Military push to renew state leases at Pohakuloa and 3 sites on Oahu

23,000-acres of Leased state lands are in light color on  right map below

84,000 acres at Pohakuloa in dark green (lower portion) on right map is seized lands via a Presidential executive order in 1964.

23,000 acres in top green area is Army purchased land from Parker Ranch in early 2000s.

Left map below shows Oahu military leased and seized lands.


Jim Albertini Malu 'Aina Center For Non-violent Education & Action P.O. Box 489 Ola'a (Kurtistown) Hawai'i 96760
Phone 808-966-7622 Email Visit us on the web at
Screen Shot 2021-08-01 at 11.51.23 AM.png
By William Cole
Massive front page article on the US military’s push to renew leases to remain 30,000+ acres of leased state-owned land on Oahu and Big Island. 1,170 acres at the Kahuku Training Area, 4,370 acres at the Kawailoa/Poamoho Training Area and 760 acres at the Makua Military Reservation-6,300 acres on Oahu, which is about one-third of the 18,060 acres at the three sites.
The Big Island Pohakuloa Training Area on Big Island is huge-133,000 acres, with a 51,000 acre impact area, the largest live-fire range in Hawai’i. The Army wants to retain 23,000 acres of state leased land in Pohakuloa.
Comments by the public on these proposed leases are due by September 1 by emailing: or EIS Comments, PO Box 3444, Honolulu, HI 96801-3444 or via the project website.
Comments accepted at in-person public scoping meetings from 6-9pm Aug 10 and 11 at Leilehua Golf Course, with livestreaming at Recording services for comments available from 4-9pm on meeting dates by calling 808-556-8277.
Entire article:
By William Cole
The Army is undergoing its biggest modernization in 40 years.
The Marines are ditching their tanks. Missiles and missions linking sea, air, land, space and cyberspace — all at once — are the U.S. military’s future in the Indo-Pacific region.
Island-hopping operations are the new marching orders to deter China’s rapid military rise that is concentrated in the South and East China Seas and radiating economically across the Pacific.
Geographically, Hawaii is ideal to practice it all, officials say. And the U.S. military needs to improve quickly.
It’s in this pressure-cooker atmosphere — and with focus on the Indo- Pacific as the Pentagon’s “priority theater” — that the Army is trying to keep nearly 30,000 acres of training lands on Hawaii island and Oahu. The state land leases all expire in 2029.
A different aspect of that pressure comes from changing times — and increasing opposition to the type of $1, 65-year carte-blanche leases that were granted for the training lands not long after Hawaii gained statehood in 1959.
To keep the land, the Army knows it’s going to have to pay dearly, and it’s starting to strategize how to do so. More creativity already is being applied in terms of a possible land swap on Hawaii island instead of a straight lease.
The Army buying Bishop Museum’s 537 acres at Waipio Valley on Hawaii island’s north shore, which was previously for sale, and swapping it in some type of deal for 23,000 acres of Pohakuloa Training Area’s leased land, was suggested as one scenario.
On Oahu, the Army recently announced it is preparing an environmental impact statement for the proposed retention of up to 6,300 acres of state-owned leased land, including 1,170 acres at the Kahuku Training Area, 4,370 acres at the Kawailoa/Poamoho Training Area and 760 acres at the Makua Military Reservation.
The total is about a third of the 18,060 acres of U.S. government and state-owned training lands at the three Oahu sites.
Screen Shot 2021-08-01 at 11.53.06 AM.png
The Army is hoping to continue using 6,300 acres of state-owned leased land on Oahu, including 760 acres at Makua Military Reservation. Pictured above, soldiers conduct an exercise in Makua Valley.
Last year, the Army said it was preparing an EIS to consider retaining 23,000 acres in the middle of Pohakuloa, a training range the service maintains is critical for military readiness in the Pacific. The tract connects to 110,000 acres of adjacent U.S. government-owned land on either side.
“Our training needs are rapidly evolving and Hawaii’s land, air and sea space remain an ideal training ground capable of providing the realistic scale and other conditions to prepare our forces for high-end combat,” said Marine Maj. Gen. Mark Hashimoto, mobilization assistant to the commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.
The readiness being built up in Hawaii “is a major component of our ability to deter malign actors in the region,” Hashimoto said in an email, without mentioning China. “An aspect of our evolving training needs is the increasingly more important requirement to closely integrate with our allies and partners, and Hawaii’s location is ideal for this.”
BUT IT’S not only a pivot point for U.S. military training, it’s a pivot societally in Hawaii away from the type of state leases that were given away decades ago in tandem with presidential executive orders. President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964 referred to the “authority vested in me” by the admission of Hawaii to the union to set aside 84,000 acres of lands at Pohakuloa for use by the United States and 3,236 acres at the Makua Military Reservation.
Makua, in Leeward Oahu, encompasses about 4,190 acres total, while Pohakuloa is about 133,000 acres.
“We’ve seen the protests at Mauna Kea, the protectors movement; there is kind of a pivot within the Hawaiian movement — young people getting involved and taking back power, taking back a vision of the future — and Pohakuloa is a part of that, Makua is a part of that,” said Kyle Kajihiro, with Hawaii Peace and Justice.
According to its website, the group advocates for environmental and cultural preservation, self-determination and human rights, and also supports “grassroots struggles that resist the destructive impacts of war and militarization and unjust social and economic policies.”
Kajihiro wants the state leased land to be used for nonmilitary purposes.
“I think we have an opportunity, a rare opportunity now, to get land back to turn it around and start restoring these lands,” he said.
The “national security” argument “is always meant to trump every other kind of concern, and it’s often a fig leaf for imperial adventures — inserting military forces into other lands,” Kajihiro said.
