oversight

Military Training: Implementation Strategy Needed to Increase Interagency Management for Endangered Species Affecting Training Ranges

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2003-09-29.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                 United States General Accounting Office

GAO              Report to Congressional Requesters




September 2003
                 MILITARY TRAINING
                 Implementation
                 Strategy Needed to
                 Increase Interagency
                 Management for
                 Endangered Species
                 Affecting Training
                 Ranges




GAO-03-976 

                                                September 2003


                                                MILITARY TRAINING

                                                Implementation Strategy Needed to
Highlights of GAO-03-976, a report to           Increase Interagency Management
congressional requesters
                                                for Endangered Species Affecting
                                                Training Ranges


Military lands provide habitat for              DOD and other federal land managers have taken some steps to implement
more than 300 species that must be              interagency cooperative efforts to manage endangered species on a regional
protected under the Endangered                  basis, but the extent to which they are using this approach for military
Species Act and many other                      training ranges is limited. Federal land managers recognize that cooperative
species that may become                         management of endangered species has several benefits, such as sharing
endangered. In some cases, military
installations provide some of the
                                                land-use restrictions and resources and providing better protection for
finest remaining habitat for these              species in some cases. The Departments of the Interior and Agriculture have
species. However, Department of                 issued policies, and DOD has issued directives to promote cooperative
Defense (DOD) officials stated that             management of natural resources. They have also outlined specific actions
protection of endangered species                to be taken—such as identifying geographic regions for species management
may result in land-use restrictions             and forming working groups. However, follow-through on these actions has
that reduce the military’s flexibility          been limited, without many of the prescribed actions being implemented. A
to use land for training. GAO was               few cooperative management efforts have been taken but were generally in
asked to examine the (1) extent to              response to a crisis—such as a species’ population declining.
which DOD and other nearby
federal land managers in the region             The Departments of Defense, the Interior, and Agriculture have identified a
are managing cooperatively for
                                                number of factors that can limit cooperative management for endangered
endangered species affecting
military training ranges and                    species on military training ranges. When a species is found on training
(2) factors that can limit                      ranges but is not found on other federal land or is not protected under the
cooperative management for                      Endangered Species Act, neighboring land managers do not always consider
endangered species on military                  management of the species a high priority. Limited interaction among
training ranges.                                agencies and limited resources to employ cooperative programs also inhibit
                                                cooperative management. Lack of training and expertise has limited federal
                                                land managers’ ability to identify such opportunities. Moreover, federal
                                                agencies cannot easily share information—such as best practices and land
GAO recommends that the
Secretaries of Defense, the Interior,           management plans—because there is no centralized source of such
and Agriculture develop and                     information. Given that federal agencies have made little progress in
implement an interagency strategy,              implementing the various agreements for cooperative management, an
a comprehensive training program,               interagency reporting requirement would provide a basis to hold agencies
and a centralized data source for               accountable for sharing endangered species management on training ranges.
cooperative management efforts.
The Departments of Defense, the
Interior, and Agriculture concurred
on the need to improve interagency
cooperation. GAO also proposes
that Congress consider requiring
the agencies to jointly report
annually on their efforts to manage
cooperatively for endangered
species affecting military training
ranges.


www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-03-976.          Source: Departments of the Air Force (left) and the Army (right).

To view the full product, including the scope   Numerous factors contribute to the cooperative management of species among neighboring federal
and methodology, click on the link above.       land managers. The endangered Sonoran pronghorn (left) is being managed cooperatively between
For more information, contact Barry W.          DOD and other federal land managers in Arizona, while DOD is managing the western sage grouse,
Holman at (202) 512-8412 or                     a candidate species, (right) in Washington State on its own initiative.
holmanb@gao.gov.
Contents 



Letter                                                                                                    1
               Results in Brief                                                                          3
               Background                                                                                5
               Despite Some Positive Examples, Cooperative Management for
                 Endangered Species Affecting Military Training Ranges
                 Is Limited                                                                               9
               Factors Limiting Cooperative Management for Endangered Species                            17
               Conclusions                                                                               24
               Recommendations for Executive Action                                                      24
               Matter for Congressional Consideration                                                    25
               Agency Comments and Our Evaluation                                                        25

Appendix I     Scope and Methodology                                                                     28



Appendix II    Timeline of DOD's and Other Federal Agencies’
               Policies and Initiatives That Promote Cooperative
               Management                                                                                31



Appendix III   Comments from the Department of Defense                                                   37



Appendix IV    Comments from the Department of the Interior                                              39



Appendix V     Comments from the Department of Agriculture                                               41




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               Page i                                                     GAO-03-976 Military Training
United States General Accounting Office
Washington, DC 20548




                                   September 29, 2003 


                                   The Honorable Tom Davis 

                                   Chairman, Committee on Government Reform

                                   House of Representatives 


                                   The Honorable Christopher Shays 

                                   Chairman, Subcommittee on National Security, 

                                    Emerging Threats and International Relations 

                                   Committee on Government Reform

                                   House of Representatives 


                                   Military lands provide habitat for more than 300 federally listed species 

                                   that must be protected under the Endangered Species Act and many other 

                                   species that may become endangered.1 The Endangered Species Act of 

                                   1973 provides a means whereby the ecosystems upon which endangered 

                                   species depend are conserved. Under the act, all federal departments and 

                                   agencies shall seek to conserve endangered species and shall utilize their 

                                   authorities in furtherance of this purpose. The Department of Defense 

                                   (DOD) and other agency officials have testified that some of the finest 

                                   remaining examples of rare wildlife habitats for these species exist on 

                                   military installations. However, DOD officials have stated that protection 

                                   of endangered species may result in land-use restrictions that reduce the 

                                   military’s flexibility to use designated lands for training, a restriction that 

                                   can put military missions in jeopardy. Likewise, senior DOD and military 

                                   service officials have testified before Congress that they face increasing 

                                   difficulty in carrying out realistic training at military installations and have 

                                   identified endangered species as one of eight “encroachment” issues2 that 

                                   affect or have the potential to affect military training and readiness. In an 

                                   effort to address these encroachment issues, DOD drafted a sustainable 

                                   range action plan for each of the encroachment issues in 2001. The draft 




                                   1
                                    The Endangered Species Act requires the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of
                                   Commerce to publish lists of all species determined to be threatened or endangered. See
                                   16 U.S.C. § 1533(c).
                                   2
                                    The eight encroachment issues are: endangered species habitat on military installations,
                                   unexploded ordnance and munitions constituents, competition for radio frequency
                                   spectrum, protected marine resources, competition for airspace, air pollution, noise
                                   pollution, and urban growth around military installations.



                                   Page 1                                                      GAO-03-976 Military Training
Endangered Species Act Sustainable Range Action Plan3 suggests that the
Office of the Secretary of Defense and the military services should build
new and expand upon existing partnerships with other federal land
managers in an effort to manage for endangered species on a regional
basis as a way to accommodate military training and operations as well as
meet the legal requirements for endangered species protection and
conservation.

In 2002, we issued two reports on the effects of encroachment on military
training and readiness. In April 2002, we reported that troops stationed
outside of the continental United States face a variety of training
constraints that have increased over the last decade and are likely to
increase further.4 In June 2002, we reported on the impact of
encroachment on military training ranges5 inside the United States and
had similar findings to our earlier report.6 We reported that many
encroachment issues resulted from or were exacerbated by population
growth and urbanization. DOD was particularly affected because urban
growth near 80 percent of its installations exceeded the national average.
In both reports, we stated that impacts on readiness were not well
documented. We also testified twice on these issues—in May 2002 and
April 2003.7

At your request, we examined the (1) extent to which DOD and other
nearby federal land managers8 are managing cooperatively on a regional


3
 Department of Defense, Sustainable Range Action Plans (Draft), (Washington, D.C.: Aug.
2001).
4
  U.S. General Accounting Office, Military Training: Limitations Exist Overseas but Are
Not Reflected in Readiness Reporting, GAO-02-525 (Washington, D.C.: Apr. 30, 2002).
5
 We use the term “training ranges” to collectively refer to air ranges, live-fire ranges,
ground maneuver ranges, and sea ranges.
6
 U.S. General Accounting Office, Military Training: DOD Lacks a Comprehensive
Plan to Manage Encroachment on Training Ranges, GAO-02-614 (Washington, D.C.:
June 11, 2002).
7
 U.S. General Accounting Office, Military Training: DOD Needs a Comprehensive
Plan to Manage Encroachment on Training Ranges, GAO-02-727T (Washington, D.C.:
May 16, 2002) and Military Training: DOD Approach to Managing Encroachment on
Training Ranges Still Evolving, GAO-03-621T (Washington, D.C.: Apr. 2, 2003).
8
  For the purposes of this report, other federal land managers include the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service National Wildlife Refuge System, Bureau of Land Management, National
Park Service, and Forest Service. We selected those for this review because they are the
largest federal land managers in addition to DOD.




Page 2                                                         GAO-03-976 Military Training
                   interagency basis for endangered species affecting military training ranges
                   and (2) factors that can limit interagency cooperative management for
                   endangered species affecting military training ranges. In conducting our
                   work, we interviewed headquarters and field office personnel for
                   the major land management departments—the Departments of Defense,
                   the Interior, and Agriculture—to obtain information related to policies,
                   directives, procedures, interagency agreements, and practices that
                   advocate or promote cooperative management of natural resources
                   and, more specifically, endangered species. We also visited three
                   military installations and two major commands, and toured three training
                   ranges—Yakima Training Center, Washington; Fort Lewis, Washington;
                   and the Barry M. Goldwater Training Range, Arizona. In addition, we
                   met with other federal land managers near the Yakima Training Center
                   and Barry M. Goldwater Training Range. We also visited several
                   nongovernmental organizations near the training ranges at the Yakima
                   Training Center, the Barry M. Goldwater Training Range, and elsewhere
                   to obtain their observations on interagency cooperative management and
                   factors that limit their participation. A more thorough description of our
                   scope and methodology is provided in appendix I. This report focuses
                   exclusively on issues concerning species that must be protected under
                   the Endangered Species Act and many other species that may become
                   endangered affecting military training ranges inside the United States.

