DoD Siting Clearinghouse, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Energy, Installations and Environment) (EI&E)

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the DoD Siting Clearinghouse?

      In January 2011, Congress directed the establishment of the DoD Siting Clearinghouse in Section 358 of the Ike Skelton National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011, Public Law 111-383 for the purpose of coordinating and overseeing the review of project applications filed with the Secretary of Transportation pursuant to Title 49 U.S.C., Section 44178, and referred to the DoD by the Department of Transportation (specifically the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)). In addition to this internal-DoD function, the DoD Siting Clearinghouse serves as an entry point for industry and other Federal, State, Tribal and local entities that wish to engage DoD in the mission compatibility evaluation process.

      The DoD Siting Clearinghouse coordinates the efforts of all DoD Components in their official assessments of energy generation and transmission projects for impacts on the DoD mission.

  • Who is involved in the Clearinghouse-initiated review?

      Multiple organizations in DoD share the responsibility for such an effort.

      The DoD Siting Clearinghouse coordinates with multiple DoD Components, including the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Joint Staff, NORAD, and other critical offices. The DoD Siting Clearinghouse Board of Directors is chaired by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations, and Environment and co-chaired by the Principal Deputy Director for Operational Test & Evaluation and the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness.

      In short, rather than attempting to discern which of the various DoD organizations may be affected by your proposed project, contact the DoD Siting Clearinghouse and we will take care of that for you.

  • When does the DoD Siting Clearinghouse review a project?

      The DoD Siting Clearinghouse oversees both formal and informal project review processes.

      The formal process begins with the referral of a project application submitted for permitting through the Federal Aviation Administration's Obstruction Evaluation/Airport Airspace Analysis (OE/AAA) process, which is automatically assigned to the DoD for review.

      The informal review process may begin with a request directly to the DoD Siting Clearinghouse from a project developer or landowner whose property is being sited for a proposed project. Other informal reviews are initiated by other Federal, State, or local government agencies or Indian tribes, such as the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the Bureau of Land Management, or the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The informal review process can be conducted with specific site data or general area data. The response will reflect the level of fidelity provided.

  • What happens once the DoD begins a formal review of a project?

      During formal review processes, the DoD Siting Clearinghouse provides information it receives about the proposed project to experts in the various Military Departments and DoD Components. Then technical and operational studies are conducted and provided to the DoD Siting Clearinghouse. The DoD Siting Clearinghouse submits a single DoD position to the FAA as part of the Obstruction Evaluation/Aiport Airspace Analysis (OE/AAA) review.

      If the DoD review finds that a project may pose unacceptable impacts to national security, the DoD Siting Clearinghouse will seek to mitigate those impacts prior to submitting a negative recommendation to the FAA. The proponent will be asked to participate in a partnership with the DoD called a Mitigation Response Team (MRT) to explore potential mitigation options that ensure continued DoD operations, testing, and training as well as energy development.

      Examples of mitigation agreements that have been signed between the DoD and developers are posted in the Library.

  • How do you request an informal review and what information is needed?

      Informal reviews are recommended early in the siting process. The DoD Siting Clearinghouse recognizes there may be no definitive plans at this point, but early engagement is key in preventing issues during the formal review process. The goal of an informal review is to identify areas of potential impact and, once identified, refer the proponent to the proper DoD stakeholder for further discussion.

      To request an informal review, please send the following information to the DoD Siting Clearinghouse at osd.dod-siting-clearinghouse@mail.mil. At a minimum, anyone requesting an informal review must provide:

      1. Contact information, including the name of the company, vendor or developer, as well as address, city, state and zip code; project point of contact, including first and last name; contact phone, fax, and email; and project name, nearest city or county, and state.

      2. The geographic location of the project, including its latitude and longitude.

      3. The nature of the project (e.g., wind, solar).

      In order to provide the most expeditious review, the following information is recommended:

      1. Contact information, including the name of the company, vendor or developer, as well as address, city, state and zip code; project point of contact, including first and last name; contact phone, fax, and email; and project name, nearest city or county, and state.

      2. The geographic location of the project, including latitude and longitude: Please include Lat/Longs in DMS (Degrees, Minutes, Seconds) for each turbine tower in Excel format and a map of the project in PowerPoint or Adobe pdf format, if possible.

      3. The nature of the project (e.g., wind, solar) and the following information:

      a. Number of Structures
      b. Wind Turbine: Include turbine height, hub height, blade tip height, and turbine farm layout
      c. Solar: Include solar tower or panel height, solar layout, and solar array acreage, with map
      d. Geothermal: Include geothermal layout/acreage, with map
      e. Transmission, Utility, and Power Lines: Height and type of structure(s), substation(s) tie-in, if known, KV of line(s), and map of route
      f. BLM ID, NEPA number, or any Federal/State/Local identifiers, if applicable
      g. Associated transmission/lines for project and obstructions to structure (guideline supports, lighting)
      h. Intended grid connection with location (DMS)
      i. Shapefile for project (Lat/Longs in DMS and decimals)

  • Why doesn't the DoD just say where I can or cannot develop?

      Land use can change, hence giving a map of what lands can and cannot be developed isn’t as easy as it sounds. The DoD Siting Clearinghouse seeks opportunities to ensure impacts to military operations are considered appropriately in siting and permitting decisions. These reviews also help developers identify potential compatibility issues as early as possible.

      Military assessment includes diverse missions, from the testing and training of military personnel or equipment, to the operation of radar used for air traffic control or national defense. The assessment of an impact of any proposal requires an active, specific review of the characteristics of an energy proposal and the nature of the mission in the area. The analysis may reveal subtle, yet important, differences in missions or the project resulting in different conclusions within a particular geographic area that may not be readily apparent. The negotiation process within the Mitigation Response Team (MRT) will help stakeholders understand the reason for concern about a project. It is possible that a certain level of interference is acceptable, but the cumulative effect of multiple projects in a specific location can be so great that the level of interference has incrementally become unacceptable.

  • How do I obtain electronic data files of the locations of DoD installations and ranges (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps) to use when planning my energy project?

      DoD publishes the boundaries of its installations and ranges at geo.data.gov, and these geospatial data files (shapefiles) can be downloaded, along with helpful "read me" release notes, from the following sites:

      Installation Ranges Data File (Zip, 8.64MB)

      Read Me Release Notes (PDF, 41.8KB)

      You can request copies of geospatial data (shapefiles) for the locations of special use airspace and military training routes by contacting the DoD Siting Clearinghouse at osd.dod-siting-clearinghouse@mail.mil.

  • What happens if the DoD opposes my project?

      The goal of informal reviews are not to oppose a project, but identify areas of potential impact and, once identified, refer the proponents to the proper DoD stakeholders for further discussion.

      For formal reviews, the DoD Siting Clearinghouse oversees a process that clears the vast majority of projects of DoD concern. The few that have potential impacts and warrant study will receive thorough discussion with the proponent in the Mitigation Response Team (MRT), partnership. In the rare event that a project presents an unacceptable risk to national security and all options have been exhausted without acceptably mitigating the predicted adverse effects to the DoD mission, the DoD may recommend to the Secretary of Transportation that the FAA issue a Determination of Hazard in the Obstruction Evaluation/Airport Airspace Analysis (OE/AAA) process.

      By law and by virtue of formal delegation, only the Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) or the Deputy Secretary of Defense (DEPSECDEF) may make such a determination with respect to a project proposal. Upon making such a determination, the SECDEF or the DEPSECDEF must notify the appropriate Secretary as well as the Congressional defense committees of the basis for that determination.

  • The informal review requires sensitive proprietary data to be provided. Will the DoD Siting Clearinghouse protect that data?

      Yes, sensitive information will be protected and reviewed only within DoD to assess potential impacts on military missions. If the request for an informal review includes information that is proprietary, the documents must be marked as "Proprietary" or "Business Sensitive" to ensure they are properly safeguarded upon receipt. Do not mark documents as "Confidential," as that can be easily mistaken for a national security classification. The DoD Siting Clearinghouse will protect properly marked proprietary information under exemption to the Freedom of Information Act.

  • Does the DoD Siting Clearinghouse look at proposed offshore wind projects?

      Yes, the DoD Siting Clearinghouse reviews all energy projects and works closely with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management on its release and permitting of offshore lease blocks.

  • What are the options available to mitigate the effects energy development can have on the DoD mission?

      The Mitigation Response Teams have identified and implemented a variety of mitigation strategies. The chosen strategy for each is based on unique interaction of specific projects and military missions. The most common mitigation strategies are done within DoD, as radar is optimized or mission activity is altered to account for degraded operational area or obstructions. Other projects have elected to modify siting plans or locations to curtail wind turbine operations at agreed-upon circumstances, or to provide technical solutions to overcome radar performance degradation.

      A variety of options are contained in past agreements signed by DoD and developers, and are posted in the Library.

  • What about structures below 200 feet? Is there a possible concern about structures between 75 and 199 feet, approximately?

      The common understanding of FAA filings at 200 feet Above Ground Level (AGL) may give the impression that there is no concern about shorter turbines. In general, density, height, and distance (from a mission or radar) will affect the impact of a project on military operations, but none of those factors have a specific go/no go value. Transmission lines may also impact the DoD mission. The DoD Siting Clearinghouse informal review process is open to all projects of interest, regardless of height.

  • What are some ways for local governments to encourage early coordination between energy developers, land owners, and the military?

      State and local governments can encourage early coordination among all parties through open communication. Coordination can also be encouraged by authorizing renewable energy incentives in areas that are compatible with military airspace requirements.

      Opportunity to protect military operations:

      • Establish provisions requiring consideration of military testing, training, and operations in the energy permitting/siting process

      • Include provisions that energy project applications must include coordination with the military to learn of any known potential impacts

      • Establish working committees to share information on energy projects with the military to learn of any impacts to the DoD mission

      • Encourage energy generation and transmission developers to obtain a Military Impact Statement from the Base and DoD Siting Clearinghouse on proposed energy and/or transmission projects in the vicinity of military installations, military flight paths, or that may impact radar and low-level flights

  • How does the DoD Siting Clearinghouse respond to what must be an enormous number of projects nationwide?

      The vast majority of projects present no unacceptable impacts to the DoD mission and the DoD Siting Clearinghouse and Services staff have worked to identify and clear those projects with increasing efficiency.

  • How soon can I expect to receive a response from the DoD Siting Clearinghouse after requesting an informal review?

      On average, the DoD Siting Clearinghouse checks emails daily and initial emails are responded to within a week. If you have not received a response a week after submitting a request, please resubmit.

  • How long does a review take from start to completion?

      Once a developer agrees to have a mitigation discussion, a timeline for a review to be conducted will be established.

  • Does the DoD Siting Clearinghouse become involved in any of the related energy purchase agreements with regard to the energy produced by these projects?

      No. The DoD Siting Clearinghouse does not enter into energy purchase agreements. Its focus is on preserving the DoD mission (alongside renewable energy project development) through an effective Mission Compatibility Evaluation (MCE) process.

  |     |     |     |     |