Navy set for more Atlantic training
The Department of the Navy announced the signing of an environmental impact statement that will enable more training along the Atlantic Coast and the Gulf of Mexico.
The area is 2.6 million square nautical miles along the Atlantic, from Maine to Florida, and Gulf coasts.
"Military readiness training must be as realistic as possible to provide the experiences so important to success and survival," the study said. "While simulators and synthetic training are critical elements of training to provide early skill repetition and enhance teamwork, there is no substitute for the live training in a realistic environment."
The proximity to home ports near the training ranges was a consideration because sailors and Marines will not have to routinely travel far from home.
That will give military personnel more time to spend with their families.
"The Navy is required to track and, where possible, limit the amount of time sailors and Marines spend deployed from home," the study said.
The Navy will conduct additional surface-to-air, surface-to-surface and anti-submarine warfare activities, among other training exercises.
The study concluded that the planned activities "will continue to have minimal effects on marine mammals and other marine species populations.
"This environmental analysis will enable at-sea training and testing so the U.S. Navy can effectively prepare forces to meet national requirements while remaining good stewards of the environment," the study said.
Part of the training complex will include an underwater warfare range off the Georgia coast where submarines and other vessels will train. Opponents expressed concern sea mammals, turtles and endangered right whales could be injured or killed in the area.
"No harm to the North Atlantic right whale is expected from these stressors due to species specific mitigation requirements," the study said.
The study also concluded "population-level impacts are not expected for sea turtles."