| Encroachment is a problem
that will undoubtedly cause much consternation to military installations
in the future. As the local community surrounding a military installation
continues to grow, so does the installation’s job of acceptance with the
non-military citizens it continues to protect. With an ever
shrinking military population, and an increasing civilian population who
have no connection whatsoever to the military institution, the widening
of the “us and them” gap will only continue to grow. Research by
the Army Operational Noise Management Program has shown that since the
end of the cold war, the general public is less tolerant of military noise.
This statistic combined with the urban growth reports surrounding major
military installations in the United States is cause for concern.
One prime example is
Luke Air Force Base, in Glendale, Ariz., a suburb of the nation's
fastest growing city, Phoenix. Initially the base’s location was
20 miles from the quiet desert town of Phoenix. Between 1960 and
1990, Phoenix has grown 250 %. However,
Glendale has experienced a population growth of 844 % during those same
years. Seventy-six % of that growth has been just since 1980.
Compared to the national average of 13.7 %, this rate is astronomical.
Because of urban growth surrounding the base, flight paths, the direction
an aircraft can use when taking off or landing at a base, have been reduced
from over 25 flight paths in the 1970s to just 7 today.
This is just one base
too. The Army Noise Program (1999) reports a 15 % population growth
surrounding Fort Bragg, N.C., to as high as a 57 % growth rate surrounding
Fort Stewart, Ga. These facts are considerable when compared to the
national average of 13.7 %. One example, Fort Campbell, Ky., has
shown a 26 % population growth between 1980-1996, while noise complaints
have gone up over 100 % in the past three years.