                   We conducted our work from September 2002 through September 2003 in
                   accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.


                   Although DOD and federal land managers over time have taken some steps
Results in Brief   to implement interagency cooperative efforts to manage endangered
                   species on a regional basis, the extent to which this approach is used for
                   military training ranges is limited. DOD and other federal land managers
                   recognize that cooperative management of endangered species has several
                   benefits, such as sharing land-use restrictions and limited resources and
                   providing better protection for species in some cases. The Departments of
                   the Interior and Agriculture have issued policies, and DOD has issued
                   directives, instructions, and an action plan to promote cooperative
                   management of natural resources. They have also entered into
                   memorandums of understanding that contain specific actions to be taken
                   to implement cooperative management, such as forming interagency
                   working groups, identifying geographic regions for species management,
                   and reporting on progress. However, follow-through on these steps has
                   been limited. For example, in 1994, 14 federal agencies signed
                   a memorandum of understanding in support of cooperative management


                   Page 3                                           GAO-03-976 Military Training
to implement the Endangered Species Act in response to legislative
proposals that at the time could have reduced the scope and authority
of the act. However, according to a DOD official, once the legislative
proposals failed, management support for the memorandum was reduced,
and it expired without many of the prescribed actions being implemented.
A few cooperative management efforts have been taken but were generally
in response to a crisis, such as a species’ population dramatically
declining. For example, at the Barry M. Goldwater Training Range, military
services and other land managers have worked together to manage the
Sonoran pronghorn—an endangered species that has significantly
declined.

Officials of the Departments of Defense, the Interior, and Agriculture
identified numerous factors that can limit regional interagency
cooperative management for endangered species affecting military
training ranges, ranging from those instances when there is not a shared
crisis among federal land managers to the current lack of centralized or
otherwise easily accessible information on cooperative management
efforts. More specifically, federal land managers may not consider
cooperative management efforts a high priority when a species does not
exist on their land or is not federally listed as an endangered species and
therefore may not participate in such efforts. At the Yakima Training
Center, the Army is managing for the western sage grouse in an attempt to
prevent the species from being federally listed, an action that could result
in land-use restrictions at the center. The Army’s efforts to work with
other federal land managers have been largely unsuccessful because the
sage grouse is not listed by the federal government and populates only the
center’s training range and not other nearby federal lands. Another factor
is limited agency interaction. Federal agency officials said that this has
resulted in a lack of a single vision, mistrust, and a misunderstanding
about each other’s land-use responsibilities. An additional factor,
according to agency officials, is limited resources. DOD and other federal
land managers stated that they have to finance interagency cooperative
management efforts from already limited funds. Federal agency officials
also identified a lack of training and experience as factors that limit
interagency cooperative management. For instance, a lack of cooperative
management training has limited federal land managers’ ability to identify
opportunities for cooperative management as well as the neighboring land
managers needed to implement them. Furthermore, federal land
managers lack a centralized or otherwise easily accessible source of
information on cooperative management efforts. As a result, officials said
that they are unable to easily share information and learn about
cooperative management efforts within and across agencies. While


Page 4                                            GAO-03-976 Military Training
             officials of the Departments of Defense, the Interior, and Agriculture have
             identified these factors as limiting their ability to manage cooperatively,
             they have not developed a comprehensive strategy to address these factors
             and increase the use of regional interagency cooperative management.
             Such a strategy could include a systematic methodology to identify
             opportunities to participate in cooperative management efforts, funding
             sources, science and technology sources, and goals and criteria to
             measure success. Also, considering that federal agencies have made little
             progress in implementing the various agreements to undertake
             cooperative management, an interagency reporting requirement to
             Congress would provide a basis to improve agency accountability for
             implementation of interagency cooperative management for endangered
             species affecting military training ranges.

             To encourage cooperative management for endangered species affecting
             military training ranges, this report recommends that the Secretaries of
             Defense, the Interior, and Agriculture jointly develop and implement an
             interagency strategy, a comprehensive training program, and a centralized
             or otherwise easily accessible source of information for cooperative
             management efforts. To hold DOD and other federal land managers
             accountable for implementing regional interagency cooperative efforts,
             this report also suggests that Congress may wish to consider requiring that
             the Secretaries of Defense, the Interior, and Agriculture jointly report each
             year on their efforts to manage cooperatively for endangered species
             affecting military training ranges. In commenting on a draft of the report,
             the Departments of Defense, the Interior, and Agriculture concurred on
             the need to improve interagency cooperation in managing for endangered
             species.


             DOD and other federal land management agencies—including the
Background   Departments of the Interior and Agriculture—manage millions of acres
             of land that provide habitat for hundreds of endangered species. Each of
             these federal agencies have specific land-use responsibilities that have
             to be executed while at the same time conserving the existing natural
             resources and complying with the Endangered Species Act. DOD uses its
             lands primarily to train military forces and test weapon systems. In doing
             so, DOD operates on training ranges that vary in size from a few acres to
             more than a million acres. The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of
             Land Management manages about 264 million acres of public land for a
             variety of resources and uses including minerals, timber, forage, and
             fish and wildlife habitat; Interior’s National Park Service mission is the
             conservation of the scenery and the natural and historic objects and


             Page 5                                             GAO-03-976 Military Training
                 wildlife in the parks in order to leave them unimpaired for future
                 generations; Interior’s National Wildlife Refuge System mission is to
                 administer lands and waters for the conservation, management, and
                 restoration of fish, wildlife, and their habitat; and the Department of
                 Agriculture’s Forest Service manages about 192 million acres of national
                 forest and grasslands for a variety of resources and uses including timber,
                 forage, recreation, and fish and wildlife habitat.


The Endangered   In 1973, Congress enacted the Endangered Species Act to protect plant
Species Act      and animal species whose survival is in jeopardy. The act requires that
                 the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Commerce publish lists
                 of all species determined to be endangered or threatened.9 A species is
                 defined as endangered when it is in danger of extinction throughout all or
                 a significant part of its range and as threatened when it is likely to become
                 endangered throughout all or a significant portion of its range in the
                 foreseeable future.

                 Concurrent with listing a species, the Secretary of the Interior or the
                 Secretary of Commerce must, to the maximum extent prudent and
                 determinable, designate “critical habitat” for the species.10 Critical habitat
                 is defined as the specific areas that are essential for the conservation of
                 the species and, for areas occupied by the species, may require special
                 management considerations or protection. Species that are federally listed
                 are entitled to certain protections under the Endangered Species Act.
                 Specifically, the taking11 of a listed animal species without a permit from
                 the Secretary is prohibited. Further, under the act, each federal agency, in
                 consultation with the Secretary, is required to ensure that its actions are
                 not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of protected species or
                 adversely modify habitat critical to their survival.

                 Defense and Interior officials have stated that in managing endangered
                 species affecting training ranges, DOD’s past successful efforts have



                 9
                   The Secretary of the Interior, through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is responsible for
                 implementing the act for most freshwater and land species. The Secretary of Commerce,
                 through the National Marine Fisheries Service, is responsible for most saltwater species.
                 10
                   The Secretary may exclude an area from critical habitat if he or she determines that the
                 benefits of excluding an area outweigh the benefits of specifying the area.
                 11
                    Take means to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect a
                 listed species. See 16 U.S.C. § 1538(a)(1)(B).




                 Page 6                                                         GAO-03-976 Military Training
                  resulted in the ranges becoming havens for at-risk species after rapid
                  urban growth destroyed habitat, leaving military lands as the last refuge
                  for many species. DOD officials believe that balancing endangered species
                  management with mission needs can sometimes be problematic.12 For
                  example, at the Barry M. Goldwater Training Range, Air Force officials
                  report that in 2001, 32 percent of their live-fire missions were either
                  cancelled or moved due to the presence of the endangered Sonoran
                  pronghorn. Also, a recent Marine Corps report stated that at Camp
                  Pendleton, California, compliance with the Endangered Species Act is the
                  leading encroachment factor impacting military training and operations.13
                  The report noted that the Marine Corps is only able to complete up to 68
                  percent of the service’s readiness standard for an advanced tactical
                  training scenario and its participation in realistic training has been
                  significantly degraded due to endangered species and other forms of
                  encroachment.14

The Sikes Act 	   Since 1960, the Sikes Act has required military installations to provide for
                  the conservation and rehabilitation of natural resources on their lands. In
                  1997, the Sikes Act was amended to require that the military services
                  prepare integrated natural resources management plans in cooperation
                  with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the appropriate state agencies
                  and established a timeframe for the completion of all plans. The plans are
                  expected to balance the management of natural resources with mission
                  requirements and other land-use activities affecting those resources and
                  should reflect the mutual agreement of the parties concerning
                  management of fish and wildlife resources.

                  DOD and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials believe that DOD’s
                  integrated natural resources management plans provide a holistic
                  approach for natural resources management and for installations where an


                  12
                    The Endangered Species Act provides that an agency may apply to the Endangered
                  Species Committee for an exemption from the act’s requirements for an agency action.
                  The act provides that the committee must grant an exemption for an agency action if the
                  Secretary of Defense finds the exemption is necessary for reasons of national security.
                  However, according to a Congressional Research Service report, DOD has never sought an
                  exemption under the Endangered Species Act.
                  13
                   SRS Technologies, Encroachment Impacts on Training and Readiness at Marine
                  Corps Base Camp Pendleton, (a special report prepared for Marine Corps Base
                  Camp Pendleton, Calif.: Mar. 2003).
                  14
                    At the same time, our prior work in this area found that negative results of training
                  limitations are rarely reflected in official unit readiness reports.