U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele, a Native Hawaiian and lieutenant colonel in the Hawaii Air National Guard from Hilo, whose father worked at Pohakuloa, said around the time of his election last year that he would bring “a unique perspective” as only the second Native Hawaiian elected to Congress since statehood.
“Where we are at right now within the Hawaiian community is we are at a crossroads,” including debate over the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea, protests over windmills on Oahu, and ongoing issues with the former Navy target isle of Kahoolawe and military exercises at Pohakuloa, the Hawaii Democrat said at the time.
Pohakuloa, along with the rest of the military bases and personnel throughout the islands, are “very important not just for defense and national security of our country but also for our local jobs,” he said.
“Does that mean we can’t find a balance? Does that not mean the military needs to be proper stewards of the land that they are training on, that they are still able to train but doing it in a capacity where they are cognizant and mindful of the host culture and the land and the aina that they’re training on?”
He added that “these are conversations that we still need to have.”
“How we have treated both of those areas (Mauna Kea and Pohakuloa Training Area), how we structured those leases over the last 50 years, is not a blueprint for the future,” Kahele said.
THE ARMY, Navy, Air Force, Marines, National Guard and Army Reserve use Pohakuloa, a range the Army calls the “Pacific’s premier training area.”
It has a 51,000-acre “impact area” and is the largest live-fire range in Hawaii, supporting full-scale combined arms field training from the squad to brigade (3,500 soldiers or more) level.
The impact area is used for helicopter-door gunnery, fixed-wing bombing, missile firing and artillery fire.
Pohakuloa is the primary training area for Marines in Hawaii.
The 23,000 acres of stateowned land “contain utilities, critical infrastructure, maneuver land, and key training facilities, some of which are not available elsewhere in Hawaii,” the EIS notice said. The area includes 79 firing points, a “battle area complex” and airstrip for drones.
Loss of the land would “substantially impact” the ability of the Army and other services to meet training requirements, the notice said.
Adm. Phil Davidson, the former head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, said in March that the most effective way to combat security challenges in the region and demonstrate resolve “is through a continuous campaign of joint experimentation and high-fidelity, multidomain training.”
He said the U.S. was pursuing the development of linked training ranges including Pohakuloa, the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, the Reagan test site on Kwajalein Atoll, the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex and others.
A $2 million authorization in fiscal 2021 for the Pacific Multi-Domain Test and Experimentation Capability is a step toward the network of training ranges from the West Coast of the U.S., across the Pacific, to Japan and Australia, Davidson said.
Officials say the Army is approaching lease renegotiations at Pohakuloa with greater sensitivity to cultural and land use concerns and has brought military leaders and Native Hawaiian elders together through “kahoahoa” mediation. The service also has taken steps to consider agriculture access on unused portions of the sprawling training area.
The Army is looking at what might be attractive to the state in terms of land swaps to obtain the 23,000 acres or help with infrastructure costs for Department of Hawaiian Home Lands projects.
“Training lands in Hawaii are critical to readiness, and not just for our Army but to other civil and military components. One of the greatest benefits they offer is ensuring we develop forces that can deter threats in the region,” said Brig. Gen. Joe Ryan, the new commander of the 25th Infantry Division. “But I appreciate there are valid concerns about these leased training lands, and there are two sides to this story.”
He noted that the EIS process will look at the impacts of alternatives “and we look forward to working with the entire community on the way ahead.”
THE Pohakuloa options include full retention of 23,000 acres, keeping 20,000 acres, or “minimum retention and access.” Alternatives under consideration on Oahu include utilizing all or lesser amounts of state land at Makua, Kahuku and Kawailoa.
Makua Valley was used for artillery and other “combined arms” live fire, but a series of environmental lawsuits resulted in no live fire in the valley since 2004.
The military still uses Makua for unmanned aerial vehicle practice, troop maneuvers, convoys and helicopter attack simulations. The EIS notice said that if the Army proposes a resumption of live fire there, it would be subject to separate analysis.
The Army said it uses Kawailoa for “low-altitude helicopter flight training.” State Rep. Amy Perruso (D, Wahiawa-Whitmore-Poamoho) takes issue with the usage claim.
“The terrain is too treacherous” for ground training, she said. “They just control it because they can.”
As for extending all the state leases, “I think the clearest example is with the parcel that’s in my district (Kawailoa), so I’ll speak to that, although I think frankly all of that training land should be returned (to the state) because I think that land is being damaged and desecrated.”
She added that “my personal perspective is we shouldn’t be using ceded, stolen lands to train people to kill other people,” a reference to Hawaiian kingdom lands that were “ceded” to the Republic of Hawaii and then to the United States.
On the flip side of that coin, Lt. Col. Kevin Cronin, the commander of Pohakuloa, said that ultimately, training at the big range “saves lives by preparing service members to achieve the highest standards possible before they are called into harm’s way.”
“These high standards include live-fire exercises to ensure our service members are familiar with their weapons and are prepared to overcome any obstacle on the battlefield,” he said. “PTA provides for this posture of readiness to occur from one of the most strategic locations in the entire Pacific Basin, and as such, the Army considers it essential for the safety and security of our troops and the defense of our homeland.”

