Date of Award


Degree Type

Major Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


This paper addresses the basis of potential and real conflicts derived by the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) process, as identified within and between NOAA and the United States Navy. This conflict is often exacerbated due to either a lack of communication, coordination, or both. A recent proliferation of proposed and designated marine sanctuaries in traditional Naval operating areas has complicated or hindered Naval operations (or will) to a degree where EIS derived restrictions negatively impact the Naval operations, based on (1) response readiness, and (2) increased cost of operations. Two specific conflicts are examined in a case study approach in this paper; they include the Hawaiian Island Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary and Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, established respectively 1992 and 1994. The trend towards increasingly restrictive language by OCRM in addressing DOD activities is addressed. As the divergent interests of these federal players continues to build in a major conflict of policy, this paper will seek to identify the basis for environmental mediation between OCRM and the Navy, as well as to delineate those conditions where it is likely that the Navy will employ national defense provisions to negate OCRM management efforts.