Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Enviro-Assault On National Security: A Case Study

This is a follow-on to the posts below.

When Woodpeckers Rule The World

It's Not Just Woodpeckers

"If something affects training, it affects readiness. If it affects readiness, it affects warfighting. If it affects warfighting it affects national security." - Monk

Fort Hood, Texas is located between Austin and Waco. It is the largest active duty armored post in the United States Armed Forces and the only post that supports two full armored divisions, the 1st Cavalry Division and 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized).

Fort Hood is also home of the III Corps Headquarters Command and numerous separate brigades and battalions to include the 21st Cavalry Brigade (Air Combat), 89th Military Police Brigade and 504th Military Intelligence Brigade.

Fort Hood has more tanks, infantry, artillery, attack helicopters and copperhead snakes than you can shake a stick at. It has been and continues to be a crucial cornerstone to the security of this nation.

Yet, Fort Hood is under assault by an out-of-control environmentalist regime. A regime that has, incrementally over the past 20 years, grown preposterously powerful and nuttier by the day.

The information below is extracted from an unclassified Army briefing, "Environmental Restrictions to Training: A Case Study":


Using Fort Hood as a case study, we will graphically depict the impact encroachment can have on training.

Fort Hood has approximately 200,000 acres of land outside the cantonement area. One training restriction we cannot show graphically is the preclusion of cutting or destroying hardwood trees on the installation. Nor will we discuss the impacts to land management from cattle grazing.

The digital ortho photograph above shows how Killeen has grown right up to the Fort Hood boundary which is depicted in yellow. Housing has been built directly across the fenceline from the Army airfield on main post. The areas outlined in green are protected habitat for an endangered avian species on the installation. Note how the habitat ends right at the installation boundary. This is the case all around the installation.

The area in brown has been designated as no dig areas based on enforcement of a variety of environmental laws. It also includes the dudded impact area in the center of the installation. We show this data layer first since it covers the largest area on the installation.

Subsequent charts will layer training restrictions from other sources on top of this layer to show the cumulative affects to training.

There is one endangered and one threatened aviain species on the installation. Negotiations with the Fish and Wildlife Service have resulted in two types of habitat for these species. The first is non-core habitat, shown here in light green, with year round training restrictions shown in the lower left hand corner. These are less restrictive than core habitat which is on the next chart.

Approximately 10% of the training land is non-core habitat with the bulk of it in the prime maneuver area in the western portion of the installation.

Core habitat for the two species is shown in dark green on this map. Core habitat covers 28% of the training land. In addition to the year round restictions found in non-core habitat, during the 6 month nesting season for the birds, March thru August, the restrictions on training are rather severe and turn this land virtually unusable for training. This is also the time most Reserve Component units tend to schedule annual training on the installation.

The terrain on the northeast portion is not really suitable for mounted maneuver but does contain artillery and mortar firing points. The area above the dudded impact area is non-dudded range area. Units can use these ranges year round, but if a fire is started must halt training and extinguish the fire before resuming training.

Altogether, over 74,000 acres or 37% of the installation are protected as core or non-core habitat.

There are over 2,400 cultural sites being protected at Fort Hood. Those sites are interspersed throught the installation as shown in the red hashed areas on this map. The major restictions are no digging and no destruction of these sites. Destruction can be caused by tracked and wheeled vehicles crossing over and maneuvering on some of the sites, so many are being designated as off limits to all training.

Due to clean air requirements and to preclude smoke from drifting into off post housing areas or on to civilian highways, the use of smoke, flares, chemical grendaes, and pyrotechnics is precluded in the hashed blue areas on this map. This covers approximately 23% of the training lands.

In addition to limiting off post flight routes, the installation has voluntarily precluded the firing of artillery or MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System) from two training areas outlined in purple in the northwest portion of the installation. This was done because of noise complaints from civilians adjacent to the installation.

Overall, there are 168,000 acres with training restrictions much of which has multiple training restrictions. This equates to 84% of the installation.

Encroachment tends to shrink the capability of installations to support both maneuver and live fire training at a time when doctrinal distances for maneuver units are expanding. The doctrinal maneuver box for Transformation Brigades has been established as is shown here with Fort Hood placed to scale inside this maneuver box.

Although Fort Hood has not been identified as a site for a transformation brigade, as one of the Army's larger installations, this points to the problem other smaller installations may experience in training the future force.

Live training cannot be replaced totally with virtual or constructive training. The Army will require ranges and training lands well into the 21st century.

It is obvious that encroachment is impacting our ability to train and as societal demands change, more encroachment pressures will be brought to bear on our installations. Installations have made changes to how and conditions under which units train. The big question is how much more installations can bend without breaking.

The Army has developed a program, albeit in its infancy, to address sustainable range management. This program will address ranges and training lands. To be effective, it will require management changes and innovative methods for dealing with change.

Bottomline is that we cannot change training standards to accommodate encroachment issues.


The bottomline is being busted and national security is being short-changed.

What will it take to stop the madness?

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