The Defense Department strives to support readiness, resilience, people and the environment in everything it does, said the assistant secretary of defense for energy, installations and environment, who today spoke about environmental issues in advance of the upcoming Earth Day observance on Monday. 

Visiting Earth Day exhibits at the Pentagon, Brendan Owens said mission readiness is predicated on having access to land for troops to train, along with the need to protect the environment.  

DOD and service organizations had many exhibits on display at the Pentagon. 

J. Kevin Hiers, research conservation program manager, said DOD’s Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program and the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program support the department’s environmental, resilience, installation energy and water research programs. They do this by harnessing the latest science and technology to improve DOD’s environmental performance, reduce costs and enhance mission capabilities, Hiers said. 

In addition, the Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration Program enhances DOD mission readiness by engaging in long-term, cooperative agreements with state and local governments and conservation organizations that improve installation resilience, promote compatible land use, and preserve important habitats and natural resources, said Jaime Simon, the program’s director for external affairs and communications. 

The Natural Resources Program provides policy, guidance and oversight for management of natural resources on nearly 27 million acres of military land, air and water resources owned or operated by DOD, according to representatives at the exhibit. 

Moreover, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has a wide range of environmental missions, said Jenn Miller, a public affairs officer with the Corps. These missions include:

  • Delivering clean and renewable energy sources and reducing carbon emissions and waste. 
  • Designing and building projects to last and perform under reasonable future conditions. 
  • Cleaning up sites degraded by historic activities and minimizing the environmental impacts of future activities. 
  • Planning ecosystem restoration projects and sustainably managing public and private land and water. 

Miller noted that over 760 million tons of civilian and military cargo each year move on inland waterways maintained by the Corps. The Corps also maintains 4,800 recreation sites; 7,800 miles of trails; and 92,000 campsites. Currently, the Corps is modernizing over 50 Army barracks, as well. 

The Defense Logistics Agency offers acquisition support for facility energy requirements — such as natural gas, electric and clean energy — with the goal of saving energy and improving performance, as well as meeting the administration’s climate change goals, said Jacob H. Vigil, a contracting officer with the agency.

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