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Immediate Release

Department of Defense Announces Winners of the 2020 Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards

The Department of Defense (DoD) announces the 2020 Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards winners.

The awards recognize installations, teams, and individuals for their accomplishments in innovative and cost-effective environmental management strategies supporting mission readiness.  “Strong environmental programs are vital to the Department’s ability to successfully carry out its mission,” stated Ellen Lord, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment.

Each year since 1962, the Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards have honored service members and civilians across the Department of Defense.  The nominees’ achievements include significant 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.  DoD also leverages technology to develop innovative solutions to existing and emerging human health and environmental challenges.  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 winners.

In 2020, DoD selected the following nine winners from a total of 30 nominees:

  • Natural Resources Conservation, Small Installation:  Fort Custer Training Center, Michigan Army National Guard – 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.
  • Natural Resources Conservation, Individual/Team:  Conservation-Training Enhancement Team, Camp Ripley, Minnesota Army National Guard – implemented a new forestry management plan for the installation’s 28,000 acres of forests, which defines short-term (10-year) management goals based on natural resources and military training objectives.  The team developed a geographic information system viewer for forestry practices that includes layers for military training, wildlife, threatened and endangered species habitat, sensitive habitats, and past and proposed forest management activities.
  • Environmental Quality, Non-Industrial Installation:  Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California – decreased hazardous material use and hazardous waste generation to reduce costs for the installation.  Staff reviewed and adjusted hazardous waste disposal contracts in fiscal year (FY) 2018, resulting in an annual savings of $96,000.  The installation’s Qualified Recycling Program also generated more than $240,000 in revenue in FY2018 and FY2019, which Miramar applied to the operating costs of the program and to morale, welfare, and recreation programs for active duty personnel.
  • Environmental Quality, Individual/Team:  Environmental Information Management System Team, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, Virginia – facilitated the management, production, and timely delivery of eight Environmental Impact Statements that included thousands of pages, involved dozens of stakeholders, and adhered to very tight timelines, saving the Navy time and money while generating high-quality documents.  Results enabled the fleet leadership to make informed decisions about environmental impacts for testing and training at sea.
  • Sustainability, Industrial Installation:  Naval Base Kitsap, Washington – reduced the amount of petroleum-based fuel in the installation’s fleet of non-military vehicles by using alternative fuels and electricity.  Personnel used E-85, an ethanol fuel blend, and biodiesel to divert a total of 172,831 and 171,484 gallons from fossil fuels in FY2018 and FY2019, respectively.  The installation’s vehicle inventory is also comprised of 113 electric vehicles, or 11% of the local fleet.
  • Environmental Restoration, Installation:  Camp Edwards, Joint Base Cape Cod, Massachusetts Army National Guard – adopted cutting edge electromagnetic induction sensor technology, known as the “metal mapper,” to reduce the cost of source cleanup, enhance accuracy, and minimize the number of items requiring excavation.  Camp Edwards decreased unexploded ordnance costs by up to 70%, and the installation is the only location worldwide to put the metal mapper technology into operation at an industrial scale.
  • Environmental Restoration, Individual/Team:  Vieques Environmental Restoration Team, Puerto Rico – acted immediately after Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico in September 2017 to inspect more than 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 with debris removal, disseminated munitions safety information, and repaired mission-critical roads, fences, safety signs, and infrastructure.
  • Cultural Resources Management, Large Installation:  Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California – completed earthquake damage assessment, recovery, and renovation efforts to the curation facility, where over 80% of Navy Region Southwest’s historic artifacts are contained, following the largest earthquakes in the State of California in the last 20 years on July 4 and 5, 2019.
  • Environmental Excellence in Weapon System Acquisition, Large Program:  F-35 Joint Program Office, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio – monitored the use of cadmium, a human carcinogen, since the early development and production phases of the F-35 aircraft.  The team recently tested and successfully implemented a zinc-nickel plating alternative that will prevent corrosion on aircraft components and completely remove cadmium plating from F-35 aircraft production.

For more information on the 2020 winners, visit:  Additional Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards Program information, including past winners, can be found at: