Proposed at-sea training and testing activities are similar to those that have been occurring in the Study Area for decades
The Proposed Action is to continue training and testing activities within the Study Area at sea and on Farallon de Medinilla (FDM). These activities include the use of active sonar and explosives while employing mitigation measures.
The purpose of the Proposed Action is to continue training and testing activities to ensure the Navy, other U.S. military services, and the U.S. Coast Guard meet their respective missions, which for the Navy is to maintain, train, and equip combat-ready forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression, and maintaining freedom of the seas.
To achieve and maintain military readiness, the Navy proposes to:
The type and level of activities included in the Proposed Action account for fluctuations in training and testing to be able to meet evolving or emergent requirements.
Realistic training and testing are crucial for military readiness, personnel safety, and national defense
Military service members must be ready to respond to many different situations when called upon. The skills needed to achieve military readiness are challenging to master and require constant practice. Training activities must be diverse and as realistic as possible to prepare military personnel for what they will experience in real-world situations and ensure their success and survival.
Equipment and systems must be tested before use by military personnel during deployment. Systems are tested in varying marine environments, such as differing water depths, seafloor types, salinity levels, and other ocean conditions, as well as replicated warfighting environments, to ensure accuracy and safety.
While simulators provide early skill repetition at the basic operator level and enhance teamwork, there is no substitute for live training and testing in a realistic environment.
Defense against enemy submarines is a top priority for the Navy. To detect potential hostile submarines, the Navy uses both passive and active sonar. Torpedoes, in-water mines, and quieter submarines are true threats to global commerce, national security, and the safety of military personnel. Active sonar is the most effective method of detecting these threats.
Sonar proficiency is complex and requires regular, hands-on training in realistic and diverse conditions. Lack of realistic training will jeopardize the lives of military personnel in real-life combat situations.
Submarines of the previous generation were noisy and could be detected with passive sonar before they came close enough to deploy short-range weapons against a vessel. Extremely quiet, difficult-to-detect, diesel-electric submarines can approach close enough to deploy long-range weapons before entering the passive sonar detection range of U.S. vessels. Active sonar has a longer detection range that is needed to allow Navy Sailors to detect, identify, and track quieter, modern submarines before they are close enough to attack.
Training and testing at sea with explosives significantly enhances the safety of U.S. forces in combat and improves readiness and equipment reliability. Training in a high-stress environment, including the use of and exposure to explosive ordnance, is necessary for military personnel to be fully prepared to respond to emergencies, national security threats, and to ensure their own safety.
For more information on the Proposed Action and types of training and testing activities, please see the project fact sheet booklet.
Alternative 2 is the Navy’s Preferred Alternative because it allows for the greatest flexibility for the Navy to maintain future readiness
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires federal agencies to evaluate a range of reasonable alternatives to achieve the purpose of and need for the Proposed Action. The Navy evaluated the potential environmental impacts of three alternatives, including a No Action Alternative.
Alternative 2 (Preferred Alternative)
No Action Alternative
For more information on the Proposed Action, alternatives, and types of training and testing activities, please see the Final Supplemental EIS/OEIS.
Proposed training and testing activities are similar to activities conducted in the Mariana Islands for decades. In the Supplemental EIS/OEIS, the Navy:
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