Members of Congress and representatives from the military community convened recently for a Subcommittee on Readiness Hearing: “Land Based Ranges: Building Military Readiness While Protecting Natural and Cultural Resources.”

Chair of the committee, Rep. John Garamendi, questioned military representatives from the Army, Navy and Air Force about current practices with regards to encroachment. “Services must assure that ranges are good neighbors,” said Garamendi. Garamendi stressed effective communication with installation natural resource managers and cultural resource managers to ensure “ranges meet readiness requirements and remain viable into future generations.”

According to Jordan Gillis, Assistant Secretary of the Army, since 2004 the Army has invested approximately $3.5 billion in military construction projects that have modernized, improved and acquired Army ranges and training lands. “Encroachment issues have impacted training, but the Army is dedicated to working with communities,” said Gillis. “Readiness is the Army’s top priority, ranges and training land are direct enablers to readiness.”

U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Michael R. Holzworth