Soldiers participate in an urban patrol training scenario in Ujen, one of the training cities at the Fort Irwin National Training Center in 2016.
Soldiers participate in an urban patrol training scenario in Ujen, one of the training cities at the Fort Irwin National Training Center in 2016.

The Army plans to bolster its simulated war zone in the Mojave Desert and ask Congress to extend its nearly two-decade hold on roughly 110,000 acres of surrounding public land, saying some environmental harm will result as it prepares “to fight adversaries who are our military peers or near-peers.”

In a draft report dated May 21 by Fort Irwin and Dallas-based Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. — the military base’s “environmental consultant,” according to the draft appendices — two plans are proposed with major implications for the Army’s 753,537-acre National Training Center.

Each proposal is framed in an “environmental impact” assessment, alongside alternative plans the report says were also considered but ultimately dismissed. The Army is accepting public comments on the draft report through Tuesday, and aiming to release a final report in the fall.

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