Under the provisions of the 1977 Panama Canal Treaty, all United States military forces will be withdrawn from the Government of Panama (GOP). Additionally, by December 31, 1999, all United States military installations and other facilities will be turned over to the GOP.
To better accomplish the transfer of Department of Defense’s (DOD) installations to the GOP, the Panama Canal Treaty Implementation Plan Agency (TIPA) released a comprehensive policy guidance document (PGD) entitled “Policy Guidance for the Transfer of DOD Installations to the Government of Panama.” Army lawyers have been instrumental in helping draft this document, and the four major legal issues which it addresses are the unilateral right to transfer, residual value of facilities, removable property, and removal of hazards to human life, health, and safety.
Inherent in the turnover of defense sites to the GOP are the difficult issues of environmental clean-up, the residual value of facilities, reduction in the local civilian workforce, and the unilateral right of the United States to vacate property. Therefore, the PGD produced by TIPA will be critical to the successful fulfilment of the Panama Canal Treaty.
Jeffrey F. Addicott, Policy Guidance for the Transfer of DOD Installations to the Government of Panama, Army Law. 68 (Oct. 1994).