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"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

Military Environmental Protection is the application and integration of all aspects of natural environmental considerations as they apply to the conduct of military operations. While many of the environmental terms internal to Military Environmental Protection are included in FM 101-5-1, you will not find the above definition in the field manual. This definition covers a range of issues that apply to the military. In most cases subordinate terms are exactly as articulated in the civilian community and allow us to speak a common language. However, because our focus is broader (and at the same time more focused) than the civilian community, it is essential that the military can relate special needs and considerations.

A key word is integration. The intent is to draw a parallel between civilian and military considerations of Environmental Protection. Thus, many considerations can fit into existing procedures already in use by the Army and Marine Corps.

Integration between civilian and military application of Environmental Protection is essential, and FM 20-400/MCRP 4-11B devotes a major portion of the manual to demonstrate how integration can be relatively seamless. There are new items to consider, but there are not any new processes. We are talking about a natural evolution of our existing processes, not a revolution. The concept must become second nature for each of us. Military Environmental Protection is not another system or separate process, but rather an integrated piece of an existing process. Linking good environmental actions to sound tactical doctrine and tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP) can and should be a standard procedure. Environmental considerations will, in many cases, reinforce or amplify sound tactical principles and issues of force protection that we already accept as doctrine or TTP for other reasons. It is tied directly to risk management. Risk management is a part of the protection template that consists of all means, methods, and procedures taken to conserve the fighting potential of a force. Environmental protection is an enabling element for you, the commander, and as such, an essential part of military operations.

One should not become confused with other uses of the term "environment." These include discussion of the weather or discussion of intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB) when we identify that the population of the region we are about to enter will provide a friendly or hostile "environment." These are some of the other valid uses of the term and important information, but they are not a part of Military Environmental Protection.

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