Monday, May 22, 2006

Environmentalism is Winning, Army Training is Losing

Here's more info on the state of affairs from Joan D.B. VanDervort of the Army Training Directorate, Headquarters, Department of the Army.

But first...

A reasonable person might think that our military training would be exempt from most, if not all, environmental regulations. The fact is this: The military is subject to more environmental restrictions than any other entity in the United States of America. This is having a devastating effect on military training -- most especially, Army training.

Most of the environmental restrictions on military reservations stop at the reservation boundary. In other words, the civilian communities and land are not under such environmental restrictions as the military. You and I know why, too. There'd be an uprising. But in the military, you salute and say yessir... for the most part.

Where in the hell are the Senate Armed Services Committee and the House Armed Services Committee on all of this? I'll tell you where -- they are on their asses and they have been sitting on their asses for years while the environmentalists wreak havoc on military training.

We are at war, but it matters not to the environmentalists and the politically correct. In fact, they are doing the work of our enemies -- weakening our national security.

"If something affects training, it affects readiness. If it affects readiness, it affects warfighting. If it affects warfighting, it affects national security."
Who said it?.... why ol' Monk did. It's just plain ol' common sense.

Now, on with the show:

(Click on photos to enlarge)

Speaker Notes

Deployments have increased 300% in the past 10 years
Work force reduced 40%

Ships deployed on any given day have increased 52% in the past 6 years
Work force reduced by 1/3

Air Force
Deployments have quadrupled since 1986
Work force reduced by 1/3

Guard & Reserve
Days served increased 13 fold over the past 10 years
Last year - 235,000 deployed overseas, average 19 days
325,000 deployed for counter drug ops & disasters, average 22 days

Speaker Notes

Our military forces must be able to move faster, shoot straighter and communicate better than our enemies – that is what wins wars. Our ability to develop and field winning weapon systems, and to train our people under realistic, challenging conditions, is what makes our Armed Forces what they are today.

We possess unique advantages – our nation has always dedicated the air, land, sea and frequency spectrum needed to keep our armed forces the best in the world, and we have the necessary political and cultural support to keep our forces strong.

The United States' military strength rests in large part on the foundation of our superior test and training capabilities. Failure to train properly has been shown in many ways to degrade military readiness. In conflict, inadequately trained soldiers die first, and improperly tested equipment fails when least expected.

The American people demand ready Armed Forces that win when called upon and come home to their families. Realistic training is essential to this mission.

Speaker Notes

All branches of the Armed Forces are faced with pressures from a variety of diverse interests. Tension exists between government agencies, special interest groups, environmentalists and native American tribes and ourselves, the military.

Our duty involves protecting current and projected need for the development and fielding of the next generation of weapons, tactics and training of our forces. This will involve more not less space specifically designated for these uses.

Since the inception of the training range system during and following WWII, the military has lost half of its space to conduct training. Encroachment, in its many forms has impacted Training and Readiness, and will continue to do so unless we are successful in protecting our assets.

We all know the problems we face in our individual areas. How these problems are dealt with are of great import to the rest of us. Agreements made in one area of the United States sets precedent for us all. This point is of paramount importance.

The need to identify what we require to complete our training mission and stop this downward trend in Readiness is critical. In order to protect these valuable assets, we all must acknowledge what is important. Then get our message heard, and prevail in shielding these assets from encroachment, shutdown or loss.

Speaker Notes

Threatened, Endangered & Sensitive Species (TES)

Land holdings in millions of acres is shown in green on this chart. The Burea of Land Management, US Forest Service, National Park Service and US Fish and Wildlife Service land holdings far exceed that of DoD. Yet, DoD lands have more threatened and endangered species than any other federal land holder.

Ain't this slide grand? My take on it is that Army Training is going the way of the dinosaurs due to Environmental Correctness.

Speaker Notes

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 FORSCOM's larger installations, this points to the problem other smaller installations may experience in training the future force.


Loss of training or testing space

-- Conflicts with seemingly inflexible laws or rules (such as ESA Critical habitat; MMPA harassment; MBTA permits) curtail access

Increasingly unrealistic training options

-- Cumulative effects of workarounds to satisfy regulatory dictates are "death by a thousand paper cuts"

Disproportionate compliance burden

-- DoD lands increasingly carry conservation responsibilities for surrounding areas

Evolving legal interpretations raise future concerns

-- Military training activities are increasingly being scrutinized under environmental laws designed for other contexts


Balance National Defense with environmental mandates. [Ed. Which is exactly ASS BACKWARDS!]

Clarify existing environmental statutes, regulations and policies.

Promote DoD's ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship and long-term range sustainment:

-- Seek expanded authorities for mutually beneficial partnerships that limit incompatible development and habitat destruction near our installations

-- Work with State governors, communities and NGOs to ensure more effective and compatible land use planning around military lands

Speaker Notes

These are just a few of the examples. By no means is this a comprehensive list of all the installations both in CONUS and OCONUS where our training is impacted by increasing environmental compliance restrictions heightened by growing populations pressures and special interests groups.

We have been particularly hard hit by compliance with the Endangered Species Act, Noise, and Clean Air requirements and we see an upward trend in the restrictions that are impacting training.

What looms on the horizon that could impact the Army's ability to carry out it's Title 10 mission is the application of certain environmental statutes to Unexploded Ordinance (UXO) and munitions on active ranges, specifically the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). This issue is still new and not an environmental compliance issue that we have really had to face until recently.

Both CERCLA and RCRA application to UXO on ranges coupled with the recent application of the Safe Drinking Water Act to clean-up UXO present an imminent threat to training.

