The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Progress 2014

March 8, 2014

Vance Air Force Base needs are being met

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. — Though it sounds like something you might need to find your way to the South Pole, an ICEMAP soon will become a tool for helping keep Vance Air Force Base free from encroachment.

Growing need

ICEMAP is an acronym for Installation Complex Encroachment Management Action Plan.

The Marstel-Day environmental consulting company based in Virginia is developing the ICEMAP in conjunction with Vance, as well as Air Education and Training Command headquarters.

“As we look at our mission set, and looking at growth in communities, it is what may impact our ability to do our mission, or what our mission may do to impact the community,” said Col. Darren James, commander of 71st Flying Training Wing at Vance. “As we look at being symbiotic to one another, it’s how we’re going to influence the growth of each other.

“Enid is looking to grow, and part of that is what will that potential impact be as far as our mission set goes.”

Enid and Vance already have plans in place to protect the land and airspace around the base, beginning with the Air Installation Compatible Use Zone study first prepared in March 2003. James also cited the work of Vance Development Authority and Oklahoma Strategic Military Planning Commission.

“I think this city is very well-versed in coordinating with the Air Force before they make large decisions or large projects,” said James. “This analysis being done doesn’t particularly concern me. I don’t think it’s going to uncover anything that we don’t already have an understanding of between the community and the base.”

The ICEMAP study will include Kegelman Air Force Auxiliary Field near Jet.

The process involves interviews with community leaders as well as James and his staff, “so that they get the full picture,” he said.

ICEMAPs are being created at Vance and other Air Force bases as part of the Air Force Encroachment Management Program.

A potential area of concern, James said, is the development of wind farms in recent years.

“Where they are building them right now, we have already done that analysis, and we’re not seeing that there’s going to be any impact,” James said.

The ICEMAP is designed as a comprehensive plan that “will include a regional look, too, so it’s not just necessarily Vance alone.”

ICEMAPs also will be completed in 2014 for Altus AFB, as well as Sheppard AFB, Texas, James said.

“I don’t think we’re going to see anything that we’re not expecting,” he said. “I think the town is very sensitive to what might impact our mission, and that’s to both our benefit.”

The Vance ICEMAP is scheduled for completion in September.

“I think it is just something, as we look strategically at our existence for a long period of time, it’s something that can be continually referenced,” James said.

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