                  Page 7                                                        GAO-03-976 Military Training
                      approved natural resources management plan is in place, the plan should
                      be used as a substitute for critical habitat designations. For several years,
                      the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been using these management plans
                      in lieu of designating critical habitat on military lands. In testimonies in
                      March and April 2003, Interior Department officials said that a recent
                      lawsuit that successfully challenged U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s failure
                      to designate critical habitat casts doubt on the service’s ability to
                      substitute critical habitat designations on military lands with approved
                      natural resources management plans. In that lawsuit, which involved a
                      Forest Service plan, the court ruled that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
                      was incorrect in its interpretation that land may be excluded from critical
                      habitat designation under the Endangered Species Act when management
                      or protection of the area is already in place.15 In DOD’s recent legislative
                      proposal—Readiness and Range Preservation Initiative for Fiscal Year
                      2004—it is requesting that Congress confirm an existing practice that,
                      according to DOD, may make the designation of critical habitat on military
                      lands unnecessary when an approved integrated natural resources
                      management plan is in place.16 DOD and other federal and state agencies
                      as well as some nongovernmental organizations view this initiative as
                      providing a crucial balance between the stewardship of its lands and the
                      ability for the military to train for combat missions. Some public interest
                      groups, however, are concerned that needed species’ protections would be
                      compromised by such an approach.

Prior GAO Reports 	   In 2002, we issued two reports on the effects of encroachment on military
                      training and readiness. The findings of the two reviews have some
                      similarities. In April 2002, we reported that troops stationed outside of the
                      continental United States face a variety of training constraints that have
                      increased over the last decade and are likely to increase further.17 While
                      these constraints can have a variety of adverse impacts, including
                      adjustment or cancellation of training events, we found that these
                      impacts largely have not been captured in DOD’s readiness reporting.18 In



                      15
                           Center for Biological Diversity v. Norton, 240 F. Supp. 2d 1090 (D. Ariz. 2003).
                      16
                        Department of Defense, Readiness and Range Preservation Initiative for Fiscal Year
                      2004, submitted to Congress in Feb. 2003.
                      17
                           GAO-02-525.
                      18
                        While service readiness data in 2002 did not show the impact of encroachment on
                      training readiness or costs, DOD’s most recent quarterly report to the Congress on
                      readiness did tie a training issue directly to encroachment.




                      Page 8                                                          GAO-03-976 Military Training
                       June 2002, we reported on the impact of encroachment on military training
                       ranges inside the United States.19 We found that, over time, the military
                       services have increasingly lost training range capability owing to
                       encroachment, such as urban growth and competition for airspace, and
                       that encroachment issues limit a unit’s ability to train as it would be
                       expected to fight or would require adjustments to training events. We
                       again found that readiness reports did not indicate the extent to which
                       encroachment has significantly affected reported training readiness.
                       We also testified twice on these issues—in May 2002 and April 2003—
                       noting that, while DOD had made some progress in addressing individual
                       encroachment issues, efforts were still evolving and more would be
                       required to put in place a comprehensive plan to address the department’s
                       encroachment issues.20


                       Notwithstanding some positive efforts to implement regional interagency
Despite Some 
         cooperative efforts, the extent to which DOD and other federal land
Positive Examples, 
   managers are managing cooperatively for endangered species affecting
                       military training ranges is limited. Recognizing the benefits of
Cooperative 
          cooperatively managing natural resources, the Departments of the Interior
Management for 
       and Agriculture have issued policies, and DOD has issued directives,
                       instructions, and an action plan to promote such efforts. In addition, these
Endangered Species 
   departments have entered into memorandums of understanding that
Affecting Military 
   contain specific actions to be taken to implement cooperative
Training Ranges 
      management—such as forming interagency working groups, identifying
                       geographic regions for species management, and identifying reporting
Is Limited 
           requirements—but many of these actions were never fully implemented. In
                       cases where cooperative management efforts were undertaken, they were
                       generally undertaken in response to a crisis. (See app. II for more details
                       on DOD’s and other federal agencies’ policies and initiatives that promote
                       cooperative management.)




                       19
                            GAO-02-614.
                       20
                            GAO-02-727T and GAO-03-621T.




                       Page 9                                            GAO-03-976 Military Training
Some Positive Examples       The Departments of Defense, the Interior, and Agriculture and other
Show Cooperative             federal land managers recognize that cooperative management of
Management Has Benefits      endangered species is beneficial to both the agencies and the species.
                             The Interagency Handbook for the Joint Stewardship of Withdrawn or
for DOD and Other Federal    Permitted Federal Lands Used by the Military stated that cooperative
Land Managers                relations among the military services and other land management agencies
                             can provide benefits beyond what could be achieved if each agency
                             approached the issue separately.21 In addition, a 1996 Keystone Center22
                             report stated that a regional approach increases opportunities for military
                             commanders to achieve compliance with the Endangered Species Act
                             and to share the burden for natural resource conservation with other
                             landowners, thereby potentially reducing the impact on military land.23

                             DOD and other federal land managers generally agree that interagency
                             cooperative management of endangered species has benefits, such as
                             sharing the costs of recovery efforts, the burden of land-use restrictions,
                             and expertise and resources, as shown in the following examples:

                        •	   At the Barry M. Goldwater Range, land managers are sharing the cost of
                             some recovery efforts to increase the endangered Sonoran pronghorn’s
                             population, which the managers might not have been able to fund or
                             undertake, if not done cooperatively. For example, the Marine Corps, the
                             U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the
                             Arizona Game and Fish Department each contributed one-fourth of the
                             funding for a genetic study of the pronghorn, the results of which are
                             important for determining the types of recovery actions the land managers
                             can use to protect the species.

                        •	   Another effort at the Barry M. Goldwater Range benefits both the species
                             and the Air Force. According to range operating instructions, if pronghorn



                             21
                               Interagency Military Land Use Coordination Committee, Interagency Handbook for
                             the Joint Stewardship of Withdrawn or Permitted Federal Lands Used by the Military
                             (Draft), Sept. 2002.
                             22
                               The Keystone Center is a non-profit public policy and educational organization that
                             assists organizations, primarily government agencies, in support of their efforts to obtain
                             consensus input for a wide range of rules, regulations, and pilot projects designed to
                             implement new or existing laws, regulations, or institutional approaches. Keystone services
                             in these efforts have included facilitation, process design, project management, and
                             logistical support.
                             23
                               Keystone Center, Department of Defense Biodiversity Management Strategy
                             (Keystone, Colo.: Jan. 23, 1996).




                             Page 10                                                     GAO-03-976 Military Training
     are spotted on the range within a prescribed distance from the target,
     training must be cancelled or moved. DOD and nearby federal land
     managers in the region agreed to create forage enhancement plots on an
     adjacent national wildlife refuge that entices the pronghorn to the plots
     and away from the targets.24

•	   Federal agencies can also benefit by sharing expertise and resources
     through cooperative management efforts. For example, the Midwest
     Natural Resources Group meets three times a year to discuss various land
     management issues, crises that are affecting them, and ways they can help
     each other.25 At one of these meetings, according to a U.S. Fish and
     Wildlife Service official, the Forest Service asked for help to develop a
     land management plan for endangered species. As a result, the U.S. Fish
     and Wildlife Service colocated one of its employees at a Forest Service
     office to, among other things, assist with the plan. Another example of
     sharing expertise and resources through cooperative management efforts
     is the Southwest Strategy group,26 which was created by the Secretaries of
     the Interior and Agriculture and the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense
     for Environmental Security in 1997 to develop and implement a strategy to
     more effectively coordinate, among other things, natural resource issues in
     Arizona and New Mexico. The group has also eliminated duplicative data
     collection and analysis efforts.

•	   In its response to a draft of this report, the Department of the Interior
     provided a few other examples of cooperative management. One was
     between the Air Force's Dare County Bomb Range, North Carolina, and
     the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge where they are managing
     cooperatively for the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker and the
     endangered red wolf. It also cited two examples of cooperation between


     24
       Forage enhancement plots allow land managers to encourage the growth of food for the
     Sonoran pronghorn in conditions in which this might not occur, such as a drought.
     25
       Members of the Midwest Natural Resources Group include U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
     National Park Service, U. S. Geological Survey, Natural Resources Conservation Service,
     U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Office of Surface Mining, Bureau of Land Management,
     Bureau of Indian Affairs, Forest Service, U.S. Coast Guard, Department of Energy,
     Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and
     the Federal Highway Administration.
     26
       Members of the Southwest Strategy group include DOD, Bureau of Indian Affairs,
     Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
     U.S. Geological Survey, National Park Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service,
     Forest Service, Rural Development, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of
     Justice, Offices of the Governors of Arizona and New Mexico, and the Southwest Fire
     Management Board.




     Page 11                                                    GAO-03-976 Military Training
                            DOD and the Forest Service. Specifically, the Army at Fort Polk,
                            Louisiana, is managing cooperatively with the Kisatchie National Forest to
                            limit land-use restrictions on the range and recover the endangered red­
                            cockaded woodpecker. At Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, the Air Force is
                            working with the Conecuh National Forest to cooperatively manage for
                            the red-cockaded woodpecker. According to agency officials, these efforts
                            have limited land-use restrictions on the training range and helped recover
                            the species.

