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Chapter 2



The Army environmental vision is to be a national leader in environmental and natural resource stewardship for present and future generations as an integral part of our mission. We must take care of the environment (that is, practice environmental stewardship). The definition of stewardship is taking care of property while also caring about the rights of others. We must plan our operations without harming the environment. Good environmental stewardship lets leaders take care of soldiers and their families. It also saves resources vital to combat readiness.

The Army has the huge task of reducing environmental impact on its installations and units throughout the United States and the world. The Army owns 20 million acres of land (an area about half the size of Virginia) in CONUS. This fact illustrates the vastness of our task. Each area of our daily operation has some effect on the environment.

The Army is renewing its emphasis on care of the environment. Petroleum and water units by their nature have a huge impact on the environment. It is critical that leaders and soldiers in these units follow safe, legal environmental practices. By doing so, they protect their health and the health of those around them. They also prevent long-term environmental damage that can lead to fines and other legal actions.


The Army no longer merely complies with laws; it exercises leadership in environmental protection by setting goals and requirements for its leaders.


  • Compliance--ensure that all Army sites (CONUS, OCONUS) and operations attain and sustain 100 percent compliance with environmental laws and regulations in a climate of changing requirements. Do not be subject to a notice of violation or a fine for not following host nation, local, state, or federal environmental directives.
  • Prevention--adopt and implement integrated management approaches in all Army mission areas to reduce and minimize both the volume and toxicity of all categories (air, water, land) of environmental pollution.
  • Conservation--conserve, protect, and enhance natural environmental and cultural resources entrusted to the Army's stewardship for the enrichment of future generations, using all practical and available means consistent with the Army mission.


  • Appraisal--all Army actions require an appraisal of their potential environmental impacts.
  • Training--all key Army decision makers and planners must attend NEPA training.
  • Restoration--ensure strict compliance with all spill and release reporting, timely resource requests and allocations, and clean-up requirements of all Army contaminated sites, as quickly as resources are made available, to protect human health and the environment.
  • Environmental consideration--ensure that all practically available environmental and cultural resource data are incorporated early in the mission decision-making and planning process.


Leaders who care for the environment also care for their people. They reduce or eliminate undue health risks. They save resources (soldiers and money) vital to their mission. They keep training areas in excellent condition for training far into the future. They preserve cultural artifacts for study by future generations, and they teach soldiers their basic moral duty to protect and preserve the United States and its allies.


Personnel at all levels--soldiers, NCOs, officers, and commanders--must protect our environment.


Soldiers' duties include--

  • Follow installation environmental policies, unit SOPs, Army regulations, and environmental laws and regulations.
  • Make sound decisions in everyday activities.
  • Advise the chain of command on techniques to ensure environmental regulations are followed.
  • Identify the environmental risks in individual and team tasks.
  • Support the Army recycling program.
  • Report HM and HW spills immediately.

Noncommissioned Officers

NCOs' duties include--

  • Always consider the environment in day-to-day decisions.
  • Make sure soldiers know the Army's environmental ethic.
  • Train soldiers to be good environmental stewards.
  • Be committed to environmental protection.
  • Identify environmental risks associated with tasks.
  • Plan and conduct environmentally sustainable actions and training.
  • Protect the environment during training and other activities.
  • Analyze the influence of the environment on the mission.
  • Integrate environmental considerations into unit activities.
  • Train peers and soldiers to identify the environmental effects of plans, actions, and missions.
  • Counsel soldiers on the importance of protecting the environment and the results of not complying with environmental laws.
  • Incorporate environmental considerations in AARs.
  • Support the Army recycling program.
  • Report HM and HW spills immediately.


Officers' duties include--

  • Build an environmental ethic in soldiers.
  • Train and counsel subordinate leaders on stewardship.
  • Lead by example.
  • Enforce compliance with laws and regulations.
  • Always consider the environment in making day-to-day decisions.
  • Make sure subordinates know the Army's environmental ethic.
  • Train subordinates to be good environmental stewards.
  • Commit subordinate leaders to protecting the environment.
  • Analyze the influence of the environment on the mission.
  • Integrate environmental considerations into unit activities, including identifying the environmental risks associated with unit tasks.

Unit Commander

Commanders must build an environmental ethic in their soldiers. Commanders set the tone for environmental compliance. They are totally responsible for complying with all applicable environmental laws in units. Commanders train their subordinates on stewardship and counsel them on doing what is right. They must lead by example, enforcing compliance with laws. Commanders should--

  • Consider the environment in making daily decisions.
  • Know about the NEPA, HM, HW, HAZCOM efforts, and spill contingencies.
  • Commit subordinates to environmental protection.
  • Make sure officers and NCOs know the environmental ethic and train them to be good environmental stewards.
  • Counsel officers and NCOs on the importance of protecting the environment and the results of violating laws.
  • Ensure officers and NCOs comply with requirements when reporting hazardous substance spills.
  • Ensure environmental concerns are addressed throughout the training.
  • Identify and assess the environmental consequences of proposed programs and activities.
  • Plan and conduct training that complies with environmental laws, including marking areas "off limits" during training exercises.
  • Discuss environmental concerns during briefings, meeting, and AARs.
  • Establish and sustain unit environmental awareness training.
  • Appoint an environmental compliance officer and an HW coordinator (the same person can serve in both positions). These appointments ensure environmental compliance occurs at the unit level.
  • Ensure the unit SOP covers environmental considerations, conservation, natural resources, and spill procedures.
  • Support the Army pollution prevention and recycling program.
  • Report HM and waste spills immediately.
  • Conduct environmental self-assessment or internal environmental compliance assessments.
  • Meet with key installation environmental POCs.

Appointed Personnel

Personnel appointed by the commander should receive formal training. Their responsibilities include--

  • Act as an advisor on environmental regulatory compliance during training, operations, and logistics functions.
  • Serve as the commander's eyes and ears for environmental matters.
  • Act as liaison between the unit and the higher headquarters which is responsible for managing environmental compliance programs and is able to provide information on the training requirements certifications that unit personnel need.


An effective training program allows personnel to carry out their responsibilities. TC 5-400 is the basic manual for environmental stewardship. Commanders ensure all personnel are trained on environmental issues. They appoint an environmental compliance officer/HW coordinator, who works with other environmental personnel. They also make sure environmental laws are followed. Commanders meet with battalion S3 and S4 officers and other environmental personnel. They identify requirements concerning environmental training and unit personnel qualifications, ECAS inspections that may affect the unit, and common environmental problem areas and how to avoid them. Commanders also make sure the SOP details environmental issues and the procedures the unit must follow. The training program should cover--

  • HM management.
  • HW management.
  • Pollution prevention and HAZMIN.
  • Recycling program.
  • Spill prevention/response plan.

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