damage
resulting from civil defense activity (Guam Code Ann. Tit. 10 §65116).
A person who volunteers, without compensation, the use of real estate to shelter
persons during an attack, mock attack or natural disaster is not civilly liable for death or
injury to any person or the loss or damage to a person’s property (Guam Code Ann. Tit.
Officials of the civil defense organization cannot participate in political activities
(Guam Code Ann. Tit. 10 §65118).
Civil defense employees cannot advocate change by force or violence in the U.S.
government or the territory, or seek to overthrow the U.S. government by force or
violence, or be convicted of subversive act against the federal government (Guam Code
Ann. Tit. 10 §65119).
A person rendering emergency care or assistance is not liable for civil damages,
except for gross negligence (Guam Code Ann. Tit. 20 §2104).
Employees and voluntary workers rendering aid during an emergency have the same
powers, duties, and immunities as if performing normal duties (Guam Code Ann. Tit. 10
Table 1. Key Emergency Management and Homeland Security
Terms Defined in Guam Statutes, with Citations
Guam Code Ann. Tit. 10 §65102
Guam Code Ann. Tit. 10 §65109
For Further Research
The citations noted above and other elements of the state code for Guam may be
searched at: [http://www.guam.net/gov/guam-law/nindex.html].