Departments of the          The Departments of the Interior and Agriculture have issued policies and
Interior and Agriculture    DOD has issued directives, instructions, and an action plan that call for
Policies and DOD            broad cooperative management of natural resources.
Directives, Instructions,   The Department of the Interior’s policy for effective program management
and an Action Plan          is defined as “conservation through cooperation, consultation and
Advocate Broad              communication,” which includes cooperation and collaboration on
Cooperative Management      endangered species management. In addition, Interior’s Draft Revised
Approaches                  Strategic Plan for 2003-2008 states that it will strive to protect habitat
                            that supports endangered and other native species through an increasing
                            number of partnership efforts. 27 Several land management agencies within
                            Interior—the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, and
                            the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Wildlife Refuge System—have
                            policies with similar commitments to manage cooperatively for
                            endangered species.

                            The Department of Agriculture’s Strategic Plan for FY2002-2007
                            identifies five major programmatic policies, including protecting and
                            enhancing the nation’s natural resource base and environment.28 As part of
                            these policies, the department states that it will strive to manage and
                            protect America’s public and private lands by working cooperatively with
                            other federal agencies. In addition, the Forest Service Manual promotes
                            an interagency cooperative approach to endangered species management.

                            DOD has issued directives, instructions, and an action plan that
                            promote an interagency cooperative approach to natural resource




                            27
                              Department of the Interior, Draft Revised Strategic Plan for 2003-2008 (Washington,
                            D.C.: Feb. 2003).
                            28
                              Department of Agriculture, Strategic Plan for FY 2002-2007 (Washington, D.C.:
                            Sept. 2002).




                            Page 12                                                   GAO-03-976 Military Training
     management, which includes endangered species management, as in
     the following examples:

•	   DOD’s natural resources management program directive states that DOD
     should coordinate its natural resources program with other federal
     agencies.29

•	   DOD’s environmental security directive30 and regional environmental
     coordination instruction31 establishes a system of regional environmental
     coordinators, which could facilitate DOD’s efforts to manage for
     endangered species on its training ranges and identify opportunities to
     work with other federal land managers on natural resource issues.

•    DOD’s environmental conservation program instruction32 establishes that
     integrated natural resources management plans shall incorporate the
     principles of ecosystem management33 that supports present and future
     mission requirements and is realized through effective partnerships among
     federal interests.

•	   DOD’s sustainment of ranges and operating areas directive34 establishes
     policy and assigns responsibilities for the sustainment of test and training
     ranges, and states that DOD should enter into cooperative agreements and
     partnerships with other federal agencies to sustain training ranges by,
     among other things, managing for endangered species.

     In 2001, DOD drafted an action plan for each of the eight encroachment
     issues identified as having significant negative impact to its training and


     29
       DOD Directive, Natural Resources Management Program, 4770.4 (Washington, D.C.:
     Jan. 24, 1989).
     30
          DOD Directive, Environmental Security, 4715.1 (Washington, D.C.: Feb. 24, 1996).
     31
      DOD Instruction, Regional Environmental Coordination, 4715.2 (Washington, D.C.:
     May 3, 1996).
     32
      DOD Instruction, Environmental Conservation Program, 4715.3 (Washington, D.C.:
     May 3, 1996).
     33
       Ecosystem management is a method for sustaining or restoring natural systems and
     their functions and values. Ecosystems cross agency boundaries, making the need for
     cooperation, coordination, and partnerships essential to implement ecosystem
     management.
     34
       DOD Directive, Sustainment of Ranges and Operating Areas (OPAREAs), 3200.15
     (Washington, D.C.: Jan. 10, 2003).




     Page 13                                                      GAO-03-976 Military Training
                           readiness. Specifically, the draft Endangered Species Act Sustainable
                           Range Action Plan contains a combination of administrative and
                           legislative initiatives to balance endangered species management with
                           mission requirements. The plan addresses, among other things, the need
                           for the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the military services to
                           build new and expand upon existing partnerships—such as the Barry M.
                           Goldwater Range Executive Council35—and to work in cooperation with
                           the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other federal land management
                           agencies as a way to accommodate military training while meeting legal
                           requirements for endangered species protection and conservation.
                           However, DOD officials told us that the department could do more to
                           implement the action plan.


Interagency Agreements 
   In addition to agency policies, directives, instructions, and an action plan,
for Cooperative 
          DOD and other federal agencies have entered into several agreements
Management Have Been 
     for the purpose of implementing a cooperative approach to endangered
                           species management. However, many of the specific actions in these
Adopted, but Not 
         agreements were never fully implemented and most agreements
Fully Implemented 
        have expired.

                           Fourteen federal agencies—including the Departments of Defense,
                           the Interior, and Agriculture—entered into the 1994 Memorandum of
                           Understanding on Implementation of the Endangered Species Act.
                           According to a DOD official, this was in response to two legislative
                           proposals that could have reduced the scope and authority of the act.
                           The memorandum stipulated that the participants establish a general
                           framework for cooperation and establish a national interagency working
                           group that would coordinate the implementation of the Endangered
                           Species Act by, among other things, identifying geographic regions for
                           species management and reporting its accomplishments annually to the
                           public. In commenting on a draft of this report, the Departments of the
                           Interior and Agriculture stated that some efforts were undertaken as a
                           result of this memorandum, and they believe interagency cooperation had
                           increased. However, we found that some officials at the land management
                           agencies we visited were unaware of this memorandum. According to two


                           35
                              Members of the Barry M. Goldwater Range Executive Council include the Air Force,
                           Marine Corps, Arizona Game and Fish Department, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish
                           and Wildlife Ecological Services, National Park Service’s Organ Pipe Cactus National
                           Monument, U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service’s Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, and U.S.
                           Customs and Border Protection.




                           Page 14                                                    GAO-03-976 Military Training
officials who helped develop the agreement, the legislative proposals
failed, and management support for cooperative management for
endangered species was subsequently reduced. As a result, the national
interagency working group was never formed, and the annual reporting
requirements were never met. The memorandum expired in 1999.

In addition, the Departments of Defense, the Interior, and Agriculture and
other federal agencies signed the 1995 Memorandum of Understanding to
Foster the Ecosystem Approach to implement the recommendations of
the Interagency Ecosystem Management Task Force.36 The task force
recommended that agencies should engage in coordinated, integrated
actions and adopt principles to provide guidance for participating in
ecosystem efforts. The federal agencies agreed to participate in
interagency efforts and look for new opportunities for cooperative efforts.
The agencies also designated oversight responsibility and agreed to report
on their accomplishments to the task force. According to a knowledgeable
DOD official, the task force dissolved when changes were made to the task
force’s leadership and personnel, and neither DOD nor other federal
agencies initiated any coordinated approaches as a result of this
memorandum; it expired in 1999.

The Departments of Defense, the Interior, Agriculture, and another federal
agency, as part of their efforts on the Interagency Military Land Use
Coordination Committee,37 drafted a memorandum in 2002 promoting the
coordination of land use activities. The memorandum encourages federal
land managers to work together and regularly discuss military and other
land-use issues with nearby land managers and to consider the effects of
their actions on lands managed by other federal agencies. In addition, the


36
  In August 1993, the Interagency Ecosystem Management Task Force was established
to carry out Vice President Gore’s National Performance Review mandate, which called
for the agencies of the federal government to adopt a proactive approach to ensuring a
sustainable economy and a sustainable environment through ecosystem management. The
task force was made up of representatives from the Departments of Agriculture, Army,
Commerce, Defense, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Justice, Labor,
State, and Transportation; the Environmental Protection Agency; Office of Science and
Technology Policy; Office of Management and Budget; and Council on Environmental
Quality.
37
  In 1999, the Departments of Defense, the Interior, and Agriculture entered into a
memorandum of understanding creating the Interagency Military Land Use Coordination
Committee to maintain a continued dialogue on issues of interest and to foster
cooperation and communication. Subsequently, the Department of Energy, Department
of Transportation, and General Services Administration joined the committee. The
memorandum expires in October 2004.




Page 15                                                  GAO-03-976 Military Training
                           memorandum stipulates that the committee develop overarching policies
                           and procedures to ensure that federal land managers implement this
                           approach. Also, it is expected that federal land managers would develop
                           agency-specific policies and procedures for engaging other federal land
                           managers on a routine basis and report to the committee annually on their
                           progress. To date, the committee has not acted on this memorandum.
                           According to a cognizant DOD official, once the memorandum is signed,
                           it is still unclear how the actions outlined in the memorandum would
                           be implemented or affect agency participation in cooperative management
                           efforts.


Cooperative Management     While there are some examples of cooperative management efforts
Efforts Undertaken         between DOD and other federal land managers, most of these efforts
Generally in Response to   have been undertaken in response to a crisis. Such crises can include a
                           marked decline of a species’ population or land-use restrictions that may
a Crisis                   impact the federal land managers’ ability to carry out their missions.
                           Experience has shown that when there is not a crisis, there is little
                           incentive to cooperate.

                           Because of a marked decline in the number of Sonoran pronghorn at the
                           Barry M. Goldwater Range, federal and other land managers were being
                           pressured by the public to manage cooperatively in support of the species.
                           As a result, regional land managers formed the Barry M. Goldwater Range
                           Executive Council in 1997 to discuss issues of concern, ensure consistent
                           land management in the region, and identify and coordinate species
                           recovery efforts. The council identifies and prioritizes pronghorn recovery
                           efforts and has agreed to a number of initiatives to help preserve the
                           species, such as establishing forage enhancement plots. As a result,
                           restrictions on the training range have been minimized through DOD and
                           other federal land managers’ efforts to cooperate on protective measures
                           on nonmilitary lands.

