WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), ranking member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness, made the following remarks, as prepared for delivery, ahead of a hearing titled, “Land Based Ranges: Building Military Readiness While Protecting Natural and Cultural Resources:”
"Thank you, Chairman Garamendi. As our military capabilities have evolved, the adequacy of our testing and training ranges has struggled to keep pace. Our major aviation ranges, for example, were built for platforms that delivered gravity bombs from around 10,000 feet. The precision guided munitions our combat aircraft carry today are delivered at three times that altitude from over 30 miles away. The limitations of these ranges require the services to impose administrative restrictions that prevent realistic training on many missions sets. Not only is training value diminished – in some cases our pilots learn bad habits from these work arounds that could be deadly to them in combat.
"With that in mind, the Air Force and the Navy are requesting to extend the land withdrawals for the Nevada Testing and Training Range and the Fallon Range Training Complex, which is also in Nevada. They are also asking Congress to expand the footprints of these withdrawals so that they can safely train with precision guided weapons, employ modern platforms like the F35, and provide much needed additional capacity.
"Both the Fallon and Nevada Test range withdrawals and the requested expansions will require the concurrence of the Natural Resources Committee, on which some other members of this Subcommittee and I also serve. We will talk about a host of important issues related to these two land withdrawals today, such as protecting the environment, Tribal consultation, and energy development. Many of these are valid concerns that we should do our absolute best to address. But make no mistake, this is first and foremost about military readiness. It is vital to our national security. I look forward to hearing from our witnesses regarding their efforts to work with the relevant community, environmental, and Tribal stakeholders.
"Physical and frequency spectrum encroachment on military training and test ranges also present significant challenges. Our committee routinely hears concerns from communities bordering military installations. The military trains a great deal at night and they are frequently loud. In the case of Fallon, mining and energy development concerns and the ability to hunt game are also factors. The use of land buffers by the services is a win-win. It protects training resources while also preserving natural habitats and providing space so that the military can be good neighbors. These are all reasons to get these land withdrawals right the first time.
"In his written testimony, Mr. Gillis stated that 'Land is among the important resources to accomplish Army Training.' I could not agree more with that statement. It is also critical to the Air Force and the Navy. Whether they are training for the near peer threats identified in the National Defense Strategy or for counter terrorism, our land forces require large maneuver areas and quality ranges. The Army does not have any major withdrawals in front of us today, but they also benefit from similar arrangements in places like the National Training Center and White Sand Missile Range.
"Thank you to each of our witnesses today for your testimony on this important topic. Mr. Chairman, I yield back."