Study Area

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Training in the Gulf of Alaska

Training in Alaska is critical for the readiness of military personnel who protect and defend the United States and our allies.

The Gulf of Alaska provides invaluable training space needed to prepare U.S. service members to protect and defend the United States and its allies. The military's largest joint training exercise in Alaska is Northern Edge. Maritime training activities associated with this exercise occur within a designated Temporary Maritime Activities Area, which is located south of Prince William Sound and east of Kodiak Island in the Gulf of Alaska.

Since 1975, the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command has met defense objectives by training military forces for potential crises in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. Mission-critical military training activities in Alaska occur within the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, which includes the Temporary Maritime Activities Area in the Gulf of Alaska and existing U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army inland air and land training areas. These training areas provide realistic environments for military forces and interagency partners to practice both basic and complex training activities. Training in the Gulf of Alaska allows for varying degrees of scenario complexity, which enhances the quality of training and better prepares service members to respond to world events.

Joint training exercises bring together personnel from different branches of the military to plan and participate in activities at sea, in the air, and on land. These exercises provide opportunities for forces to practice tactics, techniques, and procedures to improve coordination and fulfill military readiness requirements.

Gulf of Alaska Study Area

The Study Area for the Supplemental EIS/OEIS is the Gulf of Alaska Temporary Maritime Activities Area. The geographic boundaries of this area have not changed since the completion of the 2011 Gulf of Alaska Final EIS/OEIS and the 2016 Gulf of Alaska Final Supplemental EIS/OEIS. This area is the ideal location for realistic at-sea training because of its proximity to a large contingent of Air Force and Army land training areas and airspace, as well as personnel, resources, equipment, and infrastructure in Alaska. The Gulf of Alaska Temporary Maritime Activities Area provides the vast space needed to maximize the realism of the exercises.

The Gulf of Alaska Temporary Maritime Activities Area is located far enough offshore of coastal areas to minimize impacts on Alaska Native tribal, commercial, and recreational fishing. The area avoids many sensitive resources of the coastal regions with no overlap of salmon and herring management areas, partial overlap with groundfish and halibut statistical areas, and minimal overlap with shellfish statistical areas.

Temporary Maritime Activities Area MapTemporary Maritime Activities Area Map
Note: The 12-nautical-mile limit represents the limit of U.S. territorial waters.
To view the large version, download the map.