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Environmental 'Think Tank' Announced at DoD Awards Ceremony

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 2, 2002 – A DoD "think tank" of military and private-sector members will be established to develop solutions to present and future environmental challenges, a senior DoD official announced May 1 at a Pentagon environmental awards ceremony.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Civilian employee Beatrice L. Kephart (right) of Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., shows off her Secretary of Defense Environmental Award plaque with Air Force Col. Robert M. Worley II, commander of the 30th Space Wing. Awards were presented May 1 at the Pentagon. Photo by Gerry J. Gilmore.

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

E.C. "Pete" Aldridge, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, was among several senior DoD officials who congratulated this year's 10 Secretary of Defense Environmental Award winners. The awards honor those military installations and organizations with outstanding environmental programs.

Protection of the environment and conservation of natural resources are important businesses at DoD, Aldridge told the awardees. Their work is difficult, he noted, "because we find ourselves in a confluence of several principles and realities, all seeming to work at cross-purposes."

"A vast body" of American law is applied to the environment and that can make things "particularly challenging to those Americans trying to train and prepare for war on distant battlefields," he noted. "Helicopters will always fly close to the ground. Artillery shells will always churn up the earth." But DoD must observe environmental laws -- "This is difficult, but this is right," Aldridge said.

The awardees, he emphasized, "helped reconcile the needs of war and training to the needs of law and the environment -- no small feat."

Raymond F. DuBois Jr., deputy undersecretary of defense for installations and environment, announced the establishment of the Defense Environmental Forum at the ceremony. That body will work with the National Defense University and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at Fort McNair, Washington, D.C.

Representatives from DoD and the military services, private industry and nongovernmental organizations will meet periodically in Washington, DuBois noted. They are charged to provide insights into the mission-critical environmental challenges that face national security leaders.

"It is a particularly fitting opportunity this afternoon to announce such an important initiative as a way of demonstrating our continuing commitment to environmental excellence," he said.

DuBois said DoD "has learned that we must be ever-vigilant and pay attention to environment resources so that we preserve our national power."

This year's award winners are: 

  • Environmental Restoration, Individual/Team Award: Beatrice L. Kephart of Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Chief of her base's restoration program, she was recognized for her efforts to restore the base's environmental health and revitalize its restoration program. Kephart helped Vandenberg to achieve DoD environmental cleanup goals, shortening the base cleanup process by 20 years and saving $2 million in the process.

    "At Vandenberg we have 98,000 acres and about 40 miles of undisturbed coastline in California," Kephart remarked. "I want to keep that open area clean for our kids and grandkids and the wildlife that lives on the base."

    Environmental protection and conservation is simply the "right thing to do," Kephart said. "Now that we know better, we need to go back and clean it up."  

  • Natural Resources Conservation: The U.S. Army Transportation Center, Fort Eustis and Fort Story, Va., addressed coastal erosion issues by planting copious amounts of grass and adding 44,000 feet of dunes.

    The installations also implemented anti-erosion programs along the James River. They also developed natural resource management plans through fiscal 2004 that emphasize efforts to protect plant and local wildlife.  

  • Cultural Resources Management: The Commander Navy Region Mid-Atlantic, Hampton Roads, Va., which operates 13 military installations, worked with state and local historical preservation organizations to highlight the Navy's historical significance in the area, to include its partnership in the public display of the battleship USS Wisconsin. 


  • Environmental Quality, Individual/Team Award: Navy Cmdr. Stephen P. Markle, Lewis and Clark Class Program, Washington, D.C. As assistant manager for the Navy's Lewis and Clark Class ship project, he was cited for ensuring the acquisition program focused on environmental protection. His efforts reduced project waste by 70 percent, which helped to protect the environment and saved $5 million in annual disposal costs. 


  • Environmental Excellence In Weapon System Acquisition Award: The Navy Lewis and Clark Class Project Team, Washington, D.C. The team was the first DoD acquisition program office to obtain International Organization 14001 certification for environmental management. 


  • Natural Resources Conservation Individual/Team Award: The 45th Space Wing, Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., is regarded as a model for its thorough environmental monitoring and protection programs. That work protects 46 threatened and endangered species, including sea turtles. The team also implemented an $8.3 million sand dune replenishment project and erected 38 new nesting areas for native ospreys. 


  • Environmental Quality, Nonindustrial Installation Award: Air Armament Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., passed 59 state and federal environmental inspections, with no enforcement actions. It recycled more than 12,000 tons of solid waste, saving more than $400,000 in disposal costs and earning the base almost $200,000.

    The base also removed more than 400 tons of munitions debris and 220 tons of leftover steel for reuse. The center was also cited for its success in soil erosion control efforts.  

  • Pollution Prevention, Industrial Installation Award: Warner Robins Air Logistics Center, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., was recognized for solid waste recycling, environmental-sensitive procurement and energy conservation efforts that reduced its use of toxic cleaning chemicals i by 88 percent compared to 1992.

    The base also reduced operational solid wastes, and its energy conservation efforts generated $1.5 million in annual savings.  

  • Environmental Restoration, Installation Award: F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., was honored for its improved environmental restoration program, which merged four poorly located landfills to a single properly located area, saving the base $5.2 million.

    Warren also was cited for establishing environmental stewardship partnerships with local regulators and community members and for preventing industrial chemical contamination from entering a local creek.  

  • Special Joint Award: The DoD Environmental Quality Workgroup, Arlington, Va., was recognized for improving the quality of environmental sampling and testing data, enabling the Defense Department to streamline environmental cleanup and compliance programs.

Full details on the Secretary of Defense Environmental Award winners are at http://www.defenselink.mil/releases/2002/b05012002_bt225-02.html.

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