Benefits
Operating at the intersection of mission and conservation, the Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Program has proven to be an effective tool to protect military assets and capabilities, meet Service priorities, and provide a method for sharing costs with other public and private sources. As part of Office of the Secretary of Defense’s (OSD’s) evaluation of the benefits provided by REPI projects to maintain focus on the highest readiness benefits, the Services provide input on military readiness objectives that the projects are designed to achieve as well as benefits to the surrounding communities and the environment.
Military Benefits Chart
BenefitREPI Benefit to MilitaryExplanation
BenefitPreserving Live-Fire and Maneuver TrainingThe vast majority of projects protects existing live-fire or maneuver training and testing to provide flexibility for future missions. Protecting areas off-installation that are important for training (such as land underneath military airspace, training routes, or “away spaces”) requires a greater amount of cooperation with outside partners, sometimes on a regional scale.
BenefitReducing Workarounds and Lost Training DaysREPI projects help reduce the number of workarounds necessary to continue testing or training. Workarounds modify or segment standard ways to test and train in order to fulfill testing and training requirements, but are not as realistic or complete as the original approach. For example, protecting compatible land uses through REPI may allow an installation to increase the number of training days during the year.
BenefitReducing Electromagnetic Spectrum InterferenceIncreased electronic complexity of the testing and training environment makes protecting again electromagnetic interference and preserving clear frequency spectrum increasingly important. Electromagnetic interference can emanate from areas with significant residential development and, conversely, military equipment can interfere with household electronics.
BenefitMitigating Noise ConflictsOne of the most common issues across the Services is preserving the ability to conduct testing or training activities that generate noise. This issue is the direct result of the proximity of civilian populations to installations, ranges, and operating areas. REPI buffers can protect against development and decrease the number of conflicts between communities and loud noise events like live-fire training and weapons testing, noted above, or helicopter training and other aviation.
BenefitPreserving Night Operations CapabilitiesThe U.S. military enjoys an advantage in conflict because of superior technology and capability with night vision devices. Although units continue to include training in higher-light conditions to maintain realism in some situations, dark-sky conditions are essential for effective testing and training. REPI projects can help preserve open spaces and prevent incompatible development that would increase nighttime lighting and decrease the realism of testing and training with night vision devices.
BenefitProviding for Mission Growth and Multi-Service MissionsIncreasing flexibility to use more of the space already under military control for future or expanded missions–including joint and multi-Service missions–helps to satisfy new and future operational demands.
Community Benefits Chart
BenefitREPI Benefit to CommunityExplanation
BenefitNew PartnersEngaging new partners in innovative ways and cooperating with communities and stakeholders preserves quality of life and military readiness, while enhancing public perception of the installation’s role in the community.
BenefitWorking Lands and Economic BenefitsPreserving working lands for agricultural and silvicultural (forest) production can help support a sustainable local economy. Keeping farmers and ranchers productive also preserves a way of life that has endured for generations. Unlike residential development, working lands are generally compatible with military training. Agricultural uses produce fewer lights that impact night training and testing, and a lower population density eases safety concerns.
BenefitRegional Planning and Green CorridorsSupporting existing and planned conservation or regional planning efforts helps manage growth and preserve biodiversity. These projects, including green corridors, promote species migration and provide greater opportunities for adapting to and mitigating the effects of climate change in the region.
BenefitSafteyEnhancing operational safety, installation security, and/or addressing future safety concerns, protects communities and installation personnel and equipment alike. For instance, new weapons systems like unmanned aerial vehicles require larger operating areas and REPI buffers can help provide additional assurance that the installation can meet mission requirements.
BenefitJoint Land Use Study (JLUS)A Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) is a collaborative effort among the local military and neighboring states, communities, and interested stakeholders to minimize the military’s operational effects on neighboring jurisdictions and ensures local civilian development is compatible with the ongoing DoD mission. Implementing coordinated and integrated land use planning goals recommended by a JLUS encourages cooperative land use planning between military installations and surrounding communities.
BenefitRecreationalPreserving open spaces provides recreational opportunities (e.g., hunting, fishing, hiking) on natural lands that may have been previously unavailable to the public.
BenefitWater QualityREPI projects help protect water resources and water quality for the military and neighboring communities alike. Preventing development or land conversion from less water-intensive uses can help keep precious water resources healthy and sustainable, whether for drinking water or other uses.
BenefitClimate Change Adaptation and MitigationAs outlined by the 2014 Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap, planning for weather events and anticipating future climate stressors is a national defense priority. Through protecting key habitats, water resources, and natural infrastructure, REPI projects may help to improve the climate resiliency of an installation and the surrounding area.
BenefitProtecting Threatened and Endangered Species and HabitatOne of the core purposes of REPI projects is to preserve environmental assets, such as habitat and species (including threatened and endangered species) in a manner that supports mission readiness. REPI projects that preserve habitat off-installation help mitigate or prevent restrictions on installation lands under the Endangered Species Act. Doing so provides greater flexibility for use of limited test and training spaces while sustaining ecological integrity.