Appendix 7. FAA/DOD Memorandum of Understanding


I. Definitions.1

In addition to definitions in the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (40 CFR Part 1508), the following definitions also apply to this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU):

“DoD” means the Department of Defense or one or more components thereof, depending on the context.

“SUA” means “special use airspace,” as defined in FAA Order JO 7400.2.

“DoD SUA Action” means a DoD activity for which the FAA determines an FAA SUA Action is required or otherwise warranted.

“Environmental Review Process” means all activities that are necessary for compliance with the following and must be completed before DoD and FAA SUA Actions can be implemented: the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA); the CEQ Regulations; DoD and FAA NEPA-implementing procedures; and other federal environmental laws, regulations, executive orders, and administrative directives.

“Proponent” means: (1) DoD for FAA SUA Actions for which the FAA requires submission of a proposal by DoD; and (2) the FAA for other FAA SUA Actions.

“FAA SUA Action” means the FAA's establishment, designation, or modification of SUA for which a component of DoD is the “using agency,” as defined in FAA Order JO 7400.2.

II. Purpose and Scope.

The purpose of this MOU is to describe guidelines for efficiently conducting the Environmental Review Process for DoD and FAA SUA Actions by avoiding unnecessary duplication of effort and reducing delay through effective coordination and cooperation between the agencies.

This MOU applies “lead agency” (40 CFR §1501.5) and “cooperating agency” (40 CFR §1501.6) concepts and requirements to Categorical Exclusions (CATEXs), Environmental Assessments (EA), Environmental Impact Statements (EIS), and other related or supporting documents for DoD and FAA SUA Actions.

III. Designation of Lead and Cooperating Agencies (40 CFR §1508.16 and §1508.5).

A. Introduction. DoD and FAA SUA Actions can be subject to different levels and scope of environmental impact analyses pursuant to NEPA, as implemented by the CEQ regulations and by the DoD's and the FAA's agency-specific NEPA-implementing procedures. The CEQ regulations encourage designation of a lead agency where related actions by several Federal agencies are involved.

Either the DoD or the FAA may be the lead or cooperating agency for a NEPA review addressing both DoD and FAA SUA Actions. The lead agency, in such instances, is responsible for consultation with other agencies, for early and continuing coordination of appropriate environmental evaluations and analyses, and, in coordination with the cooperating agency, for making and documenting determinations under other applicable environmental laws and regulations (e.g., the Endangered Species Act and the National Historic Preservation Act) and incorporating such documentation into the appropriate NEPA document. The lead agency will invite other federal agencies having jurisdiction by law or special expertise with respect to any environmental issue that should be addressed in the NEPA process to become a cooperating agency (40 CFR §§1501.6, 1508.5).

Both the FAA and the DoD acknowledge the purposes of NEPA (40 CFR §1500.1), and the need to both eliminate unnecessary duplication and reduce delay. Accordingly, the FAA and the DoD will integrate NEPA considerations and requirements of both agencies into the SUA project planning process as early as possible in their respective project planning schedules. The agencies will also strive cooperatively to coordinate development of environmental documents that meet the standards for adequacy in accordance with both agencies' NEPA implementing procedures, thereby expediting completion of the Environmental Review Process.

B.Designation of lead agency. The Proponent will serve as the lead agency (40 CFR §1501.5).

C.Designation of cooperating agency. The DoD and the FAA will ensure designation of the cooperating agency early in the NEPA process (40 CFR §1501.6). Upon request of the lead agency, the DoD or the FAA will serve as a cooperating agency.

Written requests by the FAA and the DoD will be directed to:

Federal Aviation Administration

Rules and Regulations Group (AJV-P2)

OSG Manager of the applicable FAA Service Center

Air Force

Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations (SAF/IEI)
1665 Air Force Pentagon
Rm 4B941
Washington, DC 20330-1665

AF/A3TI - Airspace Policy
Rm 5D756
1480 AF Pentagon
Washington, DC 20330-1480
(703) 692-7752

Installation Strategy and Plans Division
Rm 4D950
1260 Air Force Pentagon
Washington DC, 20330-1260
(703) 614-0237


Chief of Naval Operations (N45)
2000 Navy Pentagon (Rm 2E259)
Washington, DC 20350-2000

Chief of Naval Operations will direct to appropriate code

Marine Corps

Headquarters Marine Corps
3000 Marine Corps Pentagon
Room 2D153A
Washington, DC 20350-3000


Asst. Chief of Staff for Installation Management

Installation Services, Environmental


600 Army Pentagon (5A120-1)

Washington, DC 20310-0600

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Army, Environmental Safety and Environmental Health (DASA(ESOH))

Headquarters, U.S. Army Aeronautical Services Agency

(Attn: Airspace Branch)

9325 Gunston Road, Suite N319,

Fort Belvoir, Virginia 22060

Major Range and Test Facility Base (MRTFB)

Director, Test Resource Management Center (TRMC)

4800 Mark Center Dr., Suite 07J22

Alexandria, VA 22350

*The MRTFB is managed by the TRMC and includes Army, Navy, and Air Force test ranges and associated airspace as designated by annual issuance. The TRMC will coordinate with the lead or cooperating agency as necessary.

