The next generation of Army and Marine Corps tactical vehicles will meet important safety and environmental standards thanks to the work of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle Environmental, Safety, and Occupational Health Working Group.

Chartered in lieu of the traditional System Safety Working Group, the ESOH Working Group serves as a technically qualified advisory group to ensure safe and environmentally acceptable design, production, fielding, operation and mission effectiveness of the JLTV. Successful accomplishment of the team's mission through the award of the contract for the first JLTVs, which are now entering low rate initial production, earned the ESOH WG the Secretary of the Army Environmental Award for Environmental Excellence in Weapon Systems Acquisition.

This working group's responsibilities include ESOH risk management and hazard tracking, developing ESOH design requirements, preparing the Programmatic Environmental, Safety, and Occupational Health Evaluation and National Environmental Policy Act documentation, coordinating ESOH risk acceptance, providing regulatory guidance, tracking hazardous materials and keeping the responsible program management office aware of any ESOH related program risks during life cycle management of the JLTV.

The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program is an Army-led, joint modernization program designed to replace a portion of Army and Marine Corps light tactical wheeled vehicle fleets while closing an existing gap in the fleet's balance of payload capacity, mobility performance, and protection. The family of vehicles will be capable of performing multiple mission roles while providing protected, sustained, and networked mobility for personnel and payloads across the full range of military operations.

By formally establishing the ESOH working group, the JLTV Program fully integrated ESOH into the systems engineering process. The group is responsible for managing the overall day-to-day ESOH efforts for the JLTV program including development of ESOH design requirements.

The Army and Marine Corps successfully transitioned the JLTV program into production on-budget and on-schedule after a competitive engineering and manufacturing development acquisition phase that ended in early 2015, following rigorous testing of prototypes form three competing vendors. In August 2015, the Army awarded a single low-rate initial production contract to Oshkosh Defense, and the services expect delivery of the first production test vehicles later in 2016. Low rate initial production will continue through 2018 with a ramp up to full rate production in 2019.

The ESOH WG updated the JLTV PESHE throughout the EMD phase and finalized it in support of moving into the production and deployment phase. The PESHE includes a NEPA compliance schedule and provides a planning tool for the development of the JLTV Programmatic Environmental Assessment, completed prior to contract award.

As part of its overall risk reduction strategy, the JLTV ESOH Working Group continues working to reduce the use of hazardous materials and integrating pollution prevention into the overall program. They use a closed-loop hazard management process for the identification, tracking, and management of ESOH hazards and their respective risks throughout the life of the system.

Thanks to the ESOH Working Group, the new JLTVs will include several features to effectively minimize air, soil, noise, and water pollution and reduces hazardous materials usage and generation.

The efforts of the working group will reduce safety and occupational health risk to the operator and maintainer; environmental risk and liability; volume of generated hazardous wastes, and life-cycle cost of the vehicle. At the same time, their work means improved sustainability and reduced environmental burdens on installations where the vehicles are fielded, with minimal effect on mission effectiveness and program cost.

JLTV fielding locations have not yet been defined, but once they are, the ESOH working group will work with the JLTV Material Fielding Team to ensure the installations receive all they require to meet their NEPA requirements.

As the Secretary of the Army Environmental Award winner, the JLTV ESOH WG will represent the Army in the Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards competition later this year.