Vice President Al Gore's office will present the Defense
Department and the Interior Department Hammer Awards for their
cooperative management of the desert, the highest honor accorded
by the President's National Performance Review program, popularly
known as government reinvention.
The honors will be presented as part of day-long activities
on Tuesday, May 21, at Fort Irwin, Calif. Activities will
include a tour of military training areas and endangered species
habitat, a briefing on base management for military effectiveness
and resource protection, and presentation of Hammer Awards.
The Clinton Administration has viewed the California Desert
cooperative management program as a reinvention laboratory, one
of a number of such laboratories seen as models for government
effectiveness and interagency collaboration.
Accepting the awards will be Interior Secretary Bruce
Babbitt and Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Sherri W. Goodman,
who will also join leaders of the Army, Navy, Air Force and
Marines for an unprecedented meeting to discuss the progress on
their cooperative management of the million of acres of the
Focus on Land Conservation Coexisting with Military Training
"This partnership ushers in a new era of land conservation,
where the Defense Department and the Interior Department are
partners in preserving this vast and amazing land we call the
California Desert, Babbitt said. The plain fact is that the
desert tortoise and the M-1 Tank are coexisting beautifully.
Military preparedness and environmental protection are being
intertwined in the deserts of California.
The Department of Defense has provided about $5 million in
funding from the Legacy Program for bases in the Mojave Desert,
which is designed to promote sound natural resources stewardship
on military bases, while achieving the military's primary
The passage of the California Desert Protection Act in 1994
served as a catalyst for an interagency approach to management in
the desert. Agencies involved in this coordinated management
process include Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service,
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Biological Service, U.S.
Geological Survey, and all four U.S. military services, in
partnership with the State of California.
The military bases in the Mojave are critical to readiness.
It's here our troops trained for Desert Storm. Sustaining our
nation's military training and testing lands through ecosystem
management is among the most important of DoD's environmental
goals, said Goodman. Understanding and protecting the Mojave
helps us achieve military readiness in harmony with nature.
The event will be hosted by Brig. Gen. William S. Wallace,
commanding general, Fort Irwin/National Training Center. Other
bases in the desert include China Lake Naval Air Warfare Center,
Twenty-nine Palms Marine Corps Base, Marine Corps Logistics Base
- Barstow and Edwards Air Force Base.
Lands managed by the Department of Interior include Death
Valley National Park, Mojave National Preserve, and Lake Mead
National Recreational Area, along with large Bureau of Land
Management lands and wilderness areas.
Natural resource experts from DoD and DOI will provide a
briefing to Babbitt and Goodman, as well as invited guests and
members of the press, on the status of the cooperative land
management programs in the desert.
News Media will be given a tour of Desert Tortoise
Observation Park and military training sites, among other events
at Fort Irwin. Press will be greeted at the Fort Irwin main gate
*Agenda for May 21, 1996 :
9:00 a.m. Arrive Ft. Irwin Main Gate Visitor's Center
9:15-9:20 Enroute to Desert Tortoise Observation Park
9:20-9:45 Receive briefing on Desert Tortoise
9:45-10:00 Enroute to Military Operations Center
10:00-10:45 Modified Command Briefing
10:45-10:50 Enroute to Training Area
10:50-11:30 Tour Training Area
11:30-11:35 Enroute to Ceremony site
11:35-12:30 p.m. Lunch (pay as you go)
12:30-12:45 Set up at ceremony site (same building as
14:45-15:00 Media Availability
* Directions to Fort Irwin with contact number is attached:
The California Desert is a very significant, complex
ecosystem which is also home to a full spectrum of military
activities, Babbitt said. It is a great challenge to ensure a
strong military and natural resource protection -- but it's