Impact on Training – Example 1



Clean Air Act -
Restrictions on Smoke Training

Impact on Training

Air Quality Restrictions

Ft. Carson:
-- Prohibition on training with graphite smoke.
-- Prohibition on use of smoke w/in 3km along boundary

Ft. Hood:
-- Artillery fire, smoke, & riot control grenades prohibited w/in 100 meters of "core areas" = 46,620 acres

Ft Leonard Wood
-- Certain METL tasks cannot be trained [Ed. METL = Mission Essential Tasks List]

Impact on Training - Example 2

Endangered Species:

Critical Habitat: Designation limits use of maneuver space

Makua Valley: Training Restrictions based on NEPA & Jeopardy Opinion

Ft. Hood: 33% of training land is protected bird habitat
-- no digging; no tree or brush cutting
-- March - Aug dismounted maneuver restricted
-- Site occupations limited to two hours

Ft. Lewis: 72% designated critical habitat for northern spotted owl; no owls on installation [Ed. Do you fucking believe this? Believe it!]

Fts Bragg, Stewart, & Benning: training restrictions due to RCW [Ed. Red Cockaded Woodpecker]

Speaker Notes

Fort Irwin, CA: Critical habitat designation limits use of available maneuver space and prevents Army from training as it will fight.

Since 1992, over 22,000 acres of Fort Irwin has been designated critical habitat for the Desert tortoise and is not available for maneuver training.

In 1985, Army identified a requirement for additional land area at Fort Irwin and began land withdrawal process. The process has been delayed for over 15 years, primarily due to the presence of Desert tortoise (threatened) and Lane Mountain milkvetch (endangered). Congress authorized a 110,000 acre withdrawal on Dec 01 but use of the land is contingent on ESA Section 7 Consultation and NEPA documentation.

Congress has authorized $75 million to acquire and manage additional land exclusively for preservation of Desert tortoise and to mitigate impacts to the tortoise on NTC. (Only after the Army implements this mitigation will we be allowed to use of the 22,000 acres of tortoise CH on Fort Irwin.)

In addition, the Lane Mountain Milkvetch exists on significant portions of NTC and the land expansion – much of it directly in the path of proposed maneuver training corridor. These areas also have the possibility of being designated CH. USFW is currently evaluating what actions need to be taken. Further training restrictions and mitigation requirements are unclear at this point.

Speaker Notes

Based largely on the excellent habitat management programs documented in the Fort Carson Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan (INRMP), USFWS chose not designate critical habitat for the Mexican Spotted Owl on the installation.

However, a federal district court in Arizona recently decided USFWS' approval of integrated natural resource management plans to provide adequate habitat protection in lieu of "special management considerations" to avoid CH designation is unlawful.

In light of this ruling, USFWS is likely to revisit the decision to exclude owl habitat on Fort Carson.
CH designation could result in additional training restrictions and additional requirements to enter into consultation for actions impacting CH.

Speaker Notes
Endangered Species on Fort Bragg: This slide describes the management requirements associated with Red-cockaded Woodpecker at Fort Bragg, NC. The small inset map illustrates the extent that cavity tree clusters cover Fort Bragg, NC.

-- The Army manages the RCW on 7 major training installations in the southeast. When first managed (1991), the restrictions were very severe and there was no maneuver training allowed within 200 feet around each cavity tree. This amounted to certain areas being taken out of training use. The restrictions introduced unacceptable artificiality to the way units would select their maneuver routes when training for tactical movements, assaulting objectives, and conducting attacks.

-- Through extensive study of the RCW, the Army was able to demonstrate that military maneuver was consistent with species protection. We essentially "proved the negative." The Army accomplished research establishing that military impacts on RCW are not as significant as previously believed. The Army has invested $48 million in RCW management since 1990. The net result of all this effort is that RCW populations have increased on all Army installations, and the restrictions on training have been reduced. This was all accomplished without critical habitat designation.

-- In the future, we hope to eliminate all area restrictions and only protect the trees themselves. This would maximize training realism and continue protection of the species.

The story of Fort Bragg illustrates two basic points:

1. Without balanced and thoughtful application, the requirements of the Endangered Species Act can severely restrict training at Army ranges.

2. The Army can work with regulatory agencies to strike the proper balance and manage resources for military training and species protection without the designation of Critical Habitat.

Impact on Training - Example 3

Cultural Resource Issues

Restrictions on digging defensive positions without cultural resource surveys
- Associated funding issues

Open cultural sites in training areas can impact freedom of maneuver
-- Ft Irwin 3500 acres restricted
-- Areas can't always be seen with night vision devises or thermal sights

Ft. Bliss has over 3,000 cultural sites off-limits to training!!!

Impact on Training - Example 4

Noise Issues

Over Past 5 Years, $60M in Claims Filed, $25M Paid

Problem Centers Around Urban Encroachment

-- Ft. Carson = $3.3M Noise Lawsuit
-- Noise as Training Distracter on USR (Ft. Stewart)
-- Limitations to Blast Type Noise at Night
-- "Quiet Hours" Imposed due to Civilian Complaints
-- Aviation Flight Routes Altered (Ft. Campbell)

Impact on Training – Example 5

UXO and Munitions Constituents

Ft. Richardson:
Litigation sought to shut down live-fire.
-- Citizen suit under RCRA; CERCLA & CWA
-- Plaintiffs claim firing munitions in tng violates all 3 laws
-- Would impact 172nd Infantry BDE

MMR shut down of training under CERCLA
-- potential contamination of sole source aquifer

End of show


See also:
When Woodpeckers Rule The World
It's Not Just The Woodpeckers
Enviro-Assault On National Security: A Case Study


Lil Toni said...

Love your blog. Military blogs make me all moist n stuff.
Does the triple M have a pic?

MerryMadMonk said...

as Doc would say:

Why Lil Toni, you're not wearing a bustle. How lewd.

...then again, you may be the antichrist.