                           Recently, the Departments of Defense, the Interior, and Agriculture
                           reacted to the potential listing of the black-tailed prairie dog. The U.S. Fish
                           and Wildlife Service received a petition to list the black-tailed prairie dog
                           and according to the Department of the Interior, it is working with 11
                           states, DOD, the Department of Agriculture, and other stakeholders to
                           coordinate their conservation and management efforts for the species and
                           its habitat. A memorandum of understanding among these agencies to
                           enhance cooperation for the conservation and management of the black-
                           tailed prairie dog is currently being staffed for signature. According to a
                           knowledgeable Army official, the federal land managers agreed to work


                           Page 16                                             GAO-03-976 Military Training
                               together because of the potential loss of land management flexibility
                               should the species be listed. For example, the Army is concerned about
                               land-use restrictions and impacts to training at Fort Carson, Colorado, and
                               other installations should the black-tailed prairie dog be listed. By working
                               together, federal land managers believe that they have better managed for
                               the species and helped avoid the need to list the species, which could
                               result in land-use restrictions.


                               The Departments of Defense, the Interior, and Agriculture have identified
Factors Limiting               a number of factors that can limit interagency cooperative management
Cooperative                    for endangered species affecting military training ranges. These factors
                               include a lack of a shared crisis among federal land managers, limited
Management for                 agency interaction, resource constraints, lack of land manager training and
Endangered Species             experience, and the lack of centralized or otherwise easily accessible
                               source of information. However, these departments have not developed a
                               comprehensive strategy to address these factors.


Lack of a Shared Crisis        When there is not a shared crisis among federal land managers, such as
among Federal Land             when a species does not exist on each other’s land or is not federally
Managers Hinders               listed, federal land managers do not always consider management of the
                               species a high priority. This in turn, can limit their participation in
Cooperative Management         cooperative management for the species, as in the following examples:

                          •	   At the Yakima Training Center, the potential loss of key areas of its tank
                               maneuver range prompted the Army to initiate the Washington (formerly
                               Western) Sage Grouse Working Group in 1996 in an effort to engage
                               nearby land managers in western sage grouse management efforts.38 The
                               training center manages the sage grouse, a candidate species,39 to prevent
                               restrictions on the training range that may occur should the species be


                               38
                                 Members of the Washington Sage Grouse Working Group include the Yakima Training
                               Center, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Ecological Services,
                               Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Yakama Nation, the Department of Energy,
                               and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Hanford Reach National Monument. Previous
                               members include the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Farm Service Agency,
                               Bureau of Reclamation, Washington State Department of Natural Resources, and the
                               Colville Federated Tribes.
                               39
                                 Candidate species are plants and animals for which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has
                               sufficient information on their biological status and threats to propose them as endangered
                               or threatened under the Endangered Species Act, but for which development of a listing
                               regulation is precluded by other higher priority listing activities.




                               Page 17                                                     GAO-03-976 Military Training
                              federally listed. One of the Army’s goals for the working group was to
                              create a regional conservation plan for the sage grouse that would include
                              individual conservation management plans from each of the nearby land
                              managers. Although other land managers attend working group meetings,
                              they have not completed their plans because they do not place the same
                              priority on recovering the western sage grouse as the Army, as the species
                              is not listed and is not found on their lands. Consequently, the Army will
                              continue to bear the majority of the responsibility of managing for the
                              western sage grouse.

                         •	   At Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, California, the Navy has held
                              numerous meetings with other land managers to encourage regional
                              management of the least tern and the snowy plover, which are federally
                              listed species. However, Navy officials told us that, to date, they have not
                              received commitment from local land managers to share the burden of
                              species management. The presence of these birds has resulted in the lost
                              use of the majority of the base’s training beaches. For example, while
                              there are 14 beach lanes40 at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, 4 lanes
                              have been completely closed because the birds occupy the lanes, and
                              training on 5 additional lanes is restricted when the birds are present.
                              Consequently, Navy officials said they have to substantially alter training
                              activities or conduct them elsewhere, which disrupts training cycles,
                              increases costs, and adds to the time sailors spend away from their
                              families. To reduce the burden of training range restrictions caused by the
                              presence of the birds, the Navy has identified the opportunity to move
                              some birds to a nearby national wildlife refuge where there is an
                              established bird population. Navy officials added that the wildlife refuge
                              has not cooperated as much as the Navy would like. However, according
                              to a refuge official, the Navy has never officially requested that the refuge
                              accept additional birds and currently the refuge is doing all it can do to
                              share the burden of species management in the region.


Limited Agency                Another factor that impacts cooperative management for endangered
Interaction Affects           species affecting training ranges is limited agency interaction. Various
Cooperative Management        agency officials stated that the lack of regular exchanges of information
                              has led to a lack of trust, a lack of a single vision, inefficiencies,
                              duplication of efforts, and misunderstanding of other agencies’ missions.



                              40
                                Beach lanes are training corridors that are comprised of 95 percent water and 5 percent
                              landing (beach) area and are used for amphibious landing by Marine Corps and Navy
                              personnel.




                              Page 18                                                     GAO-03-976 Military Training
                       For example, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials have suggested that
                       the Army at the Yakima Training Center should relocate its training to
                       other nearby locations to preserve the western sage grouse habitat.
                       According to Army officials, this suggestion demonstrates a lack of
                       understanding of the Army’s training mission at the Yakima Training
                       Center because these nearby locations are neither large enough to allow
                       live fire or tank formations nor topographically suited to tank maneuver
                       training.

                       DOD and other agency officials have stated that regular coordination and
                       communication should be addressed at national, regional, and local levels
                       by establishing interagency working groups and exchanging or colocating
                       staff among agencies at each of these levels. There is some coordination at
                       the headquarters level through liaison positions and the Endangered
                       Species Roundtable, an informal group comprised of members from the
                       Department of Defense, military services, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife
                       Service, which have enhanced coordination and communications since
                       1999. This also occurs on a limited basis at the local level, such as the
                       Barry M. Goldwater Range Executive Council. However, it does not occur
                       regularly at all three levels. For example, DOD created regional
                       environmental coordinator positions at each of the 10 Environmental
                       Protection Agency regional offices to address environmentally related
                       issues in the regions. According to a former Deputy Under Secretary of
                       Defense, even though these regional coordinators’ current focus is on
                       compliance issues, that should not preclude them from interacting with
                       other federal land managers in a broader capacity such as for endangered
                       species management. DOD and other federal agencies have proposed that
                       these regional coordinators bring together regional, state, and local
                       officials to address sustainable range issues including endangered species.


Resource Constraints   Defense, Interior, and Agriculture officials said that resource constraints,
Limit Cooperative      such as funding, staff, and a lack of incentives, limit efforts to manage
Management             cooperatively for endangered species affecting military training ranges.

                       A former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense said that installation
                       commanders face chronic underfunding issues and mission-related
                       projects take priority over other projects, such as cooperative
                       management activities. At Fort Lewis, Army officials stated that based on
                       discussions with other federal officials, these agencies lack the resources
                       to participate in endangered species-related projects, such as species
                       inventories. In addition, knowledgeable U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
                       officials told us that the service is underfunded and understaffed and


                       Page 19                                            GAO-03-976 Military Training
spends most of its time on lawsuits and other priorities. Department of the
Interior headquarters officials also said that limited funding and staff is a
significant barrier to better cooperation. They explained that much of
what the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service does is driven by lawsuits and that
there are not enough funds to cover all endangered species needs. They
also suggested that a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service strategic planner could
facilitate cooperation and coordination with DOD. Subsequently, DOD and
the military services are now funding a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
liaison position. Similarly, a Forest Service headquarters official said that
limited funding and staffing are barriers to cooperative management
efforts.

A 2002 Army Environmental Policy Institute study concluded that
understaffing is a common problem for both installation environmental
and natural resources programs.41 At several installations included in
the study, a lack of staff was viewed as a critical issue and, in some
cases, cooperative management implementation was limited due to
understaffing. For example, at Fort Knox, Kentucky, the Army reported
there is a lack of staff to implement cooperative management efforts
and insufficient funding to support cooperative management projects.
Understaffed natural resources offices find they can respond to short-term
initiatives and immediate demands, but longer-term cooperative
management initiatives are conducted piecemeal and only as time permits.
In addition, the study states that partnerships to create a regional vision
require commitment, which in turn requires funding and staff. However,
developing this vision is often not a high priority for an installation, and
therefore there is usually little funding available to implement projects that
support cooperative management efforts. Without enough qualified
environmental professionals on staff, successful cooperative management
is greatly inhibited.

Officials from the Departments of Defense, the Interior, Agriculture,
and other federal agencies stated that they lack incentives to manage
cooperatively. For example, Department of the Interior officials stated that
interagency cooperative management is not part of their performance
expectations and they are not rated on their ability to manage
cooperatively for endangered species with DOD and other federal land



41
  Army Environmental Policy Institute, Department of Defense Ecosystem Management
Policy Evaluation, AEPI-IFP-0802F (Atlanta, Ga.: Aug. 2002). The evaluation included
information from case studies at eight military installations.




Page 20                                                  GAO-03-976 Military Training
                         managers.42 At Fort Knox, issues and activities facing command and staff
                         tend to be relatively near term and personnel are rewarded for their
                         abilities to address these issues quickly. Cooperative management, on the
                         other hand, is a fundamentally long-term endeavor. The divergence of
                         these time frames makes cooperative management efforts difficult.


