Military and Community Compatible Use Frequently Asked Questions

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General Compatible Use FAQs

What is compatible use planning?

Compatible use planning involves carefully considering existing and planned uses and activities in an area to reduce or eliminate adverse impacts on neighboring or nearby land uses. Within the context of the military, compatible use planning refers to activities that could adversely impact military technologies and operations and ultimately the capability to effectively fulfill national defense objectives such as flight missions and radar communications. Learn more about the importance of compatibility in the About tab​.​

What is the purpose of a compatible use study?

The purpose of a compatible use study is to identify means of promoting responsible land use near military installations, accommodate compatible growth and economic development in the area, protect public safety and quality of life, and sustain the mission of the military for the long-term. The study evaluates ways to enhance communication and coordination between local, regional, and military stakeholders with the goal of protecting land use compatibility. Learn more about compatible use studies in Compatibility Planning Framework and Tools for Maryland Communities​.​

What are characteristics of incompatibility?

Examples of land uses and activities that increase the chance for conflict and incompatibility include:

  • An increase in civilian/military traffic without offsetting demand on area roads

  • The creation of smoke, dust, light, or glare that affects neighbors or impairs pilot vision

  • The concentration of people or noise-sensitive uses in high-noise areas

  • Location of higher-density activities or higher-intensity activity in places of higher accident risk

  • Obstruction of airspace with tall structures such as windmills, power lines, or buildings

  • Uses that attract birds around aircraft runways​

What is encroachment?

Encroachment is the Department of Defense's (DoD) term for any use of land, air, water, or other resources that may precipitate a restriction on a military installation’s ability to carry out mission requirements. Encroachment can include issues that are related to air space availability, nuisance (such as noise), frequency/radio usage conflicts, urban growth pressures, and environmental restrictions.​

What is the Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation?

Through the Department of Defense’s Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation (OLDCC), state and local partners can access programs, grants, and technical assistance to enhance readiness of military installation and ranges and deliver safe places for military members and their families. OLDCC also works with states and local communities to help them respond to changes driven by DoD activities, therefore helping to plan for a future that is sustainable and in alignment with the military mission. Additionally, OLDCC ensures that communities can support their local military installations through sustainable economic development and other civilian activities that are compatible.​

Are there DoD programs available to limit encroachment?

The Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation’s Military Installation Sustainability program is available to provide technical and financial assistance to both state and local governments when analyzing and implementing actions that are necessary to protect installation sustainability and therefore limit encroachment. Technical assistance includes guidance and funding for Compatible Use Studies and Military Installation Resilience Reviews.

Another approach used by the DoD to limit encroachment is the Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) program. This program consists of three integrated components that provide strategies for installations and communities in preventing or mitigating incompatible land uses through land preservation activities and partnerships. These components are encroachment management projects, landscape partnerships, and stakeholder engagements.

The DoD worked in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture and Interior to establish the Sentinel Landscapes Partnership that promotes natural resource sustainability in areas surrounding military installations. The partnership's mission is to "strengthen military readiness, conserve natural resources, bolster agricultural and forestry economies, and increase climate change resilience."

The DoD's Sustainable Ranges Initiative also protects installation resiliency and continuity of military training and testing ranges by facilitating a series of partnerships within all levels of government, installations, and communities to identify encroachment issues and promote stewardship of the land. The DoD, military installations, and communities also coordinate on several types of plans to identify compatible use land issues. These include but are not limited to: Encroachment Action Plans/Encroachment Control Plans and Installation Master Plans. Learn more about these plans and other programs in About Military Planning​.​

What has Maryland done to promote compatible use?

Maryland is committed to protecting the $61.4B in economic impact from the numerous military facilities, civilian agencies, and research labs across the state. Phase 1 of the Compatible Use Project was a grant funded effort by the Office of Economic Adjustment (now OLDCC) to develop, in coordination with select impacted local governments, an approach to address compatibility issues at a state level. The deliverable was the Statewide Joint Land Use Response Implementation Strategy (SJRIS), completed in 2019. This document includes recommendations on how Maryland can prevent encroachment and improve compatible use between military and civilian communities.

Maryland launched Phase 2 of the project in late 2020/early 2021, which includes two OLDCC (OEA) funded projects. The first is the Renewable Energy Siting Project, led by the Department of Commerce. The goal of this project is to inform the energy industry where development will or will not have adverse impacts on the military and therefore preventing possible conflicts with development after the purchase or lease of land. The Department of Planning is leading the second project, the development of a Compatible Use Website and Handbook. This project is guiding the implementation of selected SJRIS recommendations and will help local communities implement compatible use at a local level. Led by the state's Compatible Use Community Planning Liaison, the project is guided by stakeholder expertise and involvement in two groups: the Implementation Workgroup and Policy Committee, made up of a diverse group of military representatives, state agencies, local government officials, and community organizations. Development of project deliverables will strengthen communication and coordination between military installations and surrounding jurisdictions and will raise awareness of the economic impact of the military mission in Maryland while providing local jurisdictions with the tools and resources they need to ensure compatible use with military operations in their community. More information about the website development process can be found in the Website Background and Development Process​.​

Maryland Department of Planning: Compatible Use Project

What is the purpose of this project?

The purpose of this project is to provide Maryland and its regions and jurisdictions with resources and frameworks guiding compatible community development supporting the long-term sustainability, mission resiliency, and operability of military operations throughout the state to include installations and associated ranges, special use airspace, military operation areas, and military training routes.

Why is Maryland undertaking this effort?

The state is undertaking this effort to ensure that the DoD mission, which provides significant economic benefits to Maryland and its communities, is supported. The project will encourage the engagement, coordination, and communication of all stakeholders involved in the readiness of military installations in the state. This project encourages collaboration and mutual benefit between military installations and surrounding communities and is an implementation measure of the 2019 Statewide JLUS Response Implementation Strategy​.

How will this effort benefit Maryland?

Project deliverables will encourage best compatible use planning practices in Maryland to protect our military assets. They will help even the playing field, so all stakeholders have access to the best and most current information. This effort led to the development of new and enhanced data that will better inform compatible use planning decisions and help to maintain the economic benefit of Maryland's military installations.

Will this prevent development/growth in my area?

The purpose of this effort is not to limit development or growth, but rather to encourage compatible development and growth. Compatible use and development have a mutual benefit for installations and communities.


Will the Renewable Energy Siting project negatively impact the development of new renewable energy siting projects?

The project is intended to inform developers of compatible siting for renewable energy projects. The military is invested in renewable energy development, in the appropriate locations, and the consistent supply of energy is a vital part of the military’s mission and readiness.

Why should I care about supporting military installations in Maryland?

According to the State of Maryland fact sheet in the Department of Defense’s Defense Spending by State – Fiscal Year 2022 re​port, the combined total of defense contract obligations and defense personnel spending was $26.4B, which is 5.6% of the state’s GDP for FY 22. There are 93,930 active duty, civilian, National Guard, and Reserve personnel with an assigned or duty location within the state, in addition to thousands of other indirect and induced jobs.

In the Maryland Department of Commerce’s FY 2021 Economic Impact of Maryland's Military Installations and the Associated Defense Ecosystem report, the total economic impact of Maryland’s military installations was $61.4​B.


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