- What is it?
The ACUB program supports 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 maneuver exercises, live-fire training, equipment and Soldier skill testing, and other operations. Training restrictions, costly workarounds, and compromised training realism can result from incompatible development surrounding the installation (external encroachment) and from threatened and endangered species on the installation (internal encroachment). Title 10, Section 2684a of the United States Code authorizes the Department of Defense to form agreements with non-federal governments or private organizations to limit encroachments and other constraints on military training, testing, and operations by establishing buffers around installations. The Army implements this authority through the ACUB program, which is managed overall at Army Headquarters level by the office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Installations (DCS G-9). Active Army cooperative agreements are managed by USAEC (a subordinate of the U.S. Army Installation Management Command [IMCOM]), and Army National Guard Directorate ACUB cooperative agreements are managed by the Army National Guard Environmental Programs Division.
The ACUB program allows installations to work with partners to encumber off-post land to protect habitat and buffer training without acquiring any new land for Army ownership. Through ACUB, the Army reaches out to partners to identify mutual objectives of land conservation and to prevent development of critical open areas. The Army can 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. Establishing buffer areas around Army installations limits the effects of encroachment and maximizes land inside the installation that can be used to support the installation's mission.
- What has the Army done?
Across ACUB Programs at over 40 separate installations, the Army has protected 390,903 acres (as of September 31, 2019) of natural habitat, open space, and working lands through its cooperative agreements with more than 50 partners ranging from large nationwide land trusts, to smaller local conservation entities, to state and municipal governments.
Total ACUB transactions (942) equate to over a billion dollars ($1,067,240,000), which includes not only the cost of the land or conservation easements themselves, but also various other allowable and authorized tasks such as due diligence, monitoring and enforcement, and land management actions. This expenditure total includes $278.74M in from the DOD Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Program, $305.31M in Army service dollars, and $483.18M in partner contributions (which includes cash and in-kind services).
Partner share varies across all the individual ACUB cooperative agreements, but cumulatively, ACUB partners are contributing approximately 45% ($483.18M of $1,067.24M) of the total program cost. Partner match can come from their own fundraising efforts, grants from state government and state conservation entities, grants from other non-DoD Federal entities (such as U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), or the U.S. Forest Service (USFS)), as well as in-kind services such as providing cost-free services, contributing required labor, or negotiating bargain sales with landowners.
- What does the Army have planned?
The Army plans to continue supporting installations with established ACUB programs. In addition, there are plans to initiate new ACUBs at additional installations that have identified a need for preventing encroachment. Click here to view the ACUB proposal process for establishing new ACUB programs.
- Why is this important?
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.
Through ACUB the Army realizes greater training flexibility and reduced encroachment; the partner gets financial support for land conservation, including endangered species and habitat protection, and other conservation uses; and private landowners realize financial incentives and tax benefits while preserving land legacy and heritage for future generations.
- Read more about it:
10 USC 2684a - Agreements to Limit Encroachments and Other
Federally Funded Grant Programs - Funding Resources Manual (3.32 MB)
- What is NOT ACUB?
1. ACUB is NOT a program to purchase additional land for Army installations. The U.S. Army will not own, hold the deed, hold an easement, or retain the development rights to properties in the ACUB program. Lands or conservation easements acquired through ACUB are vested in and held by the ACUB Partner.
2. ACUB is NOT a program to acquire additional training or testing areas, or otherwise increase the acreage of Army installations. Except in extremely rare occasions where the landowner offers limited access, the Army cannot use properties encumbered under its ACUB program for training and testing purposes.
3. ACUB is NOT a mandatory program. The program is 100% voluntary. Land owners are not required to participate in this program, nor are they pressured to do so in any way. In general, the ACUB partner and not Army personnel will be communicating with interested landowners and community members about the benefits of the ACUB Program.