The District of Columbia Air National Guard is embarking on a three-year project to potentially modify the Evers Military Operating Area, an airspace used for training combat pilots of the 113th Wing, according to a press release.

“Our mission is to maintain a well-trained and well-equipped F-16 squadron to respond during times of war and to protect the skies over the nation’s capital,” Col. Keith G. MacDonald, commander of the 113th Wing, said in the press release. “The modification of this airspace is critical for the effective combat training of our pilots.”

The modified Evers MOA, which includes parts of West Virginia and southern Virginia, would be available to train aircrews from around the region, including from West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland. It would enable the aircrews to operate in a properly configured military airspace that meets requirements as an integrated, year-round, realistic training environment for combat aircraft to enhance combat capability, as well as support advanced 21st century air-to-air tactical fighters and evolving military training requirements of the DCANG.

“The mission set of the 113th requires a larger airspace to train and prepare for current and future conflicts and responses,” MacDonald said in the release. “The current Evers MOA simply lacks the training airspace necessary to provide reliable training to fully-exercise the 113th Wing’s pilots.”

This proposal would expand the lateral footprint of the Evers MOA from 450 square nautical miles to 3,500 square nautical miles and establish three additional Air Traffic Control Assigned Airspaces, according to the release. Combat aircraft pilots who encounter today’s threats must perform mission-oriented training in a realistic environment under realistic conditions, which the current Evers MOA cannot provide. This proposal will improve training effectiveness and will enhance pilots’ abilities to defend the airspace beyond the nation’s capital.

As members of the aviation community, air national guard leaders understand that general aviation operators may have concerns about the airspace modification proposal. They invite a dialogue with the public to find the best solutions during this process to help the National Guard Bureau make the most informed decisions. Additionally, as one of the primary regions supporting the modified airspace, the West Virginia National Guard pledges continued public awareness during the expansion process.

“While the West Virginia National Guard is not the lead agency for the Evers MOA proposed expansion, we have a responsibility to maintain transparency and provide information to our potentially affected counterparts in the state,” Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, adjutant general of the West Virginia National Guard, said in the release. “Our organization will continue to work with the 113th Wing, D.C. Air National Guard and National Guard Bureau leadership to ensure West Virginians are kept abreast of the proposed expansion as it moves forward.”

An environmental assessment period will be taking place in the coming months, and the public is encouraged to provide feedback during this process. The environmental assessment will address many potential impacts such as noise, commerce and changes to general and commercial aviation flight patterns.

For more information on the Evers MOA proposal, go to www.113wg.ang.af.mil/EversMOA.