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Massachusetts Military Reservation, Massachusetts

Aerial view of MMR

Military Mission

The Massachusetts Military Reservation (MMR) is a 22,000 acre reservation located in Cape Cod, Massachusetts within Barnstable County, and bordered by the cities of Bourne, Falmouth, Sandwich, and Mashpee. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts owns (fee simple) 19,900 acres of the Reservation and the U.S. Air Force owns 1,100 acres. The MMR is divided into two general land uses: 14,575 acres in the north of the Reservation comprise a training area, and 5,900 acres in the south of the Reservation constitute the main cantonment area, which contains the command buildings and infrastructure.

There are several overlapping jurisdictions with aspects of authority that effectively manage MMR lands. The Army holds the largest leasehold interest, licensing use and management of that leasehold interest to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for the Massachusetts Army National Guard. The U.S. Air Force holds the second largest leasehold interest, licensing use and management of that leasehold interest to the Massachusetts Air Guard (MAAG). The U.S. Air Force also holds a minor leasehold interest for approximately 100 acres in the middle of the northern training area for the Pave Paws radar installation. Additionally, the Department of Homeland Security holds a minor leasehold interest for Coast Guard operations and housing.

Local jurisdictions and authorities also overlap with leasehold interests at the Reservation. The largest of these is held by the Upper Cape Water Supply Reserve, which protects a training area located above an aquifer that provides drinking water for most of the Cape. The Massachusetts Environmental Management Commission (EMC) manages the Reserve, which also provides habitat for wildlife. The state legislation that established the EMC also established two advisory councils: the Community Advisory Council (CAC) and the Scientific Advisory Council. The CAC consists of 15 members and provides advice on issues related to the protection of the Reserve. The Scientific Advisory Council includes 9 members and provides scientific and technical advice on protecting the drinking water supply and wildlife habitat within the Reserve.

The MMR requires sufficient land areas for battalion‐sized training and operations in the northeast area of the Reservation. Surrounding communities can negatively impact mission readiness in this area by reducing the amount of land available for operations, and by limiting increases in the number of training days. In addition to meeting training and operation requirements, the MMR also supports the mission of the MAAG. The former 102nd Fighter Wing (F-15s) converted to the 102nd Intelligence Wing and transitioned to intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance activities with an emphasis on ensuring appropriate anti‐terrorism and force protection boundaries. The MAAG is responsible for conserving the installation management environment, including base utilities and the transportation network. To fulfill these duties and ensure that the intelligence mission succeeds, the MAAG must have sufficient land use access on and around the Reservation.

Joint Land Use Study Planning Process

The Army first nominated MMR as a candidate for a Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) in 2003 with the Cape Cod Commission, and completed the study in October 2005. The Reservation’s surrounding townships have implemented many of the recommendations from the 2005 JLUS, which emphasized sustaining aviation operations. However, the Army remains concerned about the continuing impacts of urban development on mission readiness, and nominated MMR for a second JLUS in May 2011. Although the original 2005 JLUS recommendations remain relevant to addressing the challenges of encroachment, a second study will help the Army respond to changes in current and future civilian land uses. The Army also needs an updated study to prevent encroachment from adversely impacting new MMR tenant training activities. The Cape Cod Commission is leading this effort by facilitating discussions about the JLUS update, and by sponsoring future MMR JLUS update planning and implementation initiatives.

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