Strengthening National Defense: Countering Encroachment through Military-Community Collaboration
As population growth and development have accelerated around America’s military bases, the interests of these installations and the communities adjacent to them have continued to collide. While the military’s need to train personnel and test weapons systems to ensure readiness is legitimate, safety and quality of life in proximate civilian communities must be protected.
Maintaining the ability of military installations and ranges to carry out their missions is vital to the preservation of national security. However, the nation’s military forces face serious training and readiness challenges that have the potential to reduce mission readiness and adversely impact national security. Encroachment, which includes incompatible civilian development near military facilities and the expansion of military operations into civilian areas, is reducing the military’s ability to train its fighting forces and execute its missions.
After extensive interviews with military and civilian officials, visits to six defense communities and a comprehensive review of relevant DoD documents and studies, a National Academy Panel concluded that despite efforts by the DoD, the challenges to military readiness created by nearby civilian communities are significant and growing. The Panel’s recommendations included increased collaboration among key stakeholders—local and state governments, non-profit organizations, the Military Services and their installations, and other federal agencies—in order to creatively and effectively address these complex and critical issues.