Military so called consultation meeting on Pohakuloa historic properties was a SHAM

To all parties involved with the Aug. 24, 2021 two hour Annual Review phone meeting: I request that this statement be made an official part of the meeting record. Email sent 8/25/21

This is a follow up to my question at the Aug. 24th Pohakuloa 106 consultation meeting concerning how many archeological sites at the 133,000-acre PTA are designated as He’iau or shrines?  The answer provided was 18 shrines.

In 1980, an archeological survey on Kaho’olawe found 87 he’iau and shrines and I believe more have been found since then but I don’t have access to that data.  Kaho’olawe is  28,000-acres nearly 5 times smaller than Pohakuloa at 133,000-acres.  It must also be noted, that at the time of western contact Moku O Keawe (Hawaii Island) had the largest population of any of the islands.  It is hard to believe that in a place so special (Po-haku-loa – the land of the Night of Long Prayer) located between Mauna Loa, Mauna Kea, and Hualalai  that ONLY 18 shrines (0) He’iau have been found. Let me repeat: that’s nearly 5 times LESS than on Kaho’olawe when PTA is nearly 5 times larger with the largest population of any Hawaiian island at the time of western contact.  It just doesn’t make sense. IT JUST DOESN’T MAKE SENSE. What is implied is that there is a cultural cover up going on to facilitate continued bombing (THE MISSION).  Everything is subservient to THE MISSION. Cultural surveys, concern for the health and safety of Hawaii residents, visitors, and even the military’s own troops. EVERYTHING!  THE MISSION Trumps all!

