Clipped From The Salina Journal

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 - Changing combat sparks quest for land Military...
Changing combat sparks quest for land Military groups compete for space By FRED BAYLES Th» Associated Press YAKIMA FIRING CENTER, Wash. — As the helicopter crested a ridge along the high desert plateau, Col. John Nelson leaned out the open door and pointed to a subtle change in landscape. "See where it changes from green to gray," he shouted. "That's the old boundary." The green hue, a thin cover of bluebunch wheat grass, color codes the 261,000-acre Yakima Firing Center, a major Army training area in central Washington. The land beyond, grazed to volcanic gray, is part of a 62,000-acre addition recently approved for the Army. In a way, the line also marks the boundary between the Army of the Military lands undergo change along with forces SECOND OF THREE PARTS past and that of the future. Despite plans to shrink the military at least 25 percent and close about 70 installations, the armed services want more land. But opposition groups and congressional pressure have forced a temporary moratorium on new land acquisitions, and hard questions are being asked about adding land to a huge military inventory. "It isn't peaceniks who are oppos- ing this. It's ranchers and farmers asking why is this happening in my back yard," said Grace Bukowski, coordinator for Citizen Alert, a Nevada-based coalition that monitors government land use. "We're saying if you need a place to train, tell us what you need. Until you prove you don't have enough, you're not going to get anymore," she said. Expanded combat The military justifies its hunger for more land with one simple argument: The increased speed and mobility of the high-tech combat that- won the Persian Gulf War requires realistic training on huge amounts of real estate. Indeed, troops fresh from fighting Iraq's Republican Guard said combat was easier than the grueling exercises at the 636,000-acre National Training Center outside Fort Irwin, Calif. "People believe the Army trains by marching in quadrangles and somehow magically acquires skill on the spot when it goes to fight," said Gen. Paul Schwartz, the former deputy corps commander at nearby Fort Lewis who led the charge for the Yakima land. "That's not how it works," he said. "You train your butt off for long periods of time. War is a science where you pass or fail depending on the standards of training." The average World War I battlefield was about 1,630 acres, or 2.5 square miles; by World War II, air power, motorized infantry and accurate long-range artillery nearly tripled the size of a battleground.. Today's smart munitions, supersonic aircraft and tanks that fire twice the distance have stretched *• See MILITARY .Page 5

Clipped from
  1. The Salina Journal,
  2. 16 Nov 1992, Mon,
  3. Page 1

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