Lack of Training and     DOD officials and other federal land managers said that a lack of training
Expertise Limits         and expertise has limited federal land managers’ ability to identify
Cooperative Management   opportunities for cooperative management efforts as well as the
                         neighboring land managers needed to implement them. The Department of
                         the Interior, in commenting on a draft of this report, stated that many
                         courses are available at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National
                         Conservation and Training Center that could facilitate federal land
                         managers’ ability to identify opportunities for cooperative management.
                         However, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials stated that additional
                         training is needed to train land managers to identify opportunities for
                         interagency cooperation and to implement cooperative efforts. The Army
                         Environmental Policy Institute study concluded that there is a large
                         turnover in natural resources staff at military installations due to low pay
                         and limited advancement opportunities, and the newly hired staff requires
                         considerable training in natural resources issues.43 For example, according
                         to the study, field biologists at Naval Base Ventura County Point Mugu,
                         California, are critical to managing the ecosystem. However, field
                         biologists’ salaries are very low and they lack job security, so turnover is
                         high. As a result, the natural resources manager needs to frequently rehire
                         and train biologists.

                         DOD officials noted that staff reductions and the reliance on contractors
                         to perform some functions have resulted in the loss of institutional
                         memory and expertise that has adversely affected long-term initiatives,
                         such as cooperative management for endangered species. This lack of
                         expertise in natural resources programs limits the abilities of managers to
                         implement cooperative management efforts. For example, at Robins Air
                         Force Base, Georgia, installation environmental staff suggested that
                         cooperative management requires existing staff to have a broader and


                         42
                           In responding to a draft of this report, the Department of the Interior stated that its
                         managers are expected to implement the Secretary’s conservation policy that includes
                         cooperation and collaboration.
                         43
                              AEPI-IFP-0802F.




                         Page 21                                                       GAO-03-976 Military Training
                         more diverse skill set than ever before, and more specialized training is
                         needed toward that end. In addition, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
                         officials said that high staff turnover at some national wildlife refuges
                         leads to a loss of expertise, which makes it difficult to establish and
                         maintain good working relationships with other agencies.

Lack of Centralized or   The Departments of Defense, the Interior, and Agriculture and other
Otherwise Easily         federal agencies lack a centralized or otherwise easily accessible source of
Accessible Source of     information, which could facilitate the exchange of reliable, current, and
                         consistent information among and between federal land managers.
Information Limits
Cooperative Management   Officials with The Nature Conservancy, a nongovernmental organization
                         that works cooperatively with DOD and other federal land managers,
                         noted that the federal agencies lack a simple, comprehensive, and reliable
                         way to learn from each other’s successes and failures in conservation
                         planning and action, and of ongoing conservation plans and actions being
                         conducted within the region. The officials added that information related
                         to cooperative management efforts is often incomplete, outdated, difficult
                         to access, and not widely available. For example, while DOD’s Defense
                         Environmental Network and Information Exchange is centralized and
                         fairly good, the network is not widely available, does not contain
                         comprehensive data on lessons learned or best practices of interagency
                         cooperative management, and contains mostly information related to
                         policies or regulations. In addition, according to DOD officials, federal
                         agencies have no established method to share and integrate endangered
                         species research, development, monitoring actions, priorities, and results.
                         They identified this as being a serious impediment to developing the
                         science needed for interagency cooperative management of endangered
                         species.

                         DOD and other federal land managers suggest that information such as
                         agency points of contact, land management and conservation plans,
                         description of agency missions, training opportunities, and interagency
                         meetings and conferences is needed to encourage more cooperative
                         management efforts. Such information, which could be provided through
                         agency Web sites, should be readily accessible to all land managers and
                         could facilitate cooperative efforts.




                         Page 22                                           GAO-03-976 Military Training
Federal Land Managers   While the Departments of Defense, the Interior, and Agriculture and other
Lack a Comprehensive    federal land managers have identified several factors discussed above as
Implementation          limiting their ability to manage cooperatively, they have not developed a
                        comprehensive strategy to address them. The Army Environmental Policy
Strategy to Overcome    Institute study concluded that using the current project-by-project
Limiting Factors        approach to cooperative management would guarantee its ultimate failure
                        as an overall implementation strategy.44 According to DOD officials, there
                        needs to be a more comprehensive strategic approach to cooperative
                        management for natural resources management. They added that
                        initiatives such as those at the Barry M. Goldwater Range for the Sonoran
                        pronghorn should not come about as a result of a crisis, but rather from a
                        systematic approach to identify cooperative management opportunities.
                        In addition, a former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense stated there
                        needs to be a systematic and structured process for natural resources
                        management. DOD and other agency and nongovernmental officials added
                        that the current administration supports cooperative management efforts
                        and that federal land managers need to reach agreement on how best to
                        approach cooperative management. Also, in commenting on a draft of this
                        report, the Department of the Interior stated that its mission is integrally
                        tied to cooperative natural resources conservation and management, while
                        U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials we interviewed during this review
                        suggested there needs to be a strategy to institutionalize cooperative
                        management efforts. Such a strategy could include a systematic
                        methodology to identify opportunities to participate in cooperative
                        management efforts, funding sources, science and technology sources, and
                        goals and criteria to measure success.

                        Moreover, federal land management agencies are not subject to any
                        reporting requirements to Congress on regional interagency cooperative
                        management efforts for endangered species affecting military training
                        ranges. Congress typically uses agency or program annual reports to
                        monitor and hold accountable the federal agencies that oversee or
                        implement programs. However, Congress currently has no such
                        mechanism available to monitor interagency efforts to cooperatively
                        manage endangered species on a regional basis.




                        44
                             AEPI-IFP-0802F.




                        Page 23                                           GAO-03-976 Military Training
                      DOD and other federal land managers’ efforts to cooperatively manage
Conclusions           endangered species affecting military training ranges are limited, and there
                      are numerous factors that hinder these efforts. Without an interagency
                      strategy that addresses these factors, DOD and other federal land
                      managers are likely to continue undertaking cooperative management
                      efforts in response to crises. A strategy that includes a systematic
                      methodology to identify opportunities for cooperative management
                      efforts, funding sources, science and technology sources, and goals and
                      criteria to measure success would facilitate federal land managers sharing
                      the burden of land-use restrictions and limited resources, and potentially
                      help avoid exacerbating constraints on training at affected military
                      installations. Similarly, without training programs to train land managers
                      to identify opportunities for interagency cooperation as well as to train
                      neighboring land managers to implement cooperative efforts, DOD and
                      other federal land managers may miss opportunities to manage
                      endangered species more effectively while carrying out their land
                      management responsibilities. In addition, without a centralized or
                      otherwise easily accessible source of information that includes elements
                      such as lessons learned, best practices, and agency contacts, DOD and
                      other federal land managers cannot easily share information or learn
                      about cooperative management efforts within and across agencies. Given
                      that federal agencies have made little progress in implementing the various
                      agreements for cooperative management, an interagency reporting
                      requirement to Congress would provide the basis to hold the agencies
                      accountable for making progress on sharing the management for
                      endangered species affecting military training ranges.


                      To encourage cooperative management for endangered species affecting
Recommendations for   military training ranges, we recommend that the Secretaries of Defense,
Executive Action      the Interior, and Agriculture jointly (1) develop and implement an
                      interagency strategy that includes a systematic methodology to identify
                      opportunities for cooperative management efforts, funding sources,
                      science and technology sources, and goals and criteria to measure
                      success; (2) develop a comprehensive training program for federal land
                      managers, to include senior executives, regional, and on-site staff to
                      identify and implement opportunities for interagency cooperation; and
                      (3) create a centralized or easily accessible source of information on
                      cooperative management efforts that includes elements such as lessons
                      learned, best practices, and agency contacts for federal land managers.




                      Page 24                                           GAO-03-976 Military Training
                     To hold DOD and other federal land managers accountable for
Matter for           implementing regional interagency cooperative efforts for managing
Congressional        endangered species affecting military training ranges, Congress may wish
                     to consider requiring the Secretaries of Defense, the Interior, and
Consideration        Agriculture to jointly report each year on their efforts to manage
                     cooperatively for endangered species affecting military training ranges and
                     share the burden of land use restrictions.


                     We received written comments on a draft of this report from the
Agency Comments      Departments of Defense, the Interior, and Agriculture. They agreed on the
and Our Evaluation   need to improve interagency cooperation in managing for endangered
                     species.

                     In commenting on a draft of this report, the Acting Assistant Deputy
                     Under Secretary of Defense for Environment agreed with our
                     recommendations with some additional observations. Concerning our
                     recommendation to develop and implement an interagency strategy for
                     cooperative management efforts, DOD stated that the Interagency Military
                     Land Use Coordination Committee structure and process could be used to
                     develop a strategy. While we agree that the committee could be used to
                     develop the interagency strategy and methodology, the committee has
                     periods of inactivity and the memorandum of understanding that formed
                     this group is set to expire in October 2004. Therefore, we believe that a
                     more formalized effort needs to be undertaken with support from the
                     Secretary of each department. In commenting on our recommendation
                     that the departments with land management responsibilities jointly
                     develop an education program, DOD agreed but suggested a focus on
                     training rather than education might be more appropriate. We agreed and
                     have modified the recommendation accordingly. DOD’s comments are
                     reprinted in appendix III.

                     In commenting on a draft of this report, the Department of the Interior’s
                     Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget generally agreed
                     with our findings, noting that its agencies are continually working to
                     improve and expand interagency coordination and cooperation and stating
                     that our recommendations could help link conservation efforts among the
                     departments and produce better information for land managers to address
                     endangered species issues. The department also stated that it was
                     concerned the recommendations would likely create increased demands
                     on already strained resources. However, we believe that if cooperative
                     management were incorporated into the department’s daily management
                     practices as stated in the department’s policy of “conserving through


                     Page 25                                          GAO-03-976 Military Training
cooperation” and not viewed as a separate effort, the impact on resource
requirements could be limited. At the same time, based on the
department’s concerns about resource requirements and recognizing the
prevalence of Web-based information systems, we modified our second
recommendation to suggest that a centralized or otherwise easily
accessible source of information be developed. In addition, the
department also expressed the view that the level of coordination and
cooperation between the department and DOD is more extensive than the
report’s findings indicated. The department suggested that the report
should include a more comprehensive view of current interagency
cooperation for management of endangered species. While the department
suggested a number of additional instances of interagency cooperation, we
found that many of them were more related to regulatory consultations45
than efforts to achieve increased cooperative management between
federal land managers on a regional basis. Nevertheless, we did include a
few additional examples as appropriate. The Department of the Interior’s
comments are reprinted in appendix IV.