The US military has controlled Pohakuloa for more than 75 years. If you haven’t done a complete survey of cultural sites, it is your fault.  No more excuses. Claims of no money ring hollow.  The US spends trillions on war, abandoned billions of dollars on weaponry in Afghanistan, yet claims there is no money to do cultural surveys on its bases or clean up the many messes left at present and former military sites in Hawaii and elsewhere, including 57 present and former military sites on Hawaii island alone. In addition to the claims of “No money to do surveys,” the military simply lies or withholds the truth.  How many live rounds are fired annually at PTA?  Where is a list and numbers of all types of rounds fired?  What about the years of denial about Depleted Uranium (DU) ever being used in Hawaii?  Now documented on Oahu at Schofield, likely at Makua Valley, here at Pohakuloa, and possibly on Kaho’olawe and other sites. What about the Army’s lie involving the lease of public lands in the Waiakea Forest Reserve in the 1960s off Stainback highway in Ola’a above Hilo to do what was said to be “Weather Testing” when in fact the Army was testing Chemical and Biological weapons in Hilo’s watershed, including Sarin nerve gas that kills at 1/50 of a drop?  And the list goes on and on.  And the lies continue, including about the serious health problems associated with inhaling DU oxide particles which can be carried long distances in the wind when DU metal is hit with high explosives and burned.

The Military run annual Pohakuloa review meeting on Aug. 24th was a sham, a mere required legal formality.  We are not fooled. It is time for all live-fire at Pohakuloa to be stopped immediately.  No renewal of leased lands.  Clean up your mess and return all Hawaiian lands to Hawaiian hands.  Like it was long overdue for the US to leave Afghanistan after 20 years of occupation, it is long past time for the US to leave Hawaii after 128 years of illegal military occupation.

Jim Albertini

PS The military even made the claim that they can’t use drones to look for cultural sites because the drones have Chinese parts and it may compromise security. Can you believe that desperate and absurd claim?

Jim Albertini Malu ‘Aina Center For Non-violent Education & Action P.O. Box 489 Ola’a (Kurtistown) Hawai’i 96760
Phone 808-966-7622 Email Visit us on the web at

Stop Hawaii Military Madness: Newest versions – Sentinel Landscape and Reaper Drones

Stop Hawaii Military


Newest versions: “Sentinel Landscape” & Reaper Drones



Reaper Drone

      Hawaii is already one of the most militarized (and military poisoned) places on the planet. There are more than 100 active US military installations in Hawaii. On Hawaii Island alone, there are at least 57 present and former US military sites on land (and near shore waters) totaling more than 250,000-acres in need of military clean up – everything from unexploded ordnance, to military chemical and biological weapons, Depleted Uranium (DU) radiation, etc. etc. After more than $400 million was spent to clean up Kaho’olawe, the island is still littered with unexploded ordnance on land and in near shore waters. Pearl Harbor, once Hawaii’s fish breeding center, is now a military polluted Superfund site. Nuclear waste has been discharged into Pearl Harbor and more than 2000 fifty-five gallon drums of military nuclear waste have been dumped off Oahu’s southern shores.

      First came Army Compatible Use Buffer Program (ACUB). Then Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI): Now it’s Sentinel Landscape – all involve co-opting of environmentalism in the service of empire and the US war machine. Sentinel Landscape is really the creation of modern day buffer-zone “land moats” around the castles of US militarism. Those who get to lease the castle “land moats” on Oahu and Kauai have been mainly chemical GMO biotech Fortune 500 seed corporations. Whatever farm crops and animals raised near a toxic stew base like Pohakuloa, will likely carry the toxins of the base. A 10-mile radius “Sentinel Landscape” buffer zone is being proposed for Pohakuloa. It is said that most or all of Oahu, Kauai and the Big Island could be designated as a Sentinel Landscape in service of US militarism.

