U.S. Army: Five million acres needed for training facilities by 2011

As the U.S. military budget balloons, so does the Armed Services’ need to train its soldiers. In fact, some military planners foresee a need for 5 million more acres for training facilities by 2011.

In September, Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.) told his fellow Congressmen that “the Army believes it has a current deficit of 2 million acres needed for training, a figure expected to grow by 2011 to 5 million acres.” Five million acres is comprable to 7,812 square miles — an area about the size of New Jersey.

Now, Colorado is the site of a contested fight between the U.S. Army and longtime ranchers. The military wants to expand the Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site, a 1,000-square-mile facility near the New Mexico border, by 418,000 acres, thus tripling its size. This would require land owned by private ranchers.

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