Being sustainable now preserves resources for tomorrow

By Vanessa Lynch, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public AffairsOctober 25, 2010

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Sustainability is way more than just turning off the lights or fixing a leaky faucet. The overarching term includes an imperative for protecting the environment now so that future generations don't have to foot the bill later.

"We have many special considerations with respect to the Hawaiian culture and historical sites, but we also have numerous opportunities," said Carolyn Killian, acting chief, Plans, Analysis and Integration Office, and the garrison's sustainability program manager, about the special challenges the Army faces as it moves toward sustainability in Hawaii. "Although we have land constraints living on an island, all branches of the military are represented on Oahu. This affords us ample opportunities to work in cooperation (with one other to) maximize our resources.

"We are fortunate to have abundant renewable natural resources in wind, water and solar," she continued. "Few other places have all three available to them year-round."

By conducting business with the environment in mind, the Army remains viable as a security force. Future operations cannot be accomplished without also protecting the environment, because it is vital to the Army.

"Soldiers today - and the Soldiers of the future - need to have land, water and air resources to train on and a healthy environment in which to live," Killian added.

The Installation Management Campaign Plan 2010-2017, released earlier this month, calls for enhanced Army capabilities and operations through energy and water efficiency and security.

"Energy and water are key enablers of Army readiness, in preserving our freedom of action and in being good stewards of the nation's financial and natural resources,"Aca,!E+reads the campaign plan.

"Through conservation, energy and water production supply from domestic renewable resources and modernized infrastructure, installations will improve the security of the sources of their energy and water over the long term," the plan states. "Reducing our dependency on fossil fuels, the national power grid and reducing water consumption is in direct support of (Army force generation)."

The campaign's objectives, stated in "line of effort" six, are to create energy and water efficient installations by holding users accountable, modernizing facilities, installing new technologies and leveraging partnerships that will provide senior commanders an increased level of energy and water security leading to sustainable and resilient infrastructure and mission assurance.

"The Army is currently in the midst of its eighth year of protracted conflict," wrote Gen. Peter Chiarelli, vice chief of staff of the Army, and Dr. Joseph Westphal, undersecretary of the Army, in the 2010 Army Sustainability Report. "Having deployed (more than) one million men and women in support of this nation's longest-ever war fought with an all-volunteer force, the Army is stressed.

"With an eye toward rebalancing the force, sustainability has proven an effective tool for meeting operational requirements, while sustaining facilities and ranges, improving quality of life and reducing the burden on the natural and manmade systems on which we depend," the report said.

Training, equipping and supporting the Army's operations requires a significant amount of land, resources and people. Land-clearing tactics, and weapons like explosives and heavy armored vehicles, might appear to stand in stark contrast to visions of sustainability, and that's why the Army is embracing this initiative.

"It is the right thing to do," Killian said. "Despite often negative press, the Army is a leader in sustainability and caring for our aina (land)."

(Editor's Note: This article appeared in the Hawaii Army Weekly's Oct. 22 special insert on sustainability. Click <a href="">here</a> to view the entire 8-page feature.)