      If that is not enough to ponder, please be advised that Covert “Military Special Ops” Assassination Training is also taking place OUTSIDE of military bases, on public and private lands – parks, beaches, and near shore waters on all Hawaiian islands. In some cases, tourists and local residents unknowingly, are being used as props in that training. See And keep an eye out for the six new “Reaper” assassination drones that will soon be coming to Hawaii.

See news article here on Sentinel Landscape: See the 2 min video on Sentinel Landscape here

De-Militarize & De-Occupy Hawaii Now!

1. Mourn all victims of violence. 2. Reject violence & war as solutions. 3. Defend civil liberties.
4. Oppose all discrimination, anti-Islamic, anti-Semitic,
anti-Hawaiian, anti-Black, anti-Asian, etc.
5. Seek peace through peaceful means and work for justice in Hawai`i and around the world.

Malu ‘Aina Center for Non-violent Education & Action P.O. Box 489 Ola’a (Kurtistown), Hawaii 96760

Phone (808) 966-7622 Email to receive our posts. For more information

August 27, 2021 Hilo Peace Vigil leaflet – week 1039– Fridays 3:30-5PM downtown Post Office

Jim Albertini Malu 'Aina Center For Non-violent Education & Action P.O. Box 489 Ola'a (Kurtistown) Hawai'i 96760
Phone 808-966-7622 Email Visit us on the web at


More Military Madness — “Sentinel Landscape Designation”

More Military Madness — Sentinel Landscape!!!!!
Aloha friends,
Check out the bizarre military base buffer zone article below. It’s as bad as Military Special Ops assassination training taking place in our parks, on beaches and near shore waters.
The Sentinel Landscape applies to Oahu, Kauai, and Big island, maybe more. I think we need to shut down these military bases, and end the Illegal Occupation of Hawaii, not create buffer zones of crops and livestock to get poisoned along with people by the military toxins next door. Please let me know your thoughts. Mahalo. Also check out the bizarre 2 min video on Sentinel Landscape here
Jim Albertini Malu ‘Aina Center For Non-violent Education & Action P.O. Box 489 Ola’a (Kurtistown) Hawai’i 96760
Phone 808-966-7622 Email Visit us on the web at
Council members hear pitch on Sentinel Landscape designation
By MICHAEL BRESTOVANSKY Hawaii Tribune-Herald | Wednesday, August 18, 2021, 12:05 a.m.

Council members hear pitch on Sentinel Landscape designation

Hawaii County might seek a partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense and other federal agencies in an attempt to obtain federal conservation funds.

At a Tuesday meeting of the Hawaii County Council’s Committee on Governmental Operations, Relations and Economic Development, council members listened to a proposal to designate the entire Island of Hawaii as a “Sentinel Landscape.”


Sentinel Landscapes are areas designated by the U.S. departments of Defense, Agriculture and Interior as lands suited to protect nearby military facilities, such as the Big Island’s Pohakuloa Training Area, from land use that would be incompatible with those facilities’ missions, said Lea Hong, director of the Hawaii office of national conservation nonprofit Trust for Public Land, who spoke at Tuesday’s meeting.

The Sentinel Landscape program would dovetail with an existing partnership between the state and the DOD: the Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration program.


Under the REPI, Hong said, the U.S. Armed Forces have funded various conservation projects throughout the state in exchange for a restriction on how lands adjacent to their military bases have been used. Hong said “compatible uses” for land near military bases includes agriculture and livestock grazing.

“Essentially, (DOD) just don’t want any development,” Hong said, adding that the REPI program began in the 2000s as an effort to prevent the encroachment of urban development upon military facilities.

However, the Sentinel Landscape designation would “supercharge” this partnership with the DOD, Hong said, explaining that, under the designation, any conservation projects under DOD, USDA or DOI programs within the Sentinel Landscape area — which Hong said could encompass the entire island — would be eligible for priority funding from those agencies.

These funds, Hong said, would largely be leveraged by private landowners, but she added that there might be funds available for state and county projects as well.

Hong said the Sentinel Landscape designation does not impose any additional restrictions on the land. Rather, the U.S. Armed Forces support the designation based on Hawaii’s strategic importance in the Indo-Pacific and the security benefits of improving climate change resilience, she said.

