Commentary

Your Navy must be ready to respond

As we’ve done for decades, your U.S. Navy conducts critical military readiness activities in the Pacific Northwest, and we are reapplying for authorizations to continue this training and testing for the next seven years, as our current authorizations expire later this year.

It is imperative the Navy continues these activities in the Pacific Northwest to prepare our sailors for dangerous or emergency missions throughout the world, to include large-scale conflicts, maritime security operations, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief efforts.

Training and testing in the Pacific Northwest’s diverse and challenging environment is crucial to prepare sailors for what they will experience in dynamic real-world situations to ensure both their success and survival.

As part of this process, the Navy recently released the Northwest Training and Testing Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement, in which the Navy analyzed the potential environmental impacts associated with proposed future military readiness activities in this region.

These activities are predominately similar to ones that have safely occurred in this area for decades. While Navy activity makes up less than 1 percent of all Puget Sound vessel traffic and approximately 6 percent of air traffic in Washington state each year, we are committed to collaborating on best practices while balancing our national defense and environmental stewardship responsibilities.

The Navy implements multiple protective measures during these activities to mitigate impacts on the environment. The Navy has added new and updated protective measures based on the best available science, recent consultation with federal and state regulators, and comments from the public. You can learn about them and find the Navy’s updated comprehensive analysis at this site.

The Navy expects to release a Record of Decision on this analysis later this fall.

Rear Adm. Stephen Barnett is the commander of Navy Region Northwest.

The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of Navy Times or its staff, If you would like to respond, or have a commentary on another Navy issue, you may submit them to Kent Miller, editor of Navy Times.

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