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Military Ranges

Air Force Stewardship of Military Ranges

The Air Force owns or operates approximately seven million acres of military range land in the continental United States, which provides realistic combat training and munitions testing. In addition, the Air Force is responsible for the environmental stewardship of approximately 200,000 acres potentially impacted from decades of ordnance use and military training.

The Air Force Civil Engineer Center is dedicated to addressing and solving military range issues in support of Air Force goals. The organization offers an integrated team of professionals across a spectrum of construction, environmental, restoration, remediation and management disciplines to assist in sustaining operational ranges and addressing munitions legacy at other than operational ranges.

Operational Range Sustainment Program

The AFCEC ranges and munitions program is dedicated to addressing military range and munitions concerns in support of Air Force goals while meeting the day-to-day needs of military range and training area managers. Management of military ranges in a sustainable manner is imperative to address influences which may constrain test and training activities and ensure the long-term viability of these resources while protecting human health and the
environment.

The Operational Range Assessment Program, managed within AFCEC's Environmental Center of Excellence Directorate Technical Support Branch is one example of the efforts supporting Air Force range sustainability.

Air Force Operational Range Assessment Program Guidance
Air Force Range Residue Resource Recovery (R4) Guide

Ranges and the Munitions Response Program

The Department of Defense in support of its mission to deter adversaries and defend our nation must develop, test and field weapon systems. As such, military lands historically associated with weapon system testing and training may contain unexploded ordnance (UXO), discarded military munitions and munitions constituents. To address these issues at other than operational range locations, the Military Munitions Response Program (MMRP) was developed. The Air Force's vision for the MMRP is to "make munitions response sites safe for reasonably anticipated future use." In support of this vision, the Technical Support Branch assists the MMRP Program Manager, Air Force Restoration Program Office (R-PMO) in program development, management, and execution; identifies risks and develops response actions; disseminates information for stakeholder involvement; and offers technical document review services.

MMRP Inventory
The DOD, to ascertain the magnitude of this issue, developed a comprehensive inventory of sites known or suspected to contain unexploded ordnance (UXO), discarded military munitions, or munitions constituents. The Air Force completed its initial inventory in September 2001, with updates occurring annually.

Site Prioritizing/Sequencing
As the MMRP Inventory is further developed, sites need to be consistently prioritized for assessment of potential hazards and implementation of measures to address identified human health and ecological impacts. In October 2005, DOD published the finalized Munitions Response Site Prioritization Protocol (MRSPP) for assigning a relative priority for munitions response actions at munitions response sites. AFCEC participates in the Air Force Quality Assurance panel established to ensure the MRSPP is consistently applied through the Air Force. The MMRP program manager, in coordination with stakeholders, utilizes MRSPP data to further sequence site assessments and investigations.

UXO/MC Characterization
AFCEC is involved with various workgroups addressing UXO characterization issues such as detection, transport, dispersion, and fate of munitions-related constituents. Munitions constituents (MC) may be any materials originating from military munitions, including explosive and non-explosive materials as well as associated degradation products. Information is presently limited on the nature and extent of potential environmental contamination and toxicological risks associated with ordnance and munitions constituents.