Completed in 2013 > Navy Training and Testing > Training Ranges
What are Ranges?

“Ranges” are locations where Navy personnel train to accomplish their mission of national defense. Ranges are often grouped into complexes. A “range complex” is an organized and designated geographic area used by the Navy to conduct necessary activities and training exercises. Having a designated range complex allows our military to train and perform required exercises against a simulated threat in an environment that is safe and controlled for Sailors and for other users of the area. Ensuring sustained use of Navy ranges, operational areas and airspace is a growing challenge as encroachment from various sources limits and sometimes restricts their use. Yet Navy personnel require access to continued, consistent, and realistic training opportunities using ever-advancing technologies to defend our country.

Hawaii Range Complex
Hawaii Range Complex Map

The Hawaii Range Complex geographically encompasses the offshore and onshore areas located on or around the major islands of the Hawaiian Islands chain. Although part of the Hawaii Range Complex, the onshore areas are not included in this EIS/OEIS. These areas were analyzed in the Final Hawaii Range Complex EIS/OEIS (2008). The Hawaii Range Complex includes the Hawaii Operating Area which consists of 235,000 square nautical miles of surface and subsurface ocean areas and special use airspace for military training and testing activities and the Temporary Operating Area consisting of 2.1 million square nautical miles of sea and airspace for training and testing activities.

For more than a century, Hawaii has been a place where the Navy has trained its Sailors and repaired and replenished the ships of the United States at Pearl Harbor. In the 1920s, a submarine base was established at Pearl Harbor, creating a need for the training of Sailors and officers serving in the undersea environment. As world tensions increased in the 1930s and early 1940s, the Navy rapidly increased its presence and number of facilities in Hawaii. The Pacific Fleet established its headquarters at Pearl Harbor on February 1, 1941. Ten months later, on December 7, 1941, the Fleet was attacked at Pearl Harbor, propelling America into World War II. The Pacific was the site of World War II’s most decisive naval battles. Naval forces in Hawaii remained vital to U.S. interests throughout the mid-century, as control of the seas provided advantages to allied forces during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Since 1968, a multinational sea-power exercise given the name “Rim of the Pacific” (RIMPAC) has been conducted within the Hawaii Operating Area, testing the abilities of a number of the navies of the Pacific Rim to function together. Participating Pacific Rim nations have included Australia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Chile, Peru, and Canada. Today, the Navy’s presence in Hawaii remains of essential strategic and operational importance to U.S. national interests.

Southern California Range Complex
Southern California Range Complex Map

The Navy has been training in the Southern California (SOCAL) Range Complex for national defense purposes for over 70 years. The SOCAL Range Complex is a suite of existing land ranges (on San Clemente Island) and training areas, surface and subsurface ocean ranges and operating areas, and military airspace that is centrally managed and controlled by the Navy. The SOCAL Range Complex encompasses ocean operating areas and military Special Use Airspace; the SOCAL Range Complex’s boundaries extend more than 600 nautical miles to the southwest in the Pacific Ocean covering approximately 120,000 square nautical miles of ocean area. The SOCAL Range Complex includes the land ranges and training areas on San Clemente Island and near-island ocean operating areas and ranges. Although part of the SOCAL Range Complex, the land ranges and training areas on San Clemente Island are not included in this EIS/OEIS. Collectively, the components of the SOCAL Range Complex provide the space and resources needed to execute training events across the training continuum, from individual skills training to complex joint exercises. The mission of the SOCAL Range Complex is to support Navy, Marine Corps, and joint (multi-service) training by maintaining and operating range facilities and by providing range services and support to the military services. The Commander, Fleet Forces Command and Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet are responsible for operations, maintenance, training, and support of this national training asset.

Silver Strand Training Complex
Silver Strand Training Complex Map

The Silver Strand Training Complex (SSTC) is a unique Navy range that cannot be duplicated elsewhere. Its year-round temperate climate, access to both the rough waters of the Pacific Ocean and calm waters of the San Diego Bay, open beach areas, varied land terrain, and proximity to the homeport of southern California forces make it a critical asset for Navy and Marine Corps training. Although the land ranges are part of the Silver Strand Training Complex, they are not included in this EIS/OEIS. These areas are analyzed in the SSTC EIS (2011). SSTC's location provides a local, geographically unique training area that is convenient to the users it serves, thereby reducing travel time and funding required to conduct training away from a unit's home base. The primary mission of SSTC is to support U.S. Navy and Marine Corps amphibious, special warfare, and mine counter-measures training. It provides local land, sea, and air spaces; support services; materials, and training facilities. Navy and Marine Corps forces use these facilities and areas to achieve and maintain the highest level of readiness. Readiness training is necessary to provide highly trained, combat-ready Navy and Marine Corps personnel who are immediately available for global deployment or in support of national defense.

Transit Corridor

In addition to the three range complexes that are included as part of the Hawaii-Southern California Training and Testing Study Area, one area outside the boundaries of the range complexes has also been considered. Although not part of any defined range complex, this transit corridor is important to the Navy in that it provides adequate sea and airspace in which ships and aircraft can conduct training activities while transiting between Hawaii and Southern California. The transit corridor defined by the great circle route (shortest distance) from San Diego to the center of the HRC is generally used by ships transiting between the SOCAL Range Complex and HRC.