Military installations and ranges are a significant platform for achieving the readiness of our military forces. These assets are used for training and testing purposes to rigorously expose our troops to all of the realistic threats and tactics of war.
Encroachment on U.S. military installations and test and training ranges is a serious and growing problem for DoD. Encroachment–a term used by the DoD to refer to incompatible uses of land, air, water, and other resources–is the cumulative impact of uncontrolled urban development that hampers the military’s ability to carry out its testing and training mission.
The rapid pace of urban growth into rural areas around military installations and ranges presents two sets of encroachment problems. First, DoD’s activities may have adverse impacts on neighboring communities. As residential and commercial development increases in areas near military installations, people may experience more aircraft over-flights, dust, and noise from military activities. Second, important military training exercises may be compromised due to incompatible land use developments adjacent to or near installations and ranges.
At the same time, most of these installations and ranges are ecologically significant. They provide refuge for a large number of the nation’s threatened and endangered plants and animals.
This congruence of factors creates the basic issue of encroachment that confronts local governments and military installations across the country. In response, the Department of Defense has instituted the Sustainable Range initiative to ensure the long-term viability and continuity of DoD’s training and testing ranges while providing good stewardship for the land.