In commenting on the draft of this report, the Department of Agriculture
did not respond directly to our recommendations for executive action, but
indicated that it strongly supports interagency cooperative management
for endangered species. The Department of Agriculture’s comments are
reprinted in appendix V.

The Departments of Defense, the Interior, and Agriculture also provided
various technical comments that we incorporated as appropriate.


As requested by your offices, unless you publicly announce the contents
of this report earlier, we plan no further distribution of it until 30 days
from the date of this report. We will then send copies of this report to
the appropriate congressional committees, as well as the Secretaries of
Defense, the Interior, and Agriculture. We will also make copies available
to others upon request. In addition, the report will be available at no
charge on GAO’s Web site at http://www.gao.gov/.




45
  The Endangered Species Act requires all federal agencies to consult with the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service or the National Marine Fisheries Service to determine the effect that
the activities they conduct, permit, or fund may have on threatened or endangered species.




Page 26                                                     GAO-03-976 Military Training
If you or your staff have any questions on the matters discussed in this 

report, please contact Barry Holman at (202) 512-8412, or Barry Hill at 

(202) 512-9775. Patricia Nichol, Tommy Baril, Michelle K. Treistman, 

Byron Galloway, Patricia McClure, Mark Little, and R.K. Wild were major 

contributors to this report. 





Barry W. Holman, Director 

Defense Capabilities and Management 





Barry T. Hill, Director 

Natural Resources and Environment 





Page 27                                          GAO-03-976 Military Training
Appendix I: Scope and Methodology 



              To identify the extent to which DOD and nearby federal land managers are
              managing cooperatively for endangered species affecting military training
              ranges on a regional basis, we met with officials of the Office of the
              Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Installations and Environment;
              Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Readiness; the
              Environmental Programs Division, Office of the Civil Engineer,
              Headquarters, Air Force; Director of Ranges and Airspace, Air and Space
              Operations, Headquarters, Air Force; the Office of the Director for
              Environmental Programs, Army Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation
              Management; the Land Use and Military Construction Branch, Installations
              and Logistics Department, Headquarters, Marine Corps; Environmental
              Readiness Division, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Department of
              the Navy; the Army Forces Command; the Air Force Air Education and
              Training Command; Luke Air Force Base, Arizona; Marine Corps Air
              Station Yuma, Arizona; and Fort Lewis, Washington. We also met with
              headquarters and field officials of the Departments of the Interior and
              Agriculture, including the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and
              Wildlife Service and its National Wildlife Refuge System, the National Park
              Service, and headquarters officials at the Forest Service. In addition, we
              interviewed a former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense and officials with
              nongovernmental organizations including the Endangered Species
              Coalition, The Nature Conservancy, and the International Association of
              Fish and Wildlife Agencies. We also visited three training ranges—Yakima
              Training Center, Washington; Fort Lewis, Washington; and the Barry M.
              Goldwater Training Range, Arizona—in order to identify the extent to
              which the training ranges and the nearby federal land managers are
              managing cooperatively for endangered species. Specifically, we visited
              the Yakima Training Center based on discussions with Army officials
              about their unsuccessful attempts to work with other federal land
              managers in the region. We also visited with officials at Fort Lewis, as they
              previously managed the Yakima Training Center. We visited the Barry M.
              Goldwater Training Range based on discussions with various DOD and
              other federal agency officials concerning the successful cooperative
              management efforts that have been undertaken in the region. We also
              obtained and analyzed information from nearby land managers, state
              wildlife agency officials, Native American Tribal representatives, and
              nongovernmental organizations in Washington and Arizona on their
              views of cooperative management and the extent to which they are
              cooperating with the training range in the management of endangered
              species. To identify the policies of the major land management
              departments—Departments of Defense, the Interior, and Agriculture—that
              promote a cooperative approach to natural resources and endangered
              species management, we reviewed DOD directives, instructions, and an


              Page 28                                           GAO-03-976 Military Training
Appendix I: Scope and Methodology




action plan that promote cooperative approaches to further sustainment
objectives to include training ranges. We also reviewed a DOD-sponsored
tri-service partnering guide for environmental missions of the Army, Navy,
and Air Force. The guide was created for the purpose of encouraging
greater use of partnering at the policy, installation, and project levels of
several DOD programs, including conservation. In addition, we reviewed
the military services implementing instructions for the management of
natural resources. We also reviewed policies, instructions, land-use
planning documents, and manuals for the implementation of the
Endangered Species Act from selected agencies of the Departments of
the Interior and Agriculture and reviewed a number of their memorandum
of understanding to cooperate in the execution of the Endangered
Species Act.

To determine the factors that limit cooperative management of
endangered species affecting military training ranges, we met with officials
of the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Installations
and Environment; Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for
Readiness; the Environmental Programs Division, Office of the Civil
Engineer, Headquarters, Air Force; Director of Ranges and Airspace, Air
and Space Operations, Headquarters, Air Force; the Office of the Director
for Environmental Programs, Army Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation
Management; the Land Use and Military Construction Branch, Installations
and Logistics Department, Headquarters, Marine Corps; Environmental
Readiness Division, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy; the
Army Forces Command; and the Air Force Education and Training
Command. In addition, we met with a former Deputy Under Secretary of
Defense. We also met with officials of the Departments of the Interior and
Agriculture, including the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service and its National Wildlife Refuge System, the National Park
Service, and the Forest Service. We also analyzed and compared the views
of officials at the Yakima Training Center and Barry M. Goldwater Training
Range to the responses obtained from neighboring land managers, DOD,
and other agency officials cited above, and relevant program officials.
We also reviewed reports that document issues that were identified as
obstacles to achieving cooperative management, including the August 2002
Army Environmental Policy Institute’s Department of Defense Ecosystem
Management Policy Evaluation1 and the draft September 2002


1
 Army Environmental Policy Institute, Department of Defense Ecosystem Management
Policy Evaluation, AEPI-IFP-0802F (Atlanta, Ga.: Aug. 2002). The evaluation included
information from case studies at eight military installations.




Page 29                                                  GAO-03-976 Military Training
Appendix I: Scope and Methodology




Interagency Handbook for the Joint Stewardship of Withdrawn or 

Permitted Federal Lands Used by the Military2 and our 1994 report 

entitled Ecosystem Management: Additional Actions Needed to 

Adequately Test a Promising Approach.3 In all, we sought to 

identify common reasons cited by program officials and land managers 

for their inability to pursue cooperative regional management of 

endangered species. 


We conducted our work from September 2002 through September 2003 in
accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.




2
 Interagency Military Land Use Coordination Committee, Interagency Handbook for
the Joint Stewardship of Withdrawn of Permitted Federal Lands Used by the Military
(Draft), Sept. 2002.
3
 U.S. General Accounting Office, Ecosystem Management: Additional Actions Needed
to Adequately Test a Promising Approach, GAO/RCED-94-111 (Washington, D.C.:
Aug. 16, 1994).




Page 30                                                 GAO-03-976 Military Training
Appendix II: Timeline of DOD’s and Other
Federal Agencies’ Policies and Initiatives
That Promote Cooperative Management
1989
Jan. 24        DOD Directive 4700.4, Natural Resources Management Program, that,
               among other things, requires DOD to coordinate its natural resources
               program with other federal agencies and develop criteria and procedures
               for cooperative planning and integrated natural resources management
               planning process; and establish a DOD Natural Resources Council.

1994           U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, An Ecosystem Approach to Fish and
               Wildlife Conservation, guides the agency’s implementation of
               ecosystem management.

Jan. 25        Interagency memorandum of understanding—Candidate, Proposed, and
               Sensitive Species—signed by five federal agencies, encourages federal
               agencies to address the threats to these species, thereby reducing or
               possibly eliminating the need for them to be federally listed—especially
               those species that require regional/ecosystem conservation actions. The
               memorandum expired in September 1999.

March 24       Congressional Research Service, at the request of six congressional
               committees, hosted a two-day ecosystem management symposium for
               federal agencies to identify opportunities for interagency cooperative
               management.

April 26       Department of the Army, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National
               Biological Service hosted a 2-day interagency endangered species
               symposium for the purpose of formulating a better understanding of
               agencies’ missions to foster interagency cooperative management for
               endangered species.

July 1         U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service,
               Interagency Cooperative Policy for the Ecosystem Approach to the
               Endangered Species Act, incorporated ecosystem considerations in
               Endangered Species Act actions. In part, the agencies are to use the
               authorities of the act to develop clear, consistent policies that integrate the
               mandates of federal, state, tribal, and local governments to prevent species
               endangerment by protecting, conserving, restoring, or rehabilitating
               ecosystems that are important for conservation of biodiversity.

Aug. 8         Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Environmental Security) policy
               statement, Implementation of Ecosystem Management in the DOD, states
               that ecosystem management will become the basis for future management
               of DOD lands and waters. The policy statement identifies five key


               Page 31                                             GAO-03-976 Military Training
           Appendix II: Timeline of DOD’s and Other
           Federal Agencies’ Policies and Initiatives
           That Promote Cooperative Management




           elements for ecosystem management, including developing
           coordinated approaches.

