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Sustainability

What is it?
Army sustainability accelerates our movement from a traditional, compliance-based approach to environmental stewardship to a mission-oriented, systems-based approach. This approach leverages the interdependence among mission, environment, and community in all 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 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 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:

  • Setting long-term (e.g., 25-year) sustainability goals at 19 Army installations with participation from their surrounding communities. Five more have begun the sustainability planning process.
  • Requiring Army installations to incorporate sustainability principles into their strategic plan.
  • Integrating 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.
  • Designing the Army’s eight new Manned Ground Vehicles to utilize hybrid-electric engines.
  • Investing in energy conservation and partnering to develop renewable energy sources (e.g., solar arrays, wind power).
  • Issuing a policy requiring 50 percent minimum diversion of construction and demolition waste by weight from landfill disposal.
  • Issuing a policy requiring all new military building construction to achieve a "Silver" rating, as outlined by the U.S. Green Business Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system, beginning in 2008.
  • Protecting more than 80,000 acres of land through the Army Compatible Use Buffer Program. Through this program, the Army works with 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 community partnerships assume habitat, biodiversity, and wildlife management responsibilities.
  • Recognizing outstanding contributions to Army sustainability by creating the annual Secretary of the Army Sustainability Awards.

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 to:

  • 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-plus" of mission, environment, community, and cost in all of our processes.
  • Reinforce a culture of engagement that enhances collaboration with our stakeholders in neighboring communities, private industry, academia, government at all levels, and in non-government organizations.
  • Accelerate innovation by employing systems thinking and investing in sustainable technologies.

Why is it important to the Army?
It is our obligation to ensure that Soldiers today and in 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. 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.

 
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