IV. Documentation.

A.General. To eliminate unnecessary duplication, reduce paperwork, and reduce delay, the FAA and the DoD will cooperatively develop necessary environmental documentation. The agencies will share and may use, as allowed by their respective regulations/directives, background data and impact analysis prepared by either agency in support of a DoD or FAA SUA Action. Documentation will be developed and processed in accordance with applicable FAA Orders, DoD directives and regulations, and established cooperating agency relationships (40 C.F.R. §1506.1).

The lead agency will provide, within scope (40 C.F.R. §1508.25), project-specific related data supporting the proposed action, alternatives, and impact analyses to the cooperating agency to facilitate the development of a legally defensible NEPA document and support appropriate determinations.

The lead and/or cooperating agency will independently evaluate any information or analysis before using it to support a NEPA review. The intent of the lead and cooperating agency relationship is to ensure mutually adequate documentation that complies with both the lead and cooperating agencies' NEPA-implementing procedures. Deficiencies in information, analysis, or other issues covered within the scope of the documentation will be addressed and corrected during cooperating agency concurrent review(s).

B. Categorical Exclusions.

The DoD and the FAA will address the availability of CATEXs early in the development of DoD and FAA SUA Actions. CATEXs are not interchangeable between the agencies. If the Proponent decides to rely on a CATEX for its action and the cooperating agency cannot rely on a CATEX for its action, the Proponent will provide information and analysis the cooperating agency identifies as necessary for the cooperating agency's NEPA review. To the extent consistent with the cooperating agency's NEPA-implementing procedures, the cooperating agency may request that the Proponent prepare an EA or fund the preparation of an EA or EIS.

V. General Guidance

A.Scheduling. To help avoid unnecessary delay in the Environmental Review Process, the DoD and the FAA will establish a mutually agreed-upon schedule that reflects appropriate time limits to ensure that required actions are taken on a timely basis, consistent with the cooperating agency designation (ref. III.C.). The schedule will accommodate both agencies' requirements (e.g., DoD mission requirements, FAA requirements for processing SUA proposals, both agencies' NEPA-implementing procedures). Each agency will promptly notify the other of any difficulty with meeting scheduled deadlines or any need to revise the schedule.

B.Administrative Records. The FAA and the DoD, as either lead or cooperating agency, agree to develop and maintain an administrative record of each SUA project in accordance with their agency's respective administrative record and document retention rules and requirements. In the event either agency's action is timely challenged, the other agency will make its administrative record available to the agency whose action has been challenged.

C.Resolution of disagreements. If the FAA and the DoD fail to reach agreement at the normal working level on any issue relating to environmental processing of proposed SUA Actions, the matter will be referred, in ascending order, as outlined in the table below. At any time, the FAA's Office of the Chief Counsel and the Office of the General Counsel of the Service Department involved shall be consulted for assistance with legal issues.

Equivalent Levels of Responsibility for Resolution of Disagreements


FAA Administrator

DoD Policy Board on

Federal Aviation (PBFA) Chairman

FAA Chief Operating Officer, Air Traffic


DoD PBFA Executive Director

Principal Member

FAA VP, Mission Support Services

DoD PBFA Deputy Executive Director

FAA Director, Policy

DoD PBFA Airspace and

Procedures Subgroup Chair

D.Funding. Agency budget constraints may delay processing and implementation of DoD and FAA SUA Actions. As part of the lead agency-cooperating agency relationship, the DoD and the FAA will determine responsibilities, consistent with this MOU, for funding the preparation of NEPA documentation (40 CFR §1501.6(b)(5)) and, if appropriate, decision implementation measures (40 CFR §1505.3).

E.Amendments. If either party determines that it is necessary to amend this MOU, it will notify the other party in writing of the specific change(s) desired, with proposed language and the reason(s) for the amendment. The proposed amendment will become effective upon written agreement of both parties.

VI. Effective Date.

This MOU is effective from the last signature date below until rescinded or amended.


Graphic depicting the MOU signatures.

Executive Director, DoD Policy Board VP Mission Support Services

On Federal Aviation Federal Aviation Administration

1. Terms defined in this section are capitalized throughout the document.