Sept. 28   Interagency memorandum of understanding, Implementation of the
           Endangered Species Act, signed by 14 federal agencies to establish a
           general framework for cooperation and participation in the exercise of
           each agency’s responsibility under the act. The memorandum expired in
           September 1999.

1995
June       Interagency Ecosystem Management Task Force report, The Ecosystem
           Approach: Healthy Ecosystems and Sustainable Economies Report—
           Vol. I, describes the ecosystem approach and identifies key crosscutting
           issues relevant to its implementation, including understanding what the
           ecosystem approach is. Specifically, the approach emphasizes improving
           coordination among federal agencies and forming partnerships between
           federal, state, tribal, and local governments; private landowners; and other
           stakeholders.

Sept.      Interagency Ecosystem Management Task Force report, The Ecosystem
           Approach: Healthy Ecosystems and Sustainable Economies Report— Vol.
           II Implementation Issues, describes major issue areas that influence the
           effectiveness of the ecosystem approach and made recommendations for
           improvements.

Dec. 15    Interagency Memorandum of Understanding to Foster the Ecosystem
           Approach, signed by 14 federal agencies, carries out an Interagency
           Ecosystem Management Task Force report recommendation that member
           agencies enter into an agreement to provide leadership in and cooperation
           with activities that foster the ecosystem approach. The memorandum
           expired in September 1999.

1996       DOD and The Nature Conservancy, Conserving Biodiversity on Military
           Lands: A Handbook for Natural Resources Managers, promotes
           ecosystem and regional management approaches on military installations.

Jan. 23    Keystone Center, Keystone Center Policy Dialogue on a Department of
           Defense Biodiversity Management Strategy, was developed by
           representatives from DOD, other government agencies, and
           nongovernmental interests to develop policy guidance for enhancing and
           protecting DOD lands in a way that is integrated with the military mission.
           The report covers three aspects of biodiversity conservation, including


           Page 32                                           GAO-03-976 Military Training
          Appendix II: Timeline of DOD’s and Other
          Federal Agencies’ Policies and Initiatives
          That Promote Cooperative Management




          (1) the policy framework for DOD's biodiversity and suggestions for
          clarifying and improving current policies and programs, and for integrating
          mission planning and biodiversity conservation; (2) principles and steps of
          a model process for biodiversity conservation on DOD installations and
          describes the regional context in which biodiversity occurs; and (3)
          measures of success that can be used to monitor diversity conservation in
          the context of military readiness at the installation level to support
          decision making at policy levels.

Feb. 24   DOD Directive 4715.1, Environmental Security, establishes the Defense
          Environmental Security Council and requires the designation of a military
          department to serve as an executive agent for environmental coordination
          in each of the 10 Environmental Protection Agency federal regions.

May 3     DOD Instruction 4715.2, Regional Environmental Coordination,
          implements policy, assigns responsibilities, and prescribes procedures
          under DOD Directive 4715.1 by establishing DOD Regional Environmental
          Coordinators.

May 3     DOD Instruction 4715.3, Environmental Conservation Program,
          implements policy and prescribes procedures under DOD Directive 4715.1
          for, among other things, the integrated management of natural and cultural
          resources on property under DOD control; establishes the DOD
          conservation committee; defines ecosystem management as an approach
          realized through effective partnerships; states that in ecosystem
          management policy all interested parties (federal, state, tribal, and local
          governments; nongovernmental organizations; private organizations; and
          the public) should collaborate in developing a shared vision of what
          constitutes desirable future ecosystem conditions for the region of
          concern; and instructs installations to meet regularly with regional
          stakeholders.

July      Air Force, Army, Navy Tri-Service Committee, Partnering Guide for
          Environmental Missions of the Air Force, Army, Navy, developed by a
          tri-service committee under sponsorship of DOD to describe ways in
          which partnering could be used in the environmental programs of the
          three services.

1998
Sept.     Departments of Defense, the Interior, and Agriculture memorandum of
          understanding, Cooperation and Coordination of the Use and
          Management of Lands and Resources, establishes the Interagency Military


          Page 33                                          GAO-03-976 Military Training
          Appendix II: Timeline of DOD’s and Other
          Federal Agencies’ Policies and Initiatives
          That Promote Cooperative Management




          Land Use Coordination Committee to improve interagency communication
          and coordination on matters of mutual interest. Subsequently, the
          Department of Energy, Department of Transportation, and General
          Services Administration joined the committee.

1999      U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Fiscal Year 1999-2000 Director’s
          Priorities: Ecosystem Approach, identifies specific actions plans and
          dates to implement ecosystem management.

May 17    DOD and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service memorandum of understanding,
          Ecosystem-based Management of Fish, Wildlife, and Plant Resources on
          Military Lands, establishes a policy of cooperation and coordination
          between the agencies for the effective and efficient management of fish,
          wildlife, and plant resources on military lands.

Aug. 18   U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service memo, Guidelines for Ecosystem Teams,
          guides service personnel in their implementation of an ecosystem
          approach. Defined as a comprehensive approach to conservation and to
          embrace partnerships outside the agency.

2001
Feb. 22   U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, and
          Environmental Protection Agency memorandum of agreement, Enhanced
          Coordination Under the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act, to
          enhance coordination between the agencies to best carry out their
          responsibilities under the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act.

Aug. 28   DOD, Endangered Species Action Plan (Draft), provides an overview and
          analysis of its endangered species encroachment issue, along with
          potential strategies and action concepts for consideration by DOD
          decision makers.

2002
April 2   National Military Fish and Wildlife Association, Endangered Species
          Program Talking Points, states that successful recovery planning and
          implementation depends on building support and participation by federal,
          state, and local agencies; tribal governments; researchers; conservation
          organizations; private landowners; and individuals. Cooperation and
          coordination among all parties is essential to effective recovery programs.




          Page 34                                           GAO-03-976 Military Training
          Appendix II: Timeline of DOD’s and Other
          Federal Agencies’ Policies and Initiatives
          That Promote Cooperative Management




Aug.      Army Environmental Policy Institute, Department of Defense Ecosystem 

          Management Policy Evaluation, provides insights into the level of 

          ecosystem management implemented across the military services. 

          Recommendations include that the military services move closer to the 

          goal of the DOD Instruction 4715.3, where ecosystem management 

          principals, such as cooperative management, become not just special 

          projects, but rather where they form the basis for decision making at the 

          installation level. 


Sept.     Interagency Military Land Use Coordination Committee, draft Interagency

          Handbook for the Joint Stewardship of Withdrawn or Permitted Federal 

          Lands Used by the Military states that the common interest in the 

          stewardship of these lands forms the basis for innovative interagency

          efforts to develop coordination mechanisms and procedures for 

          accomplishing the stewardship of natural and cultural resources. 


Sept.     U.S. Department of Agriculture, Strategic Plan for FY2002-2007, 

          identifies five major programmatic policies, including protecting and 

          enhancing the nation’s natural resource base and environment. 


Oct. 17   Navy Instruction 5090.1B, Navy Environmental and Natural Resources 

          Program Manual, establishes Navy policy to incorporate ecosystems

          management as the basis for planning and managing Navy installations. 


2003
Jan. 10   DOD Directive 3200.15, Sustainment Of Ranges And Operating Areas 

          (OPREA), establishes policy and assigns responsibilities for the 

          sustainment of test and training ranges, and states that DOD should enter 

          into cooperative agreements and partnerships with other federal agencies 

          to sustain training ranges by, among other things, managing for 

          endangered species. It also directs that the services promote inter- and 

          intra-service coordination of sustainment-management issues and institute 

          multi-tiered (e.g., national, regional, and local) coordination and outreach 

          programs that promote sustainment of ranges and operating areas and 

          resolution of encroachment issues. Also, to improve communications, the 

          services should enter into cooperative agreements and partnerships with 

          other federal agencies, state, tribal, and local governments, and with non-

          governmental organizations with expertise or interest in DOD ranges, 

          operating areas, and airspace to further sustainment objectives. 


Feb.      U.S. Department of the Interior, Draft Revised Strategic Plan for 

          FY 2003-2008, defines the Secretary’s vision of conservation through 



          Page 35                                           GAO-03-976 Military Training
            Appendix II: Timeline of DOD’s and Other
            Federal Agencies’ Policies and Initiatives
            That Promote Cooperative Management




            cooperation, consultation, and communication. The department relies on
            three key tools, including partnerships, to meet its strategic goals and
            accomplish its mission. Through an increasing number of partnership
            efforts, the department will continue to reduce the threat from invasive
            species and strive to protect habitat that supports threatened, endangered,
            and other native species.

April 29	   The U.S. Geological Survey, responding to a request from the U.S. Fish and
            Wildlife Service and Department of Defense Endangered Species
            Roundtable, hosted a two-day forum focused on the science of threatened
            species, endangered species, and at-risk species. The forum attempted to
            develop a more effective approach to identify and share information;
            coordinate research and monitoring; and facilitate the development of
            more effective strategies and plans to address research and development.




            Page 36                                          GAO-03-976 Military Training
Appendix III: Comments from the
Department of Defense




              Page 37             GAO-03-976 Military Training
                              Appendix III: Comments from the Department
                              of Defense




Note: Page numbers in
the draft report may differ
from those in this report.




                              Page 38                                      GAO-03-976 Military Training
Appendix IV: Comments from the
Department of the Interior




             Page 39             GAO-03-976 Military Training
Appendix IV: Comments from the Department
of the Interior




Page 40                                     GAO-03-976 Military Training
Appendix V: Comments from the Department
of Agriculture




(350268)     Page 41           GAO-03-976 Military Training
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