A military helicopter flying in the sky in Florida


The Largest Constant Threat to a Military Installation is not Always a Perimeter Intrusion or Another Hurricane, it’s Encroachment


Encroachment is a term used by the U.S. Department of Defense to refer to incompatible uses of land, air, water and other resources.

It is the cumulative impact of urban and rural development that can hamper the military’s ability to carry out its testing and training mission. Certain types of land use near military installations can interfere with military operations by:

  • Obstructing air routes and communications by cellular towers
  • Power lines and other similar structures
  • Competing for or interfering with data and communications frequencies
  • Depleting ground or surface water supplies
  • Water treatment capacity and other resources
  • Using extra air emissions in areas that may have emission thresholds
  • Requesting changes in testing because of residents’ noise concerns

New development can also drive threatened and endangered species onto a military installation, limiting its operations.

In summary, encroachment is any external factor that inhibits military readiness, including but not limited to the growing competition for land, airspace, waterfront access, and frequency spectrum. Incompatible land uses can impact critical, at-risk military mission capabilities at different scales over time. Increasingly, due to technological advances, land uses far away from the installation and range boundaries can also have an impact on the military’s ability to train, test, and operate. Ultimately, encroachment may lead to a diminished capability and capacity for U.S. Armed Forces to train for combat.

Read the linked publication to learn how Florida works to mitigate encroachment to military installations to include:

  • Overview of laws
  • Programs to mitigate
  • Specific requirements for local governments in law
  • Land use and zoning
  • Military representation on local planning or zoning boards
  • Community planning requirements
  • State land acquisition programs
  • Federal programs to assist states with encroachment mitigation