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Dugway wants to grow

(Tooele Transcript Bulletin) One of America’s largest military installations will grow larger still if officials at Dugway Proving Ground get their wish.

Paula Nicholson, public affairs officer for Dugway, announced yesterday that military leaders at the west desert post want to expand upon its approximately 13,000 square miles to accommodate a predicted increase in usage in coming years. The announcement was made during a meeting with county leaders and Lt. Gov. Greg Bell at the Utah State University Tooele campus.

“We are just making the lieutenant governor aware of what we see in the future,” Nicholson said. “We just try to plan strategically — looking to the future and working forward.”

Dugway’s vast staff of experienced scientists offer advanced training opportunities for both troops interested in counterterrorism training and other types of training more focused to homeland security, making the post an increasingly popular place for soldiers to visit prior to taking on an assignment.

“The training we do is an advanced training,” Nicholson said. “We get a lot of requests for training and sometimes we can’t do it as quickly as they’d like because we are booked.”

The base has yet to determine how much additional land it would like to acquire, though Nicholson said most of the land is owned by the Bureau of Land Management, which has voiced support for a potential transaction should it be approved by the Department of Defense. Getting such an approval could take several years however, Nicholson added.

“We did propose this same thing a few years ago,” Nicholson said. “But it never came to fruition. I’m not sure why.”

Nicholson said the need for expansion stems from the need voiced by all sectors of the military — Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines — for more training area.

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