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AFTT Supplemental EIS/OEIS Menu

 

AFTT Study Area

AFTT Study Area

Proposed Action


The United States (U.S.) Department of the Navy (including both the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps) and the U.S. Coast Guard (hereinafter jointly referred to as the “Action Proponents”) propose to continue to conduct military readiness training and research, development, testing, and evaluation (hereinafter referred to as “testing”) activities in the Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing (AFTT) Study Area, as represented in Figure 1. These military readiness activities include the use of active sonar and explosives, primarily within existing range complexes and testing ranges that are comprised of operating areas (sea space) and warning areas (airspace) located in the Atlantic Ocean along the eastern coast of North America, the Gulf of Mexico, and portions of the Caribbean Sea, at select Navy pierside locations, within port transit channels, and some inland waters.  

In order to achieve and maintain military readiness, the Action Proponents propose to:  

  • Adjust training and testing activities from current levels to levels required to support U.S. Navy (Navy), U.S. Marine Corps (USMC), and U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) military readiness requirements beginning November 2025 and into the reasonably foreseeable future.  
  • Accommodate evolving mission requirements associated with force structure changes, including those resulting from the development, testing, and eventual introduction of new weapon systems and platforms (vessels, aircraft) into the fleet. 

This analysis of the environmental impacts of the Proposed Action supports the Action Proponents’ request for incidental takes of marine mammals from military readiness activities as required by the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). The analysis also supports the Action Proponents’ requirements to consult with NMFS and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Since the Proposed Action for the fourth phase is largely similar to training and testing activities analyzed in the third phase, the Action Proponents are preparing a supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement (OEIS), referred to hereinafter as the Supplemental. The Supplemental will be updated with new information to include new acoustic criteria, updated acoustic and explosive modeling, and updated marine species data.       

The following range complexes fall within the AFTT Study Area:  

  • Northeast Range Complexes;
  • Virginia Capes (VACAPES) Range Complex;
  • Navy Cherry Point Range Complex;
  • Jacksonville (JAX) Range Complex;
  • Key West Range Complex; and 
  • Gulf of Mexico (GOMEX) Range Complex.  

Testing ranges in the AFTT Study Area include:  

  • Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division, Newport Testing Range;  
  • Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City Division Testing Range; and  
  • Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division, South Florida Ocean Measurement Facility Testing Range.  

While most military readiness activities will take place in open ocean operating and warning areas, some activities, such as sonar maintenance and gunnery exercises, are conducted concurrent with normal transits and occur outside of these areas, but still within the Study Area. 

The pierside testing locations and associated port transit channels are located at the following Navy ports and naval shipyards:  

  • Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, Maine;  
  • Naval Submarine Base New London, Groton, Connecticut;  
  • Naval Station Newport, Newport, Rhode Island;  
  • Naval Station Norfolk, Norfolk, Virginia;  
  • Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, Virginia Beach, Virginia;  
  • Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, Virginia;  
  • Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Kings Bay, Georgia;  
  • Naval Station Mayport, Jacksonville, Florida; and  
  • Port Canaveral, Cape Canaveral, Florida. 

In addition, Navy-contractor pierside testing locations in the following cities, along with their associated port transit channels and inshore waters (such as bays and rivers) are in the AFTT Study Area: 

  • Bath, Maine;  
  • Groton, Connecticut;  
  • Newport News, Virginia;   
  • Pascagoula, Mississippi; 
  • North Bay, Florida; 
  • New Orleans, Louisiana; and 
  • Mobile, Alabama. 

For decades, the Navy has been conducting military readiness activities in the AFTT Study Area. During this time, the tempo and types of military readiness activities in the Study Area have evolved due to changing requirements, the introduction of new technologies, the dynamic nature of international events, advances in warfighting doctrine and procedures, and force structure changes.  

  • Department of the Navy training activities

    Department of the Navy (to include the U.S. Marine Corps) tactical training activities conducted in the AFTT Study Area are organized into seven functional areas, known as Primary Mission Areas or, more commonly, warfare areas. These include air warfare, amphibious warfare, surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, mine warfare, strike warfare, and electronic warfare. Each specific training event addressed in this Supplemental is categorized under one of these warfare areas.   

    The Supplemental will analyze military readiness activities including: 

    • Major training exercises in support of the Optimized Fleet Response Plan (O-FRP); 
    • New platforms and weapon systems such as the Joint Strike Fighter, unmanned vehicles, and new sensors used in anti-submarine warfare and mine warfare;  
    • Unmanned autonomous systems and remotely operated unmanned systems in training activities; and 
    • Accounting for Platforms and systems that are no longer in service.