Sustainability of Installations, Environment Key to Readiness
By Terri Lukach
American Forces Press Service
TAMPA, Fla., Apr. 12, 2005 The best way to ensure that today's warfighters have what they need to fight and win in the post-9/11 world is to sustain the viability of both military installations and their surrounding environments, a defense official said today.
That idea of sustainability - of the military mission, the environment, and the community -- is the focus of the 2005 Joint Services Environmental Management Conference here this week.
Michael W. Wynne, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, said the days of "protracted battles featuring environmental winners and losers" are gone. "Today," Wynne said, "we are witnessing cooperation that has created partnerships and a renewed vigor in environmental stewardship."
Wynne said DoD, together with other federal and state agencies, industry and local communities, has "moved beyond simply complying with environmental laws and regulations to ensuring that our land, sea, air and space assets are sustainable over the long-term."
"It is imperative," he continued, "that we manage our assets in a sustainable manner so we can support the warfighter not only today, but tomorrow, and well into the future.
"Military readiness requires substantial resources - including air, land, water and space - areas where military forces can test and train as they would fight. Increased competition for these resources - from urban and suburban sprawl, airspace competition or airwave capacity - constrains the military's ability to train and test under realistic conditions," Wynne said.
To manage and reduce these constraints, DoD need to assess the capability of its installations and ranges from an environmental perspective, he said. That means taking the long view of the environment as the military tests and fields new weapons systems, using environmental management systems effectively, and integrating environmental concerns into the military acquisition process.
Wynne said early integration of environment, safety and occupational-health considerations into system design is also the most cost-effective way to avoid schedule and performance risks, ensure safety and reduce the burden on installations. It reduces cost, reduces logistics requirements, increases the long-term sustainability of the system, and frees resources for other requirements, he noted, and "it's the right thing to do."
Wynne said the DoD is not only gaining recognition as an innovative leader in environmental management and conservation programs ,but is also driving the market in areas such as alternative fuels and green products.
He cited the Defense Energy Support Center as both the largest purchaser of biodiesel fuel in the United States and a leader in developing the commercial specifications for the fuel. The center is also working with an international group to develop worldwide jet fuel specifications, including synthetic fuels, he said, and is a leader in education and awareness of fuel alternatives.
Wynne challenged industry and local leaders to help the department meet three important objectives: reduce the total cost of DoD operations, improve military readiness, and eliminate or minimize any adverse impact on the environment and human health.
"We have had some great successes already," he said. He cited the Stryker brigade combat teams that use an environmental management system to reduce the use of hazardous material and to prevent pollution; jet noise-reduction research and development that is reducing noise levels in communities and hearing injuries in U.S. forces; and air emission-reduction projects that are creating aircraft with greater thrust and cleaner fuel combustion.
"DoD's primary mission is maintaining our nation's military readiness today and in the future. Our military installations, ranges and operating areas are national assets that provide the land, air, and sea space to train our military forces and test our equipment to sustain a strong defense.
"We must share these resources with the communities surrounding our installations in a manner that is compatible and cooperative," Wynne said. "We are committed to managing our assets in a sustainable manner to ensure our support of the warfighter today and tomorrow."