Urban development on lands adjacent to military installations is currently among the most pressing challenges facing the Department of Defense (DoD). At issue are the consequences of urban development, which include safety risks; noise; impacts to plants, animals, and cultural resources; and dust emissions and other air and water pollution. DoD has investigated the use of alternative future scenario modeling (AFSM) to predict and remediate potential impacts of civilian development on military installations. The AFSM technology requires, however, advanced statistical and computational skills. As a result, it has not been effectively transferred to military officials and natural resource managers.

The objective of this project was to build an information system that would significantly reduce the complexity of the AFSM process. The information system envisioned would allow the modeling components to be interactive, portable, iterative, and user-friendly.

Technical Approach

This one-year project examined technologies that could be used to develop an information system for simulating alternative future scenarios. Researchers sought to identify common variables thought to either be correlated with or actually drive patterns of development. As part of this effort, a comprehensive statistical analysis was conducted for the Coachella Valley, California, to determine if basic rules regarding development could be established. The results of this analyiss were compared to results from other alternative futures research. An extensive review of existing models that can be used to create from one to many components of alternative future scenarios was completed. It was determined that more information is needed at an installation level, across all installations, before a prototype dynamic information system can be presented for consideration to DoD. Direct inputs by military officials and their contractors, based on local knowledge of the installation and regional specifications, could ultimately provide feedback to the modeling process.


Based on the results of this project, it is believed that components of existing models, programs, and tools can be combined effectively for an alternative modeling assessment tool. It is unclear whether or not the actual construction of alternative futures can be accomplished entirely without the contribution of certain experts. It is known, however, that military officials and laypeople can create non-empirically based alternatives with existing technology tools for use in identifying variables that may conflict with the sustainability of military operations, as well as predicting and evaluating environmental impacts and associated risks under alternative land-use change scenarios. (Project Completed - 2003)

  • Dust,

  • Desert,

  • Monitoring,