There are almost 12,000 contaminated sites at more than 700 active
and recently-closed military bases. The Pentagon is by far the single
biggest polluter in the United States. It will cost an estimated
$30 billion to meet the Defense Department’s cleanup requirements
on the books today.
Environmental experts and managers from the military services converged
at San Antonio, Texas, in late August—all seeking answers
to the question: Can the services do more to prevent pollution and
to manage hazardous waste?
At the 6th annual Joint Services Pollution Prevention and Hazardous
Waste Management conference and exhibition, representatives from
the Navy, Army, Air Force and Marine Corps shared their success
stories. The event was co-hosted by the U.S. Army Environmental
Center and the Air Force Center for Environmental Excellence.
An executive order issued by President Clinton in April 2000 required
that an environmental-management system must be in place at all
federal government facilities by 2005. Executive Order 13148 sent
all the military services scrambling to put together comprehensive
“The business we’re in generates a great deal of hazardous
waste,” said Frank Lotts, deputy director of logistics operations
at the Defense Logistics Agency.
“The Navy is dedicated to the stewardship of our environment,”
said Capt. Michael Jaggard, acting executive director for acquisition
and business management for the assistant secretary of the Navy
for research, development and acquisition.
“The Navy’s environmental logistics challenge is to
support readiness, ensure compliance, increase flexibility and reduce
life cycle costs,” said David Price, chief of shore and environmental
quality for the Navy. The service is seeking a balance between environmental
protection and readiness, he said.
The Navy was asked to comply with an executive order much earlier
than the rest of the services, and are thereby thought by many to
be “ahead of the curve.” Executive Order 12856, the
“Federal Compliance with Right-to-Know Laws and Pollution
Prevention Guidance,” required shore facilities to reduce
toxic releases by 50 percent, and was slated to be accomplished
The Navy has a P2 (pollution prevention) Afloat program, whose
objective is to “develop techniques, methods and better management
practices for use by the fleet to facilitate pollution prevention
practices in daily operations and maintenance procedures.”
According to the project’s website, (http://www.dt.navy.mil/code60/code632/p2programs/p2afloat/index.htm),
the P2 Afloat Program attempts to effectively reduce shipboard use
of hazardous materials, by using innovative products or processes.
The Air Force Center for Environmental Excellence (AFCEE), located
at Brooks Air Force Base, Texas, wants to work more closely with
industry, said Lt. Col. David Hernandez, director of environmental
contracting at AFCEE.
Maj. Kenneth Rogers, also of AFCEE, explained the benefits of a
new computer program called “GEOBASE,” which takes existing
geospatial data and displays the information in a more user-friendly
manner. The technology should help in resources management, archeological
surveys and historic building analyses, he said. “All installations
will have a common installation picture, and will have custom applications,
such as crisis management.”
The Marine Corps spends $124 million a year on projects related
to environmental compliance, pollution prevention and conservation,
according to Craig Sakai, head of the environmental management program
at Marine Corps headquarters. The Marines also receive a portion
of the Department of the Navy budget, which is used for environmental
clean-up projects, he said.
One of the Marine Corps environmental programs is the Comprehensive
Environmental Training and Education Program (CETEP). It seeks to
attain and maintain “full compliance with all applicable environmental
requirements,” and ensures that all personnel are properly
trained in pollution prevention and environmental compliance.
The Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command has an industrial
ecology center (IEC) located at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J. The office
houses the Army Environmental Quality Basic Research and Development
Program (EQBRD), which is a $4 million program that is “focused
primarily on evaluating feasibility of early technology concepts
for pollution prevention in the Army’s industrial base,”
according to a spokesman. The IEC also serves as the program management
office for the Defense Department’s National Defense Center
for Environmental Excellence.
The Picatinny Arsenal environmental division encompasses programs
that develop corrosion prevention techniques, environmental research,
coatings research and measures the effectiveness of environmental
The so-called “Green Bullet” is another Army-run program,
a Defense Department initiative that seeks to eliminate the use
of toxic materials, such as lead, in the manufacturing of ammunition.
This program is administered through the Army’s Armament Research,
Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) and covers small-caliber
ammunition from 5.56 mm through .50 caliber.