The Navy’s Proposed Action is to conduct training and testing activities at sea and in associated airspace within the Study Area beyond 2020. These activities continue to include the use of active sound navigation and ranging, known as sonar, and explosives while employing marine species mitigation measures. Proposed activities are similar to those conducted in the Study Area for decades and analyzed in the 2015 document.
The purpose of the Proposed Action is to conduct training and testing activities to ensure the Navy can accomplish its mission under Congressional direction in section 8062 of Title 10 of the U.S. Code to maintain, train, and equip combat-ready naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression, and maintaining freedom of the seas.
To achieve and maintain military readiness, the Navy proposes to:
The frequency and types of activities included in the Proposed Action account for fluctuations in training and testing to meet evolving or emergent military readiness requirements.
Realistic training and testing activities are crucial for military readiness, personnel safety, and national defense
Sailors must be ready to respond to many different situations when called upon. The skills needed to achieve readiness are challenging to master and require constant practice. Training and testing must be diverse and as realistic as possible to prepare Sailors for what they will experience in real-world situations and to ensure their success and survival.
Equipment and systems must be tested before use by Sailors 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.
Although some training and testing may be accomplished in simulation, there is no substitute for live training and field testing to achieve final training qualifications and testing results.
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 Sailors. 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.
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 Sailors to be fully prepared to respond to emergencies and national security threats, and to ensure their safety. Testing with explosives is essential to verify that systems will function properly in the environments they will be used.
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.
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. In the Draft Supplemental EIS/OEIS, the Navy evaluated the potential environmental impacts of three alternatives, including a No Action Alternative.
Alternative 1 (Preferred Alternative)
No Action Alternative
For more information on the Proposed Action, alternatives, and types of training and testing activities, please see the Draft Supplemental EIS/OEIS.
Proposed training and testing activities are similar to those conducted in the Pacific Northwest and southeastern Alaska for decades and analyzed in the 2015 document. In the Draft Supplemental EIS/OEIS, the Navy:
Proposed training and testing activities are similar to those conducted in the Study Area for decades and analyzed in the 2015 document.
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