2002 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: 16 May 2002 23:16:35 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: Re: [CPEO-MEF] GAO: "Encroachment" Not Affecting Readiness
I've quickly reviewed the General Accounting Office (GAO) testimony on
"encroachment" at the House Government Reform Committee hearing today
(Thursday, May 16, 2002). As posted earlier, "Military Training: DOD
Needs a Comprehensive Plan to Manage Encroachment on Training Ranges,"
was presented by Barry W. Holman, Director, Defense Capabilities and
Management at GAO. His testimony is available at http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d02727t.pdf.

GAO says that the Defense Department defines encroachment as "the
cumulative result of any and all outside influences that inhibit normal
military training and testing." It reports that the Department has
identified eight encroachment issues, which "limit their ability to
train military forces at the required levels of proficiency."  Those
eight issues are

1. Designation of critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

2. Application of environmental statutes to military munitions.

3. Competition for frequency spectrum.

4. Marine regulatory laws that require consultation with regulators when
a proposed action may affect a protected resource.

5. Competition for airspace.

6. Clean Air Act Requirements for air quality.

7. Laws and regulations mandating noise abatement.

8. Urban growth.

Holman summarized, "Officials at all the installations and major
commands we visited here in the continental United States reported that
encroachment had affected some of their training range capabilities,
requiring work-arounds - or adjustments to training events. Each of the
installations we visited reported having lost some capabilities in terms
of the time that ranges were available or the types of training that
could be conducted. We identified similar effects in most countries
overseas in which U.S. forces are based. [See below.] The potential
problem with work-arounds is that they lack realism and can lead to the
practice of tactics that are contrary to those used in combat. Service
officials believe that population growth is responsible for much of
their past and present encroachment problems in the United States and is
likely to cause more training range losses in the future."

Holman explained, "In our draft report on stateside encroachment issues,
we made several recommendations aimed at helping DOD develop a
comprehensive plan for dealing with encroachment and improve the
information and data available for identifying and reporting on the
effects of encroachment." However, Holman did not disclose those
recommendations in his testimony. The final report ("Military Training:
DOD lacks A Comprehensive Plan to Manage Encroachment on Training
Ranges," GAO-02-614), including recommendations, is scheduled for
release in June, 2002. Meanwhile, on April 30, 2002 GAO did release a
final report dealing with foreign installations: "Military Training:
Limitations Exist Overseas but Are Not Reflected in Readiness
Reporting," GAO-02-525, downloadable as a large PDF file from http://www.gao.gov.

Holman's prepared testimony underscored a point reportedly made by
uniformed military offices at today's hearings. He wrote, "Over time,
the impact of encroachment on training ranges has gradually increased.
Because most encroachment problems are caused by population growth and
urban development, these problems are expected to increase in the future."


Lenny Siegel
Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
c/o PSC, 278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918

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