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Preparation to conduct operations, in any environment, can incorporate the necessary environmental awareness with minimal additional planning. Many aspects of environmental protection discussed below will appear to be common sense and will most likely be a part of the SBCT's standing operational activity. This appendix will be provides a guide by which to attain a balance between mission accomplishment and protecting environmentally sensitive areas.


Advanced preparation is key to successful mission completion, and the same holds true for environmental awareness and protection. The SBCT commander should be aware of the publications governing environmental protection. All SBCT staffs (company and above) should designate an environmental compliance officer/NCO to serve as the unit's point of contact (POC). This person will be responsible for environmental education, SOP updates, preparation of environmental risk assessments, and incident reporting. AR 200-1 and AR 200-2 explain the Army's environmental programs. In both regulations, Appendix A references the additional documents that should be reviewed. FM 20-400/TC 20-401 provides a comprehensive listing of all items of interest in the preparation for operating near and avoiding environmentally sensitive areas. Commanders should refer to FM 3-100-4 for guidelines and procedures for applying risk management to identify actions that may harm the environment and steps that can be taken to minimize or prevent damage.


FM 20-400/TC 20-401 FM 3-100.4 gives specific guidance on environmental protection matters and the SBCT commander should ensure compliance with that guidance. This appendix is intended to supplement, not replace, FM 20-400/TC 20-401. FM 3-100.4.


Protecting the environment is always difficult and protecting the environment while conducting operations against a hostile force is not always possible. The SBCT must deploy and operate with minimal environmental damage. Commanders must initiate environmental control measures and establish appropriate protection levels without detracting from mission accomplishment. Environmental concerns pertaining to a mission should be incorporated into the mission briefing based on the factors of METT-TC (Table D-1). Some of the factors affecting the briefing include mission, geographical location, and time of the year.

Table D-1.  Environmental risks based on factors of METT-TC.

Table D-1. Environmental risks based on factors of METT-TC.


The environmental risk assessment considerations contained in this appendix address the potential impact of the SBCT's mission on the environment. The SBCT commander adds other considerations to address local conditions or different mission activities. Using a scale of "0" (no probability of environmental damage) to "5" (extremely high probability of environmental damage), he rates the specific activities the SBCT will perform during an operation. The commander performs this evaluation for each of seven environmental areas. Using sound judgment, the commander considers the conditions under which the SBCT will operate. He then applies this value to the risk assessment matrix. Figure D-1 is an example of a risk assessment matrix and is formatted to allow local reproduction, as required. Refer to Figure D-2, for an example of a completed matrix for the environmental area of air pollution. The values assigned are not absolute; different commanders will assign different ratings for the same activity—it is a judgment call based on the commander's assessment.

Figure D-1.  Risk assessment matrix.

Figure D-1.  Risk assessment matrix.


Knowledge of environmental factors is key to planning and decision-making. With this knowledge, the SBCT commander can quantify risks, detect problem areas, reduce risk of injury or death, reduce property damage, and ensure compliance with environmental regulations. He should complete environmental risk assessments before conducting operations or logistical activities. The environmental risk assessment matrix provides a deliberate approach to assessing the risk posed by SBCT mission activities on specific environmental areas. (Figure D-2, shows an example of a risk assessment for air pollution.) The matrix has four components:

  • Environmental area.
  • SBCT mission activities.
  • Risk impact.
  • Risk rating.


The risk assessment matrix assesses risk in seven environmental areas. The SBCT commander and staff should develop one matrix for each. These areas are:

  • Air pollution.
  • Archeological, cultural, and historical resources.
  • Hazardous materials and hazardous waste.
  • Noise pollution.
  • Threatened and endangered species.
  • Water pollution.
  • Soil, vegetation, and wetland protection.


The risk assessment matrix used in this manual considers five SBCT activities. These activities are generic, and the SBCT may modify them to meet its mission requirements and local conditions. These missions are:

  • Movement of heavy vehicles and systems.
  • Movement of personnel and light vehicles and systems.
  • Activities of the assembly area.
  • Field maintenance of equipment.
  • Maintenance in locally constructed maintenance facilities with hardstand.

