Military Training: DOD's Report on the Sustainability of Training Ranges Meets Annual Reporting Requirements but Could Be Improved Page: 1 of 33
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Accountability * Integrity * Reliability
United States Government Accountability Office
Washington, DC 20548
October 19, 2011
Subject: Military Training: DOD's Report on the Sustainability of Training Ranges
Meets Annual Reporting Requirements but Could Be Improved
Realistic training ranges are one of the most valued assets the military has in
preparing its personnel for their missions. Realistic training requires access to areas
and environments that closely match the locations where the military may face
combat or complex situations. International events, changes in strategy, force
structure, base closures, and population growth are increasing the challenges the
military faces in training its personnel to be prepared to defend the nation. Moreover,
the military services report that they have increasingly lost training range capabilities
because of factors such as encroachment.1 To respond to these challenges and
increase the sustainability of military ranges, the Department of Defense (DOD) has
launched a number of efforts aimed at preserving training ranges while also
minimizing adverse environmental effects of training activities.
As required by section 366(a) of the Bob Stump National Defense Authorization Act
for Fiscal Year 2003 (as amended),2 DOD was to submit a comprehensive plan for
using existing authorities available to the department to address training constraints
caused by limitations on the use of worldwide military lands, marine areas, and
airspace to Congress at the same time as the President submitted his budget for
fiscal year 2004 with annual progress reports for fiscal year 2005, extending through
fiscal year 2013. To address these requirements, DOD has submitted its sustainable
ranges report annually since 2004. In addition, we are required to submit annual
DOD defines "encroachment" as the cumulative result of any and all outside influences that impede
normal training and testing. DOD initially identified the following eight encroachment factors:
endangered species and critical habitat, unexploded ordnance and munitions constituents,
competition for frequency spectrum, protected marine resources, competition for airspace, air
pollution, noise, and urban growth around installations.
2 Pub. L. No. 107-314 (2002). Section 366 originally required reports for fiscal years 2005 through
2008. However, this requirement was extended through 2013 by section 348 of the John Warner
National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007, Pub. L. No. 109-364 (2006). Additionally,
section 1063(c)(2) of Pub. L. No. 110-181 (2008) and section 1075(g)(2) of Pub. L. No. 111-383
(2011) made clerical amendments to section 348 of Pub. L. No. 109-364.
GAO-12-13R Military Training
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United States. Government Accountability Office. Military Training: DOD's Report on the Sustainability of Training Ranges Meets Annual Reporting Requirements but Could Be Improved, text, October 19, 2011; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc298496/m1/1/: accessed October 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.