Based on Hong’s proposal, most or all of the Big Island, Oahu and Kauai could be designated as a Sentinel Landscape. On the Big Island, Hong’s proposal imagines a 10-mile-radius buffer zone around the military lands at Pohakuloa, the majority of which are already state park or otherwise protected land.

If granted, Hong said the designation would remain in perpetuity. Despite this, Hong said the decision surrounding the designation is unrelated to the upcoming 2029 expiration of the military’s lease for PTA.

“This is a way to try to get some positive benefit from the military’s presence here,” Hong said, noting the negative environmental impacts of sustained military training activity on the island.

If the island is designated a Sentinel Landscape, it would join an exclusive club: Only seven other locations in the nation have been so designated.

“I’m just proposing this on a whim and a prayer,” Hong said. “We don’t have any resources to work toward this right now.”

Hong said she will submit an application for the designation to the DOD at the end of the month. Once the application process begins, she assured that there will be a “more robust” attempt to generate discussion of the issue with members of the public.

At the suggestion of Councilwoman Maile David, who represents Kona and Ka’u, council members can endorse the application on an individual basis within the next week, although they were noncommittal about the proposal at Tuesday’s meeting. David said there was not enough time for an official council resolution on the matter before Hong’s deadline at the end of the month.

Hong said the proposal has the broad support of the state’s Congressional delegation and several county officials, including Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi.


Mayor Mitch Roth, she said, has indicated preliminary support for the proposal.

Email Michael Brestovansky at mbrestovansky@hawaiitribune-


copy of letter sent to Hawaii Tribune-Herald, West Hawaii Today and Civil Beat

Aug. 17, 2021

Letter to the editor:

Mahalo to retired Army Col. Ann Wright for her letter in 8/15/21 Hawaii Tribune-Herald opposing renewal of military leases of public lands in Hawaii.  I agree.  Hawaiian lands should be in Hawaiian hands, not military hands. Stop Bombing Pohakuloa.

I urge others to speak out against Army leased land renewal in Hawaii.  You can email comments to: or go online to fill in the form at index.php/OahuEIS. Comments may also be mailed to: Oahu ATLR EIS Comments, P.O. Box 3444, Honolulu, HI, 96801-3444.Deadline is Sept. 1, 2021

Here are a few issues you might want to comment on: Unexploded ordinance (UXO) clean up, Depleted Uranium and other toxic contamination of air, land and ground water, invasive species, cultural sites and the cultural significance of Pohakuloa itself. The military controls nearly 133,000-acres at Pohakuloa. 23,000 acres of this is leased from the state for $1 total for 65 years –1964- 2029. These so called “ceded lands” are crown and government lands of the Hawaiian Kingdom before the U.S. overthrow in 1893. These lands are in the ahupua’a of Humu’ula (crown), Kaohe and Pu’uanahulu (government lands). Besides the 23,000 acres of leased lands at PTA, 758 acres were obtained by an executive order of Governor Samuel Wilder King in 1956 and 84,000 acres by a Presidential Executive Order of President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. These lands by executive order were turned over to the US military without any compensation. More recently, in the early 2000s, an additional 23,000 acres of land near Waiki’i Ranch was purchased by the military from Parker Ranch. But the Strykers are no longer in Hawaii. They are in Washington state.  But guess what the Military is keeping the 23,000-acres Stryker area with no Strykers.  Surprise! Surprise! 

Our organization, Malu Aina has documented 57 present and former military sites on Hawaii Island alone, totaling more than 250,000-acres that are in need of clean up.  The estimated clean up cost is in the Billions of dollars. I am the co-author of the book -“The Dark Side of Paradise” about the military presence in Hawaii.  It documents many of the impacts of life under the gun of US militarism throughout all Hawaii.  It is available in Hawaii libraries.

It’s not just an issue of no further military leases.  It’s time for the illegal US military occupation of Hawaii to end.  But please clean up your mess before you go. Aloha.

Jim Albertini

Jim Albertini Malu 'Aina Center For Non-violent Education & Action P.O. Box 489 Ola'a (Kurtistown) Hawai'i 96760
Phone 808-966-7622 Email Visit us on the web at