Examples of other activities the SBCT might add are:

  • Direct and indirect weapons firing.
  • Unexploded ordnance (UXO) operations.
  • Aviation support and operations.
  • Medical support and operations.
  • Mines and demolition.
  • Obscurant operations.
  • Waterborne or amphibious operations.
  • Limited visibility operations.
  • NBC operations.


The risk impact value estimates the probability that the SBCT's mission will have a negative impact on a particular environmental area. It is a judgment for which the numeric value (0-5) most closely reflects the conditions under which the SBCT is operating. The value is not an absolute, and different commanders might assign different values for the same mission. The risk impact value is a judgment call based on the assessment of the potential for environmental damage. The criteria shown in Figures D-5 through D-11, help commanders evaluate the probability of occurrence. In filling out the matrix, the commander or staff officer circles the value selected for each operation (Figure D-2).

Figure D-2.  Completed environmental risk assessment matrix.

Figure D-2.  Completed environmental risk assessment matrix.


The SBCT commander rates the risk for each environmental area (each matrix) by adding the circled risk impact values (Figure D-3). A blank copy of the overall risk assessment graph is provided for photocopying (Figure D-12). The SBCT commander develops a risk assessment of the entire mission by adding the risk ratings for the individual matrixes on one form. The overall environmental risk falls into one of four categories: low, medium, high, or extremely high (Figure D-4). Activities with an extremely high probability of environmental damage require ARFOR/division approval.

Figure D-3.  Overall risk assessment.

Figure D-3.  Overall risk assessment.

Figure D-4.  Overall environmental risk.

Figure D-4.  Overall environmental risk.


The commander addresses each environmental area to reduce risks associated with the mission. While he considers all risk values above "0," he obviously spends more time on risk values of "5" than he does on those valued at "1." If the overall risk is low or medium, the commander will still review any specific areas rated high or extremely high. He should use his judgment in altering the mission to reduce the risk in this specific area. Many environmental risk reduction measures are simply extensions of good management and leadership practices. Commanders can effectively manage environmental risks using the following six-steps.

a.   Step 1. Identify hazards to the environment during mission analysis. Consider all activities that may pollute air, soil, and water. Also consider activities that may degrade natural or cultural resources.

b.   Step 2. Assess the probability of environmental damage or violations with environmental risk assessment matrixes.

c.   Step 3. Make decisions and develop measures to reduce high risks. Risk reduction measures can include—

  • Rehearsals.
  • Changing locations or times of operations.
  • Increasing supervision.

d.   Step 4. Brief chain of command, staff, and appropriate decision-makers on proposed plans and residual risk.

e.   Step 5. Integrate environmental measures into plans, orders, SOPs, and rehearsals. Inform subordinates, down to individual soldier level, of risk reduction measures.

f.   Step 6. Supervise and enforce environmental standards. Hold those in charge accountable for environmental risk reduction.


Even with all practicable risk reduction measures in place, some risk will remain. This residual risk requires leader attention. Unit commanders inform the chain of command and appropriate decision-makers of residual risk and its implications for the mission. They also inform subordinates and focus command and control efforts onto those portions of the mission.


Unit commanders use environmental risk assessment to estimate the potential impact of a mission on the environment. The environmental risk assessment will allow leaders and staffs to identify potential environmental problems before they occur. The process also allows the commander to identify and manage residual risk.

Figure D-5.  Air pollution risk impact value.

Figure D-5.  Air pollution risk impact value.

Figure D-6.  Archeological, cultural, and historic resources risk impact value.

Figure D-6.  Archeological, cultural, and historic resources risk impact value.

Figure D-7.  Hazardous materials and hazardous waste risk impact value.

Figure D-7.  Hazardous materials and hazardous waste risk impact value.

Figure D-8.  Noise pollution risk impact value.

Figure D-8.  Noise pollution risk impact value.

Figure D-9.  Threatened and endangered species risk impact value.

Figure D-9.  Threatened and endangered species risk impact value.

Figure D-10.  Water pollution risk impact value.

Figure D-10.  Water pollution risk impact value.

Figure D-11.  Wetland protection risk impact value.

Figure D-11.  Wetland protection risk impact value.

Figure D-12.  Overall risk assessment matrix.

Figure D-12.  Overall risk assessment matrix.

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