An Assessment of Adaptive Program Management Development by the United States Navy in Guam

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Adaptive management has been widely used to manage ecological and natural resources from large aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems to individual special status species. Adaptive Program Management (APM) is a unique application of adaptive management to a large, complex, and long-duration construction program in support of the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps personnel and dependents from Okinawa, Japan to Guam. APM is aimed at avoiding significant construction related environmental impacts including potentially significant impacts to already degraded utility infrastructure and fragile public service systems on Guam. The uncertainty and potential severity of impacts stem from a projected rapid and large population increase over a five to ten year construction period. Federal and local representatives have assisted the U.S. Navy to develop APM guidance and an operating charter for the Civil Military Coordinating Council (CMCC) the organization responsible for implementing APM. In this paper I evaluate the development of APM from five perspectives – the project record of decision and environmental impact statement, Council on Environmental Quality guidance, the Department of Interior’s Adaptive Management Technical Guide, an article by Gregory R (Gregory et al. 2006) and from insights by the key stakeholders involved in developing APM. I conclude that APM has substantially met the intent and guidance from the literature cited above, and offer five management recommendations to further develop APM for implementation; 1) better defining the concept of induced population growth; 2) providing additional workshop-level efforts to develop impact triggers followed by investigations into low-cost yet adequately scoped monitoring approaches that inform triggers; 3) formulating a new standard operating procedure to enhance collaboration among practitioners; and 4) granting full authority to the CMCC to determine an optimal mix of membership. APM application to other large, complex and long-duration construction projects may benefit from organizing and managing environmental and social impacts by replacing traditional management frameworks without adding a new level of management.





Sablan, Randel (2013). An Assessment of Adaptive Program Management Development by the United States Navy in Guam. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from

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