John Mosher and Andrea Balla-Holden from the U.S. Navy provided an after-action presentation on Northern Edge 2017 joint training exercise that was completed May 1-12, 2017, in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). The Council had previously received a presentation from the Alaska Command and the U.S. Navy explaining plans for the Northern Edge 2017 joint training exercise in the GOA in February 2017. During the earlier presentation, a few concerns were raised by stakeholders regarding potential environmental impacts of the training exercise, and the Council requested the Navy provide a follow-up presentation regarding the Northern Edge 2017 after completion of the exercise. The Council also requested confirmation that the organizational plan and level of activity as presented during the February 2017 Council meeting was followed, and if not, how it may have differed.
In reporting on the 2017 exercise, it was noted that the exercise was primarily conducted further offshore within the permitted training area, and that protective measures and mitigation techniques were successfully used, for example, on Portlock Bank and to protect North Pacific Right whales. The presentation also noted that the usage of training ordnances and sonar was very minimal relative to the amount authorized, minimizing the impacts of the exercise on the environment. The Council appreciated the presentation and looks forward to interaction with the Navy on future Northern Edge exercises.