Army Compatible Use Buffers (ACUBs) support the Army's mission to fight and win the nation's wars. Winning wars requires a trained and ready force. Trained and ready Soldiers require land for maneuvers, live fire, testing and other operations. ACUBs establish buffer areas around Army installations to limit effects of encroachment and maximize land inside the installation that can be used to support the installation's mission.
ACUBs support the Army's responsibility as a federal agency to comply with all environmental regulations, including endangered species habitat protection. By working in partnership with conservation organizations, ACUBs can coordinate habitat conservation planning at the ecosystem level to ensure that greater benefits are realized towards species and habitat recovery.
ACUBs also support local and regional planning and sustainability efforts by emphasizing partnerships with state and local governments and private conservation organizations to work towards common objectives and leveraging public and private funds towards those common goals.Fact Sheets
Click on an approved ACUB installation in the map below to view the installation’s ACUB fact sheet.
The ACUB program is an integral component of the Army’s sustainability triple bottom line: mission, environment, and community. The program is an innovative tool to address encroachment and achieve conservation objectives by proactively addressing encroachment that causes costly workarounds or compromises training realism. Title 10, Section 2684a of the United States Code authorizes the Department of Defense to partner with non-Federal governments or private organizations to establish buffers around installations. The Army implements this authority through the ACUB program, which is managed jointly at Army Headquarters level by the offices of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management and the Director of Training.
An ACUB allows an installation to work with partners to encumber land to protect habitat and training without acquiring any new land for Army ownership. Through ACUBs, the Army reaches out to partners to identify mutual objectives of land conservation and to prevent development of critical open areas. The program allows the Army to contribute funds to the partner’s purchase of easements or properties from willing landowners. These partnerships preserve high-value habitat and limit incompatible development in the vicinity of military installations.Need for ACUB Program
The United States originally established military installations in rural areas far from population centers. As the Nation's population has grown, urban sprawl now abuts many installations. Noise, dust, and smoke from weapons, vehicles, and aircraft prompt citizen complaints about military training. Commanders frequently are required to choose between being good neighbors and meeting training and testing requirements. Noise concerns, the presence of cultural and historic resources, and the distribution of endangered species can result in training restrictions affecting military readiness. This is referred to as encroachment.
The Army Headquarters has formalized an ACUB process that is initiated locally at the installation level but reviewed, approved, and funded centrally. For ACUBs, the cooperating partner purchases easements or fee simple property from a willing seller with funds contributed by the Army and other partners. These areas provide a natural buffer between military training lands and residential or commercial activities for perpetuity. The partner, not the Army, receives the deeded interest in the property and provides for long-term habitat management. Pursuant to the terms of the Cooperative Agreement and with land owner permission, the installation may retain access rights to conduct compatible military training.ACUB Benefits
More than $169M has been contributed to the ACUB program through the Army's partnerships with local and national conservation groups, State and County governments, and other Federal agencies. Combined with over $118M in executed funds from Army/DoD, the ACUB program is permanently preserving over 120,600 acres of buffer lands around Army installations helping to "sustain the mission, secure the future". Click here to view all of the Army's ACUB Cooperative Agreement partners.Additional Information and Resources