Military Affairs

The US military plays an important role in California. It stewards approximately ten percent of California’s land, its operations and personnel contribute billions of dollars to California’s economy, and its military bases and airspace provide an integrated network of training assets critical to our national security that cannot be replicated or replaced.

Executive Order S-16-06 established the Governor’s Advisor for Military Affairs within OPR. Under this executive order, OPR coordinates state policies that affect the military, including land use planning, regulatory activities by state agencies, and state legislation. OPR is working to improve communication and encourage collaboration between local governments and the Military on land use planning and development issues in California. The OPR Military Affairs Team works closely with all branches of the military on areas of mutual concern and priority. Areas of focus include:

Land Use

OPR works with active military installations and local communities in California to reduce potential land-use conflicts. This function enables appropriate growth, local economic vitality, and public health and safety while safeguarding ongoing military training and military readiness.

Regulatory Activities

OPR and the military work cooperatively to ensure that active military installations are able to comply with state regulations, and that regulators understand the potential impacts of their actions on military activities. OPR also provides implementation support to regulatory agencies developing new programs or rules that might impact the military

Energy

SB 1409 (Pavley-2012) requires OPR to serve as a liaison to coordinate effective inclusion of the military in the development and implementation of state energy and environmental policy. In that role, OPR and other state agencies actively partner with the military to advance shared energy goals, including the expansion of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects on land managed by the military. The Military is providing important leadership in the national effort to advance clean energy and achieve energy independence. Likewise, California has demonstrated international leadership and innovation in the area of energy policy to meet the state’s climate goals.

Governor's Military Council

The California Governor’s Military Council – comprised of retired flag and general officers, civic leaders, bipartisan state legislators and senior policymakers – identifies important policy issues and advises the Governor and State Legislature on national security and military affairs. The Council serves to protect and enhance U.S. military and national security operations in California, as well as support our service members, veterans, and their families. The Council also coordinates the state’s diverse advocacy efforts to underscore the unique national security value of California’s military bases, national security activities, defense technology companies, and workforce to policymakers and the public, ensuring California speaks with a unified voice.

The Governor’s Military Council was created by California Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. on March 28. The Council was codified into law through 2021 with the signing of AB 442 (Irwin-2015). The current Chair of the Council is Assemblymember Col. Rocky Chávez, USMC ret. (AD-76) and the Vice Chair is Vice Admiral Jody Breckenridge, USCG (ret.).

More information can be found on the Council’s website: militarycouncil.ca.gov

California Strategic Coordination and Engagement Program

OPR has established a Strategic Coordination and Engagement Program to work with local governments and the Military to support local land use decisions and decision making processes which balance the land use needs of local governments and the military mission in California. This program will develop partnerships and provide tools, staff support, mapping capability, and information to local governments to assist in development, adoption, and implementation of local polices and ordinances.

The primary focus of this program will be areas without bases or installations, but where testing and training occur on a regular basis. The program will provide direct outreach and support to cities and counties to comply with existing statutory mandates to notify the military of potential land use conflicts, and help to develop policies at the local level to ensure the viability and sustainability of active military operations and avoid project-specific conflicts. The program will create collaborative coalitions between the Military, the State, and local governments to meet these objectives.

In addition to early coordination, and notification of proposed new development, OPR will work with the Military and local land use agencies and elected officials to incorporate provisions into city and county General Plans and implementing ordinances to establish project review and permitting procedures that foster land uses that are compatible with military operations. The program will also seek to balance and integrate California’s goals for renewable energy development and natural resources protection with the mission of the military in California and each local government’s specific land use priorities.

Resources

Land Use Compatibility

SB 1462 (Kuehl, 2004) requires local governments to notify the military when projects are within military land use areas, or changes to the general plan may affect military land use areas. OPR has drafted a memo explaining SB 1462 and the notification process to all affected local governments. OPR has provided a memo explaining SB 1462 and the notification process to all affected local governments. The memo is available at: Military Land Use Compatibility Planning Requirements.

Mapping

OPR developed the California Military Land Use Compatibility Analyst (CMLUCA), which is a mapping tool that local governments and developers can use to identify whether proposed planning projects are located in the vicinity of military bases, military training areas, or military airspace. This mapping tool helps local governments and developers comply with state law, which requires the military to be notified of certain development applications and general plan actions.

Joint Land Use Studies

The Beale Air Force Base Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) and Airspace Complex R-2508 JLUS were released in 2008 with the support of OPR. The overall goal of each JLUS was to reduce potential conflicts while accommodating growth, sustaining the economic health of the respective region, and protecting public health and safety. Active military installations, surrounding counties and cities, and other affected agencies collaborated to produce the studies, which outline proactive steps that the installation and the community can take to ensure mission compatibility and sustainability. Most JLUS efforts are funded with grants from the Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA), which recommends that installations update their JLUS every five years.

Guidelines and Handbooks

The California Advisory Handbook for Community and Military Compatibility Planning provides guidance to local governments, the military and developers on how to address local land use needs near military installations, trainings, and other activities. The Handbook also translates between local planners and military planners so that each can understand the other’s priorities, language, and objectives.

OPR has recently released a 2016 update to the Handbook which is designed to be interactive and user-friendly so that interested parties can easily navigate to areas of interest and key information most applicable to current needs. The update also contains new case studies that highlight best practices between local governments and the Military.

These guidelines are the result of the passage of SB 1468 (Knight, 2002) and SB 1462 (Kuehl, 2004), which outlines the responsibilities of cities and counties regarding the military in the planning and land use decision-making process.

The Community and Military Compatibility Planning, Supplement to the General Plan Guidelines, is intended to assist cities and counties in addressing military compatibility issues when developing, updating or significantly amending their general plans. These guidelines are the result of the passage of SB 1468 (Knight, 2002) and SB 1462 (Kuehl, 2004), which outlines the responsibilities of cities and counties regarding the military in the planning and land use decision-making process.

OPR’s Military Affairs Team

Scott Morgan
Deputy Director, OPR
  Scott.Morgan@OPR.CA.GOV

Gareth Smythe
Associate Policy Advisor and Military Land Use Planner, OPR
  Gareth.Smythe@OPR.CA.GOV
  (916)322-6034