UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!




"The Army environmental vision is to be a national leader in environmental and natural resource responsibilities 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 the environmental impact on its installations and units throughout the United States and the world. Within CONUS, the Army owns 20 million acres of land (an area about half the size of Virginia). This shows the vastness of this task. Each area of our daily operation has some effect on the environment.

The Army is renewing its emphasis on taking care of the environment. Petroleum and water units by their nature have a huge impact on the environment. It is critical for the leaders and soldiers in these units to 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 just complies with laws, they want to be a leader in environmental protection. To do this, the Army has set goals and requirements for its leaders to follow.


  • Make sure operations comply with standards. Do not receive a notice of violation or a fine for not following local, state, and federal environmental regulations.
  • Clean up installations. Begin restoring all contaminated sites by 2000.
  • Prevent future pollution. Reduce all hazardous waste and toxic releases.
  • Integrate NEPA procedures into all operations.
  • Protect natural and cultural resources.


All Army actions require an appraisal be done on potential environmental impacts of said action. All key Army decision makers and planners are required to attend NEPA training.


A leader who cares for the environment also cares for his people. He does this by reducing or eliminating undue health risks. He saves resources (soldiers or money) vital to his mission. He keeps training areas in excellent condition for training far into the future. He preserves cultural artifacts for study by future generations. Also, he teaches the basic moral duty of soldiers to protect and preserve the United States of America and its allies.


Personnel at all levels must protect our environment. This includes soldiers, NCOs, officers, commanders, and appointed personnel.


These duties include--

  • Follow installation environmental policies, unit SOPs, ARs, 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.


These responsibilities 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 risk 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 your 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.


These duties include--

  • Build an environmental ethic in soldiers.
  • Train and counsel subordinate leaders on stewardship.
  • Seek advice on required personnel training from the local environmental coordinator.
  • 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 protect the environment.
  • Analyze the influence of the environment on the mission.
  • Integrate environmental considerations into unit activities, to include identifying the environmental risks associated with unit tasks.

Unit Commanders

The commander must build an environmental ethic in his soldiers. The commander sets the tone for environmental compliance. He is totally responsible for complying with all applicable environmental laws in the unit. Commanders train their subordinates on stewardship and counsel them on doing what is right. They must lead by example and enforce compliance with laws. Commanders should--

  • Seek advice on required personnel training from the local environmental coordinator.
  • 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 as "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 a HW coordinator (the same person can serve 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/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

These personnel are appointed by the commander and 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.
  • Be the liaison between the unit and higher headquarters who are responsible for managing the environmental compliance programs and who can provide information on 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. He appoints an environmental compliance officer/HW coordinator. This person works with other environmental personnel. He also makes sure environmental laws are followed. The commander meets with the battalion S3 and S4 officers and other environmental personnel. He finds what their requirements concerning environmental training and qualifications of unit personnel, ECAS inspections that may affect the unit, and common environmental problem areas and how to avoid them. The commander also makes sure the SOP details environmental issues and procedures the unit must follow. The training program should cover-

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

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list