Military Installation Resiliency Study



The City of Ridgecrest, in partnership with Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) China Lake and the surrounding communities, has received a grant from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)  Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation to undertake a Military Installation Resiliency Study/Risk Assessment that will chart a path for the long-term sustainability and operability of NAWS China Lake, Ridgecrest and the surrounding communities. The City of Ridgecrest is sponsoring the Military Installation Resiliency Study/Risk Assessment as a community-led cooperative, strategic planning process among the City of Ridgecrest, NAWS China Lake, the surrounding local communities, and the State of California, to analyze and implement actions necessary to foster, protect, and enhance both community and military installation sustainability. 

This project will enable the City of Ridgecrest, surrounding local communities, together with NAWS China Lake, to assess shared vulnerabilities and risks with special attention given to unique resilience requirements for NAWS China Lake beyond their installation boundaries. The focus is to understand and support the interconnectedness and inter-dependencies of the critical infrastructure assets and systems that link the City of Ridgecrest, NAWS China Lake, and the region, including the assessment of the potential effects from extreme weather events and other changes in environmental conditions that may adversely affect mission-essential functions and the mission sustainability of NAWS China Lake. The completed review will include a Study Report and Resilience Action Plan with recommended resilience actions and prioritized projects, together with recommended funding sources, that focus on shared critical infrastructure, programs and services. These recommended resilience actions and prioritized projects may address water, energy, transportation, communications, health/medical, safety/security, food/shelter, and education. 

The goal for the City of Ridgecrest, NAWS China Lake, and the surrounding communities is to plan, design, and finance a resilient future, together.  

About Naval Air Weapons Stations China Lake 

Throughout its history, NAWS China Lake enabled DoD weapon, sensor, communication, and payload capabilities in terms of Research, Development, Acquisition, Test, and Evaluation (RDAT&E). Military activities at this site began in 1943, coinciding with the Navy’s rapidly expanding air combat role during World War II.  

Today, NAWS China Lake is the Navy’s single largest landholder, totaling more than 1.1 million acres, with approximately 95% of that land undisturbed. The combination of NAWS China Lake’s location, complex and varied terrain, restricted airspace, widespread instrumentation sites, laboratory infrastructure, and highly skilled technical workforce provides advanced and efficient methodology for conducting essential developmental and operational tests, and sustainment training necessary to maintain high technical standards throughout the DoD. 

VX-31 Plane

The Mission Today 

The mission of NAWS China Lake is to provide and maintain lands, facilities, and capabilities by way of a cadre of Shore Enterprise professionals that enable RDAT&E of innovative technological systems, and training of Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) personnel. The land and airspace, also referred to as ranges, in and around China Lake are critical to testing and evaluating a wide range of systems, and maintaining the operational readiness of forces. The RDAT&E mission includes systems engineering, electronic warfare, software and mission systems integration, weapons and energetics, and human systems that generate cutting-edge capabilities for the warfighter. The training of NECC personnel produces combat-ready forces for Combatant Commanders around the globe. 

Challenges to the Mission 

The Navy’s ability to enable testing and training missions in the upper Mojave Desert depends on the continued support and cooperation of its friends and neighbors in the surrounding communities. For more information view the NAWS China Lake brochure Partners for a Compatible Future. Various types of incompatible development can threaten NAWS China Lake’s ability to effectively make use of such an ideal testing and training location. Many concerns at NAWS China Lake relate to local land development and restrictions on the use of airspace within the Military Influence Area. These include: 

  • Encroachment on a single source of groundwater, which is a top concern. 
  • Renewable energy projects that are not compatible with the RDAT&E mission. 
  • Frequency interference from expanding cellular and commercial communications. 
  • Vertical flight obstructions from communication towers, new transmission lines, wind turbines, and construction cranes. 
  • Residential and commercial development within known aircraft noise areas. 

As incompatible development increases, pressure builds for the Navy to alter flight operations, reduce flights over certain areas, or otherwise reduce mission effectiveness, ultimately jeopardizing the viability of the RDAT&E mission.


What is military installation resiliency? 

“The capability of a military installation to avoid, prepare for, minimize the effort of, adapt to, and recover from extreme weather events, or from anticipated or unanticipated changes in environmental conditions that do, or have the potential to, adversely affect the military installation or essential transportation, logistical, or other necessary resources outside of the military installation that are necessary in order to maintain, improve, or rapidly reestablish installation mission assurance and mission-essential functions.”  

Source: 2019 National Defense Authorization Act 


What is the Military installation Resiliency Planning Framework? 

  • Identify and develop strategies to enhance community resilience beyond installation boundaries. 
  • Identify shared critical infrastructure, services, and programs. 
  • Develop a Resilience Implementation Strategy to carry out recommended actions and projects. 
  • Protect and preserve military readiness. 
  • Support continued community growth and economic development. 

For more information on Resilience Planning check out the following resources: