Find a Security Clearance Job!


Chapter 3

Training: Integrating Environmental Considerations

"Environmental protection must be treated as you would any other mission. Make environmental considerations integral to all operations and decisions. Commit sound stewardship of Army lands and protect the environment."

General William Hartzog

The integration of environmental considerations into training is very similar to the integration of safety and force protection issues. Training is the key to accomplishing the mission. Environmental considerations should meld into the planning and implementation of the training process. The discussion of battle-focused training highlights the integration of environmental considerations throughout the training cycle, as specified in FM 25-101. While this process is Army-specific, it is similar to the process employed by the Marine Corps.

In addition to general environmental awareness training, specialized training is required based on certain duties and responsibilities. Some of this specialized environmental training and much of the awareness training can be addressed through integrated instruction or supplemental material as part of the ongoing unit training programs.



3-1. Battle-focused training is addressed in FM 25-101. Training is the cornerstone of readiness and the basis for credible deterrence and capable defense. It is essential to "train as you fight", but in the case of environmental considerations, it is also true that the closer the military is to fighting, the less preeminent environmental considerations are likely to be. This shift in emphasis does not imply that environmental considerations go away! In fact, they are applicable in every situation-it's their level of immediate importance that varies. Despite the fact that the military trains for combat, most of the missions performed as a unit will not occur during combat. Units must plan for environmental considerations prior to conducting training. A good leader will not take his soldiers or Marines into a training situation without providing them the essential preparation for success. Soldier/Marine welfare is based on the training and application of sound environmental considerations, so it is well worth the effort and attention. Just as failure to apply considerations of supply accountability or other legal matters, failure to pay attention to environmental considerations can hinder mission success and increase personal liability.

3-2. This section focuses on how environmental considerations fit into the planning cycle as discussed in FM 25-101. The discussion of a particular environmental program assessment is covered in Chapter 6. The planning cycle helps identify where specific actions take place. Figure 3-1 below highlights the parallel environmental protection actions that unit leaders must integrate into the planning, execution, and evaluation portions of a unit training cycle.

Figure 3-1. Integrating environmental considerations into unit planning/training


3-3. The planning process begins with assessment. In-depth assessment determines a strategy to improve training proficiency on specific weaknesses and plan sustainment training on demonstrated strengths. Assessment links the evaluation of completed training to the planning of upcoming training. Commanders must assess the unit's internal and overall status of environmental training program and unit proficiency. Before effective planning can occur, it is essential to perform an assessment of the current status of a unit.


3-4. At the battalion level, long-range planning starts with unit assessment and is the basis for the long-range calendar. Resources, such as major training areas, ammunition, and fuel, are allocated, and shortfalls are identified. The long-range plan synchronizes supporting units and agencies so that effective training events can be properly executed. This generally translates into annual training guidance.

3-5. Leaders use risk management, review SOPs, and ensure that personnel receive the correct tools to avoid/prevent/mitigate environmental damage. They address environmental considerations and develop methods to overcome them so that effective training can be accomplished. Items that have an environmental focus during this phase include the following:

  • Conducting reconnaissance of the training site (as appropriate).
  • Assessing the environmental risk.
  • Coordinating with installation environmental staffs.
  • Reviewing plans and SOPs.
  • Obtaining clearance and land use permits.
  • Conducting environmental skills training.
  • Requesting special equipment or support.
  • Coordinating with preventive medicine personnel.

3-6. Short-range planning refines the long-range calendar. It defines in greater detail the broad guidance on training events and other activities in long-range planning calendar and command training guidance. This generally translates into quarterly training guidance.

3-7. During short-range planning leaders review existing procedures, issue specific environmental guidance, update risk assessment matrices and unit SOPs, and train their soldiers/Marines on new environmental protection procedures. They determine specific methods to incorporate environmental considerations into the training mission to protect the environment without lowering standards or readiness. Activities that have an environmental focus during this phase include:

  • Briefing the commander and staff.
  • Conducting reconnaissance of the training site.
  • Obtaining maps or overlays indicating environmentally sensitive areas.
  • Coordinating with the environmental management office to identify recent changes in environmental conditions.
  • Planning for HM/HW storage and transport.
  • Reviewing spill prevention measures.
  • Modifying plans as necessary.

3-8. Near-term planning defines specific actions required to execute the short-range-plan. It is the final phase of planning before the execution of training. Near-term planning covers a six- to eight-week period before the execution of training for active component (AC) units and a four-month period before execution of training for reserve component (RC) units.

3-9. Key leaders inspect equipment and ensure that soldiers/Marines perform maintenance and preventive maintenance checks and services (PMCS) before the field exercise. Leaders brief their soldiers/Marines on the environmental and safety considerations of the exercise. The checklists in Appendix E help leaders plan and conduct mission activities that minimize adverse impacts on the environment. During this phase, leaders exercise an environmental focus through:

  • Briefing unit personnel on environmental constraints and issues.
  • Conducting rehearsals that include environmental considerations.
  • Conducting final reconnaissance of training sites to confirm environmental conditions prior to the execution of training.
  • Checking equipment.
  • Ensuring unit SOPs are up-to-date and meet the requirements for the specific training sites where the training will be performed.
  • Checking spill response equipment.
  • Modifying plans as necessary.
Preexecution Checks

3-10. Preexecution checks are developed, and responsibility for them is fixed during the short-range planning phase. These checks become increasingly detailed during the near-term phase. Preexecution checks provide the attention to detail needed to use resources efficiently. The three major environmental considerations are:

  • Has a risk assessment (environmental) been completed and safety considerations incorporated?
  • Has reconnaissance of the training ranges, sites, or facilities been conducted?
  • Have leaders been briefed on environmental considerations?

3-11. Formal planning for training culminates with the publication of the training schedule. Informal planning and coordination (preexecution checks) continue until the training is performed. During rehearsals, leaders ensure all safety and environmental considerations are met.

3-12. To conduct effective, meaningful training for soldiers, leaders, and units, thorough preparation is essential. Well prepared trainers, soldiers, and support personnel are ready to participate, and their facilities, equipment, and materials are ready to use.


3-13. A unit executes training the same way it executes a combat mission. The chain of command is present, in charge, and responsible. During operations, leaders ensure environmental practices and preventive measures are being employed. Once soldiers/Marines understand what is expected of them, these practices become merely another measure of unit proficiency and the level of unit discipline.

Precombat Checks

3-14. Preexecution and precombat checks are key to ensuring that trainers and soldiers/Marines are adequately prepared to execute training to Army/Marine Corps standards. Precombat checks are the bridge between preexecution checks and execution of training. Leaders ensure the execute of precombat checks by:

  • Briefing environmental considerations in the OPORD. Leaders and soldiers/Marines know what is expected of them.
  • Including environmental considerations in the safety checks and briefings.
  • Verifying completion of precombat (before operations) PMCS completed on vehicles, weapons, communications, and nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) equipment to include environmental considerations.
  • Checking and confirming vehicle load plans, and securing cargo (especially HM).
Presentation of Training

3-15. Through the presentation of training, leaders provide soldiers/Marines with the specific training objectives (tasks, conditions, standards), and the evaluation methods to be used. Environmental constraints may alter the conditions under which the task is performed, but should never alter the task standards. Leaders ensure an environmental focus during this phase by:

  • Conducting environmental awareness training.
  • Supervising high risk operations.
  • Conducting periodic environmental assessments.
  • Correcting problems on the spot.
  • Avoiding off-limits areas.
  • Preventing spills.
  • Reporting damage accurately and in a timely manner.
  • Removing HM/HW in a timely and appropriate manner.

3-16. The evaluation process is continuous and integral to training management. Leaders at every level conduct training evaluation. Discussing both the environmentally correct and incorrect actions enhances environmental stewardship in unit personnel and helps soldiers/Marines learn from each other. The AAR process includes environmental performance and should address all environmental considerations listed in the training evaluation plan as well as any others discovered during the course of the training. The evaluation and AAR should cover the following:

  • Ensuring environmental accountability.
  • Ensuring HM/HW accountability.
  • Including environmental issues in AARs.
  • Developing environmental lessons learned.

3-17. Leaders use evaluations and other feedback measures to assess soldier/Marine, leader, and unit proficiency. Commanders use the analysis of the information provided through evaluations for their assessment. Based on evaluations, commanders adjust priorities and resources as necessary to synchronize all unit functions. Leaders can also use portions of the self-assessment guide in Appendix H to assist in their unit assessment.



3-18. All personnel require environmental awareness training. Such training provides basic information on installation and unit environmental practices. This training leads to safer performance and establishes an environmental ethic among soldiers/Marines. Awareness training occurs as early as possible following assignment to a unit, and ECOs reinforce environmental awareness training annually.

3-19. In addition to general environmental awareness training, individuals with certain duties and responsibilities require specialized training. As part of the unit's ongoing technical skills training, units provide some specialized environmental training through integrated instruction or supplemental material.

3-20. Unit leaders address HM/HW training separately from routine environmental training requirements. Federal law may require 40 hours of HW handler training for soldiers and Marines who handle specific HW. Units schedule this training as soon as possible following the assignment of personnel to positions dealing with HM. Those who handle HM/HW may also require eight-hour refresher courses annually. Additionally, federal law, in the RCRA, mandates HW training for personnel who handle, manage, or transport HW. The DOD directs that HM training be completed according to Department of Transportation (DOT) standards/guidance. ECOs should check with the installation's environmental office to determine training requirements and availability.



3-21. It is essential to include environmental considerations early and throughout the training cycle. The integration of environmental considerations is an easy fit that causes no functional change in battle-focused training. Like safety, it is another important consideration to apply during training planning and execution. Many of us have already been performing in a manner that takes some environmental considerations into account. Use that as a foundation on which to build as we accept the responsibility to integrate environmental considerations into everything we do. Review Chapter 2 for a more in-depth discussion of risk management as it applies to environmental considerations.

3-22. Unit commanders are required to implement environmental-specific training to include environmental awareness, spill prevention and response, HM/HW transportation, storage and turn-in procedures/accountability/ management. Commanders must address these requirements in accordance with their installation environmental management office.

3-23. Read Chapter 6 for a discussion of how to both establish and assess a unit environmental program. The unit self-assessment in Appendix H provides a generic checklist for units to assess compliance with environmental laws and regulations in their daily operations and activities. Unit leaders should supplement the checklist with applicable state, local, or HN environmental requirements. Although this checklist serves as a primary tool for unit environmental self-assessments, the self-assessment is only a guide and does not provide a final determination of compliance and should be supplemented based on local requirements. Environmental compliance assessment system (ECAS) or environmental compliance evaluation (ECE) checklists provide more comprehensive assessments.

3-24. The Army and Marine Corps train as they fight. Incorporating the environmental considerations into training should not change the standard procedures or considerations that a unit and its leaders apply to an operation. Chapter 4 shows how including environmental considerations in training occurs in a nearly seamless fashion.


Join the mailing list