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Inside DOD   Science & Tech

DOD Recognizes Importance of Environment to the Military Mission

April 22, 2020 , DOD News
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Since 1962, the annual Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards have recognized service members and civilians across DOD who make strides to conserve our nation’s natural and cultural resources; protect human health; prevent or eliminate pollution at the source; clean up hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants and munitions on DOD sites; and incorporate environmental requirements into weapon system acquisition. These activities safeguard military personnel and civilians, protect the environment, and support effective personal and institutional performance to enable the military mission.

Service members fill water cells with clean water.
Filling Station
Members assigned to the 973rd Quartermaster Company from Ceiba, Puerto Rico, fill four water cells with clean, purified water they created using a 1500 Tactical Water Purification System, or TWPS, in Puerto Rico, July 29, 2019. The water was used by to cook, show and hydrate over 400 Soldiers training nearby.
Photo By: Alexandra Shea, DOD
VIRIN: 190729-A-SO154-003A

Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen M. Lord announced the 2020 awards winners April 22 to coincide with the nation’s observance of Earth Day. A diverse panel of 54 judges from federal and state agencies, academia and the private sector evaluated nominations from the DOD components to help determine the nine winners from 30 nominees. This year, there are four Navy winners, three Army winners, and one winner each from the Marine Corps and Air Force.

The 2020 winners showcased extraordinary environmental achievements:

Fort Custer Training Center, Michigan Army National Guard, winner of the Natural Resources Conservation, Small Installation Award, partnered with researchers to determine the best fire application techniques to control invasive species, promote native species growth and support wildlife, thus helping to fill the data gap between prescribed fire management and validated species outcomes.

People in yellow shirts and hard hats walk away from a fire line on a smoldering field.
Fort Custer Burn
Environmental staff and contractors assigned to the Michigan Army National Guard’s Fort Custer Training Center conduct prescribed burns at the center in Augusta, Mich., Oct. 24, 2019. The controlled burn is one way Fort Custer preserves, protects and restores environmental quality and promotes eco-friendly stewardship.
Photo By: Michele Richards, National Guard
VIRIN: 191024-Z-ZZ999-002

Vieques Environmental Restoration Team, Puerto Rico, winner of the Environmental Restoration, Individual/Team Award, acted immediately after Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico in September 2017 to inspect over 50 beaches and all roads where munitions might have become exposed during the storm. Staff also distributed emergency supplies, established satellite telecommunications, helped the community remove debris, disseminated munitions safety information, and repaired mission-critical roads, fences, safety signs and infrastructure.

Soldiers clear debris along a roadway.
Route Clearing
Puerto Rico National Guardsmen work with residents to clear a road leading to homes and a Doppler radar location in Cayey, Puerto Rico, Sept. 30, 2017, in Hurricane Maria's aftermath. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Wilma Orozco Fanfan
Photo By: 1st Sgt. Waldemar Rivera
VIRIN: 170930-A-ZM725-188Y

Click to read about the 2020 Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards.