Environmental issues are an increasingly important concern for U.S. forces at home and abroad. If left unaddressed, these issues may cause negative impacts to the environment potentially creating life, health and safety risks.
Working with host nation partners through ongoing projects this past summer, such as the implementation of refined incinerators in Iraq, U.S. Army Central has paved the way to becoming a more eco-friendly force throughout its area of operations. In Kuwait alone several current projects are underway including construction of solar powered car ports at Camp Arifjan and planned distribution of a fleet of electric automobiles this fall.
“We must address the environmental issues happening around the world today because they don’t just affect, us they affect everyone, and it’s our responsibility to help,” said Jeffry Tripe, environmental program manager for U.S. Army Central.
Hazardous waste storage areas and material redistribution centers play a major role in mitigating environmental impact to the surrounding areas. These facilities ensure proper disposal or reissue of un-needed or expired hazardous materials from around U.S. Army Central’s area of operations.
These facilities have issued more than 5.2 million pounds of supplies serving more than 27,000 customers resulting in $25 million of savings and cost avoidance since 2011.
Working alongside host nation partners to create solutions to environmental challenges proves mutually beneficial and promotes strong relations.
“It is important to take care of our facilities and the environment of our installations abroad because we are utilizing borrowed land,” said Col. Jeff R. Stewart, Area Support Group-Kuwait commander. “At any time, the host nation can claim back the land they let us borrow, and it is our responsibility to return everything better than when we received it in order to keep good relations with the host nation.”
Waste streams originating from U.S. Army Central facilities are continually monitored, tracked, and managed by U.S. Army Central personnel through implementation of detailed policies, procedures and command directives.
U.S. Army Central has developed and implemented training to educate its current and future leaders about better ways to care for their footprints and understand their impacts.
“Our warfighters and environmental officers are our first line of defense when it comes to environmental stewardship,” said Sean Tucker, environmental training coordinator, manager for Kuwait-Base Operations and Security Support Services.
The environmental training enables U.S. Army Central to have a vast environmentally aware and informed presence throughout their area of operations, which spans 20 countries.
“We train those that have been appointed as the environmental officer so that the mission can be completed hand-in-glove with environmental compliance,” Tucker said. “Our training course is comprehensive and detailed. It focuses on compliance within the requirements outlined by the EPA, Army Regulations and Host Nation requirements.”
The environmental training team performs more than 180 monthly environmental assessments and annual audits on activities in Area Support Group-Kuwait alone and has trained hundreds of new officers during the past year.
The numerous environmental officers located throughout the U.S. Army Central area of operations work in conjunction with the U.S. Army Central environmental training team to assess and provide regulatory guidance and assistance throughout the region ensuring department of defense and host nation environmental regulatory compliance.
The military has multiple programs that help improve the environment through innovation and technology, such as the Net Zero Program, where the goal is to reduce overall energy use, optimize energy efficiency, recovery and cogeneration opportunities, as well as offsets the remaining energy demand with the production of renewable energy.
“Technology has to be at forefront to help address some overarching environmental issues,” Tripe said.
Within the past year, U.S. Army Central has implemented several solar and wind powered generators across several installations, reducing carbon emissions, gas consumption and manpower required.
Camp Arifjan, Kuwait has more than 250 solar powered generators and plans to implement 1,000 in the future. According to engineers replacing every lighting system alone with a solar and wind powered model would save approximately $56-million a year.
U.S. Army Central is also looking forward to several electric powered cars and has started installing solar panels on many existing carports to further harness clean energy.
“We must conserve our limited resources here on earth and utilizing clean energy is a great way to do that,” Tripe said.
U.S. Army Central encourages everyone to do their part in helping to make a better environment for the future and employs numerous personnel to help facilitate this priority throughout the region.
“It takes a cumulative effort with a common sense approach to solve this issue,” Tripe said. “Treat the land, air, and water as if it were in your own backyard.”