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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 015-03
January 10, 2003

NAVY ANNOUNCES FUTURE TRAINING STRATEGY FOR EAST COAST FORCES

Secretary of the Navy Gordon R. England today signed the letter of certification to Congress confirming that, as planned, the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps will cease military training on the Vieques Inner Range by May 1, 2003. The Department of the Navy has identified training alternatives that will collectively provide equivalent or superior training to the options provided by the island of Vieques.

The Navy and Marine Corps will conduct future military training of East Coast units at existing continental U.S. ranges and facilities. Additionally, the Navy and Marine Corps intend to maximize the use of enhanced training technologies.

"We looked at our entire training program and have developed a strategy to provide effective training for our Sailors and Marines," England said. "It's important for the Department of the Navy to invest now in a training process that provides ready naval forces today and in the future. This is exactly what our comprehensive training strategy achieves."

The Navy plans to fund more than $400 million in improvements over the next few years to enhance and improve future-training. These improvements are included in the Training Resource Strategy and will continue to evolve with new technologies and range developments.

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