The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Joint Military Training Project (“CJMT”) calls for live-fire military training on the islands of Tinian and Pagan.

As proposed in a 2015 Draft Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”), the CJMT project would involve 20 weeks of live-fire unit-level training exercises per year within the existing Military Lease Area on the island of Tinian, with up to 2,200 military personnel per exercise. Approximately 22 additional weeks of additional training and maintenance would also be involved.

To accommodate these training activities on Tinian, the Navy would

  • Build four new live-fire training ranges, including a “high-hazard” area near Mount Lasso;
  • Conduct amphibious exercises at Unai Babui, Unai Chulu, Unai Lam Lam, and Unai Masalok, including in coral reef habitats;
  • Construct a “base camp” for up to 3,000 personnel;
  • Impose additional access restrictions on the northern two-thirds of Tinian; and
  • Develop fuel, drinking water, wastewater and communications infrastructure for exclusive military use.

The 2015 Draft EIS also proposed that the United States would acquire a real estate interest in the island of Pagan and conduct 16 weeks of live-fire combined-level training exercises there each year, with up to 2,200 personnel per exercise. Approximately 19 additional weeks per year of additional training and maintenance would also be included.

These training activities on Pagan would require

  • Construction of a 4,000-person expeditionary (i.e., no permanent facilities) base camp;
  • A network of 16-foot wide “trails” for military vehicles crisscrossing the island;
  • A live-fire training range on the northern portion of Pagan, including a “high-hazard” area on Mt. Pagan itself;
  • Amphibious live-fire zones on at least six beaches; and
  • Restoration of Pagan airfield for military use.

Current Status
The Governor’s Office commissioned an independent, expert technical review of the 2015 Draft EIS and convened a community outreach process to ensure the public had accurate information about the project and to provide a safe and to provide a secure conduit for public comments to the Navy. The Governor’s Office also submitted extensive comments of its own, identifying errors in the Draft EIS and concerns about the project. In response, the Navy agreed to withdraw and reconsider the project in order “to address concerns from CNMI leadership.”

In 2016, the CJMT was also subject to government-to-government consultations at the White House under Section 902 of the Covenant. Those proceedings, led by Governor Ralph DLG. Torres, resulted in a formal Report to the President in which the United States agreed to increase transparency and make “every reasonable effort to avoid, minimize, and mitigate adverse impacts” of military activities in the Marianas.

Governor Ralph DLG. Torres and the Department of Defense subsequently established the CNMI-DoD Technical Working Group to further address mutual concerns. The Technical Working Group is made of representatives from the CNMI Government (CBMA, Office of the Governor, CNMI Agencies, Office of the Mayor of Tinian and Office of the Mayor of Northern Islands) and the Department of the Defense (Marine Corps Forces, Pacific and the Pentagon) and meets on a quarterly basis.

In March 2022, Governor Ralph DLG. Torres announced that the Department of Defense has submitted  its amended proposal that has eliminated: 1) any training activities on the island of Pagan, 2) construction of landing ramps in Chulu Beach, 3) a High Hazard Impact Area for the use of artillery and aviation delivered munitions, 4) an extensive range footprint, 5) extensive fencing, and 6) Special Use airspace.

The new notional proposal contemplates similar training activities that are already currently conducted on the island of Tinian but with an eye towards training for the future that is significantly less impactful and harmful to the environment and the way of life for the people of Tinian than the 2015 proposal. (see: https://governor.gov.mp/news/pagan-out-no-high-caliber-live-fire-on-tinian/)

A substantially revised version of the CJMT is anticipated in 2023 or 2024, post a Section 902 process anticipated in the near term. The revised project is expected to incorporate commitments made in response to the 2015 Draft EIS and the 2016 Section 902 process.

Additional information about the CJMT can be found here.

As proposed in 2015, the CJMT project would involve significant live-fire training activities on Tinian and Pagan

Project Effects

Effects Identified as Potentially Significant in EIS

Land use conflicts; terrestrial wildlife and habitats; loss of prime farmlands and soils; aircraft noise; airspace changes; loss of public access; cultural resources; visual and scenic resources; essential fish habitat, corals, and reef habitats; community and social services.

Additional Areas of Concern

Inconsistency with Covenant; failure to propose mitigation for significant impacts; failure to identify and evaluate all project components; failure to evaluate reasonable alternatives; amphibious landings and exercises; insufficient public engagement.

Timeline of activities

The following timeline pinpoints important milestones for U.S. military operations and proposals in the CNMI. As shown, the U.S. military has been a part of CNMI culture and economy for many decades.


The Covenant establishing the CNMI as a U.S. Commonwealth was signed by negotiators on February 15, 1975. Section 803 required that a separate Technical Agreement Regarding Use of Land To Be Leased by the United States in the Northern Mariana Islands be executed simultaneously with the Covenant.


U.S. Department of Defense, Military Training in the Marianas Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision (June 1999)


Joint Region Marianas (JRM) was established in accordance with congressional legislation implementing the recommendations of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission.


Mariana Islands Range Complex Final Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement, published May 2010.

The Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) evaluated global U.S. military strategy and priorities (Department of Defense 2010, CNMIJointMilitaryTrainingEIS.com), and called for development of additional training capabilities for unit, combined, and joint forces in the Western Pacific.

Guam and CNMI Military Relocation Final Environmental Impact Statement: Relocating Marines from Okinawa, Visiting Aircraft Carrier Berthing, and Army Air and Missile Defense Task Force Volume 3, published in July 2010


Training Needs Assessment: An Assessment of Current Training Ranges and Supporting Facilities in the U.S. Pacific Command Area of Responsibility (hereafter the “Assessment”) identified and validated unfilled training requirements for units/commands in the U.S. Pacific Command Area of Responsibility (Department of the , 2013, CNMIJointMilitaryTrainingEIS.com.


Mariana Islands Range Complex Airspace Environmental Assessment/Overseas Environmental Assessment, published in June 2013.


The 2014 QDR confirmed the U.S. military’s continued commitment to rebalance the Asia-Pacific region, which is increasingly central to U.S. political, economic and security interests.


Record of Decision for the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for Guam and Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Military Relocation


U.S. Air Force (USAF) Tinian Divert Infrastructure Improvements Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS)

Mariana Islands Training and Testing SEIS/Overseas EIS, published June 2020

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