Army Environmental Programs
What is it?
The Army's environmental programs encompass a broad range of installation efforts that sustain Soldier training and readiness, protect natural resources, and provide a healthy environment for Soldiers, their Families, and the surrounding communities. The Army strategy for the environment establishes a long-range vision that enables the Army to meet its mission today and into the future. Sustainability is the foundation for this strategy and for a paradigm that focuses on addressing both present and future needs while strengthening community partnerships that improve our ability to organize, equip, train, and deploy our Soldiers as part of the Joint Force.
What has the Army done?
Systems-Based Management. The Army currently has identified 168 appropriate facilities for environmental management system (EMS) implementation. All have successfully implemented an EMS, as required by Executive Order 13148, "Greening the Government through Leadership in Environmental Management." Each EMS is a tool that supports the Army's strategy for the environment and sustainability goals.
Performance-Based Contracts (PBCs). The Army is creating efficiencies, while improving effectiveness, through renewed emphasis on performance in the delivery of services. By using PBCs, the Army is able to buy effective and safe environmental cleanups for a fixed price and a set schedule. The Army is delineating what the objectives are and when they need to be reached, rather than mandating how contractors will achieve those objectives. This allows the contractors to use their technical expertise and innovation to achieve cleanup objectives. Since 2000, the Army has awarded 40 PBCs at 58 active installations.
What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
A unique program was created to protect the vital functions of training ranges from incompatible land uses outside installation boundaries. The Army is leveraging legislative authority provided by the 2003 Defense Authorization Act to establish buffer areas near active training and testing areas through partnerships with government and private organizations. To date, more than 80,000 acres of land have been protected through the Army Compatible Use Buffers (ACUBs) program at 22 installations across the United States; an additional 11 installations are in the ACUB development and approval process. These buffers will help ensure the long-term viability of training on Army installations. The Army will continue to champion programs such as ACUBs in order to support the triple bottom line of mission, community, and environment.
Why is this important to the Army?
Simply complying with environmental regulations will not ensure that the Army will be able to meet current and future mission requirements. Effective policies and practices that safeguard the environment while enhancing readiness and quality of life must be implemented. The Army's environmental programs incorporate sustainability into all functional areas and ensure that the Army can sustain the mission and secure the future.