Civilian-Military Land Use Compatibility

The Washington State Growth Management Act (GMA) (RCW 36.70A.530) cites the military’s significant role in the economy and declares a state priority to prevent incompatible development near military installations. Incompatible development also poses health and safety concerns for neighboring community members and military personnel operating or training for active duty. 

Ongoing communication and collaborative planning is critical to understanding civilian-military interests in the landscape they share. Since 2015, Commerce has developed supportive resources for coordinated planning to help address the unique needs of areas around military bases and ranges:

The 2019 Washington State Guidebook on Military and Community Compatibility (PDF) – A reference for compatibility planning practices for civilian and military members of the statewide community.
The Defense Community Compatibility Account (DCCA) page details a grant program and legislative report that the Legislature initiated to support local compatibility projects (Substitute Senate Bill 5748).
• The Compatible Energy Siting Assessment (CESA )(see below) – A project promoting consultation between energy project developers, proponents, reviewing/permitting entities, and the military throughout the development process.
2016 legislative report, Civilian-Military Land Use Study (PDF), prepared by TSG.
• Link to other Military and Defense Sector economic development programs: external link

Compatible Energy Siting Assessment (CESA)

The Compatible Energy Siting Assessment (CESA) promotes early and ongoing civilian-military coordination to support renewable energy development and preservation of the military’s essential testing/training ranges in Washington state and its marine waters. Stakeholders engaged in either energy siting or military operations need a means to identify locations where activities overlap and guidance for early consultation that minimizes potential for mutual impacts. 

Washington state enacted the Clean Energy Transition Act of 2019, committing to an emissions-free electricity supply by 2045. Interest in renewable energy will grow as the state pursues these goals, which will increase the military’s need to safeguard testing/training areas that are sensitive to capacity loss or termination due to uncoordinated development. Early and ongoing coordination protects military functional capacity and can save developers from possible delays or late-stage investment loss. Consultation throughout development is critical to addressing risk within areas where the military operates. 

In 2019 Commerce began the CESA project with grant funding from the Department of Defense and partnered with the state of Washington Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC) to support early and ongoing civilian-military coordination for compatible siting decisions. Project outcomes will include information on energy trends, policies, consultation practices, recommendations for streamlined processes and mapping resources or a mapping application to assist energy facility siting.

Energy Projects Require Written Notice to the Defense Department

Washington state law requires written notice to the Department of Defense (DOD) for energy permit applications (RCW 36.01.320). Energy developers and reviewers are advised to have early and ongoing consultation with the DOD throughout the development process to identify and plan around potential concerns associated with military operations and safety. Contacts for early DOD consultation are:

Northwest Training Range Complex (NWTRC)
Kimberly Peacher
8730 N. Charles Porter Ave.
Oak Harbor, WA 98278-5000
Phone (360) 930-4085
Fax (360) 257-1852

United States Air Force Western Regional Environmental Office (AFCEE/RO-W)
50 Fremont Street, Room 2450
San Francisco, CA 94105-2236
Phone (415) 977-8884
Fax (415) 977-8900

DOD Siting Clearinghouse: To opt into a review process under the Office of the Secretary of Defense, visit www.acq.osd.mil/dodsc/

Stay connected

To receive program announcements, subscribe to the Civilian-Military Compatibility email list. For media inquiries, contact Penny Thomas, Commerce Communications at 206-256-6106.

Program Background

2015-2016: Commerce undertook an encroachment study for the Legislature (Authorizing legislation: 2015 3rd ex.s. c 4 s 128). Eastern Washington University drafted an initial report on nationwide best practices, which Commerce revised based on insights from public comments in February 2016. Commerce received $98,000 in state funds to finalize the study, serving as match funds for $485,000 in DOD grant funding through the Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA). Commerce hired a consultant to prepare the final Civilian-Military Land Use Study, submitted to the Legislature in December 2016.

2017:  TSG drafted recommendations for Commerce to develop information and outreach on civilian-military planning needs.  TSG integrated public comments into the Washington State Military and Community Compatibility Strategy, a program implementation plan.

2018: Commerce implemented outreach and technical assistance portions of the 2017 Washington State Military and Community Compatibility Strategy, with the support of an OEA grant award of $497,000. Commerce used the grant to produce a compatibility guidebook.

2019: Commerce published the Washington State Military and Community Compatibility Guidebook as a technical assistance resource on civilian-military planning. Commerce also began supporting coordination efforts in local compatibility partnerships for conservation around Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM). The Legislature passed Substitute Senate Bill (SSB) 5748 directing Commerce to form a grant program supporting community projects that focus on compatibility.

2020: Commerce published a Legislative Report on establishing a Defense Community Compatibility Account (DCCA) in response to SSB-5748, establishing grant program guidelines and prioritization for local compatibility-focused projects. Commerce also received an OEA grant of one million dollars from OEA for a Compatible Energy Siting Assessment (CESA). CESA is a partnership with the State of Washington Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC) to promote early and ongoing civilian-military coordination in energy siting and development.