What is it? Army Sustainability accelerates our movement from a traditional, compliance-based approach to environmental stewardship to an innovative, mission-oriented, systems-based approach. This approach leverages the interdependence among mission, environment, and community in all of our operations in order to ensure that the Army will have the capabilities it needs to transform to meet the challenges of the future. Sustainable practices will improve our ability to organize, equip, train, and deploy our Soldiers as part of the Joint Force.
The Army Strategy for the Environment - Sustain the Mission, Secure the Future states: "a sustainable Army simultaneously meets current as well as future mission requirements worldwide, safeguards human health, improves quality of life and enhances the natural environment." The goals outlined in this strategic document guide how we are integrating environmental considerations into each of the Army's four overarching strategies.
What has the Army done? We are working to establish and sustain the land, water, air and energy resources required to support our transformation from the current to the future force. In doing so, we are applying the principles of our business transformation effort, now well under way. Sustainable practices directly support our business transformation, because they seek to eliminate waste, drive innovation, and promote collaboration across the Army enterprise.
A number of initiatives have already demonstrated our commitment to transform our processes to ensure sustainability, including:
- 13 Army installations currently engaged in some stage of sustainability planning and implementation. In these pilot projects, installations set 25-year mutually beneficial goals with their surrounding communities that ensure the availability of shared resources in the future.
- Integration of environmental considerations in the design and development of the Stryker Family of Vehicles, which has reduced hazardous materials, increased combat effectiveness and minimized cost across its life cycle.
- Issuance of a policy requiring 50% minimum diversion of construction and demolition waste by weight from landfill disposal.
- Issuance of a policy requiring all new military building construction to adhere to the standards for a "Silver" rating, as outlined by the U.S. Green Business Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system, beginning in 2008.
- Protection of more than 54,500 acres of land through the Army Compatible Use Buffer Program. Through ACUBs, the Army works partners to identify mutual objectives of land conservation and to prevent development of critical open areas. In turn, the military can conduct training and operations with little compromise while local communities' partnerships assume habitat, biodiversity, and wildlife management responsibilities.
What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future? We are developing specific objectives to integrate sustainability throughout the Army. Numerous Army-wide initiatives are in development that will:
- Improve our ability to deploy rapidly and to transition seamlessly across the full spectrum of operations;
- Develop people, processes, and tools to provide capabilities for a sustainable future;
- Transform business practices by incorporating the "triple bottom line" of mission, environment, and community in all of our processes;
- Reinforce a culture of engagement that enhances collaboration with our stakeholders in neighboring communities, in private industry, in academia, in government at all levels and in non-government organizations; and,
- Accelerate innovation by employing systems thinking and investing in sustainable technologies.
Why is this important to the Army? It is our obligation to ensure that our Soldiers today - and the Soldiers of the future - have the land, water and air resources they need to train; a healthy environment in which to live; and the support of local communities, government officials and the American people. To sustain the future Army we must implement effective policies and practices that safeguard the environment and our quality of life in a manner that our nation expects of us. In light of the risks and costs that we already face as we reposition our global footprint and realign all of our bases, depots, and arsenals, we cannot afford to do otherwise.
For additional information, see www.sustainability.army.mil