Promoting military environmental responsibility

The military sector should, to the extent practical without affecting its ability to protect the country, comply with the environmental policies and laws established for the rest of society. By acting in an environmentally responsible manner, the military sector is able to exert significant influence on the rest of society to do likewise.
The military sector is uniquely positioned to influence environmental activities throughout the country. As the manager of vast quantities of land to support testing and training, the military sector can set the example for wise ecological practices and can, in some circumstances, be the catalyst for developing a regional land management program. As operator of industrial complexes on many installations and the consumer of vast quantities of products, the military sector can change the marketplace throughout the country and sometimes the world.

As an operator of industrial plants and the purchaser of enormous quantities of materials and equipment, the military sector is able to influence the marketplace. If the military sector insists on purchasing only environmentally preferred products, the manufacturers are motivated to adjust their product line if they want to sell products to the military sector. In some countries, governments attempt to stimulate the growth of industries that manufacture environmentally preferred products by mandating that government agencies purchase only these products. With its significant purchasing power, the military sector makes these focused procurement programs effective.

The military sector can, in most circumstances, comply with the requirement, common in many countries, to analyze the potential environmental effects of proposed and alternative actions before making a decision. The analysis can assist senior military officials in selecting the option that meets the military requirements, but with a minimum impact on the environment.

With careful planning, the military sector can meet mission requirements on the ranges without significantly affecting the natural and cultural resources. Training and testing activities can be planned to avoid intrusion into sensitive areas or can be timed to permit full recovery of the vegetation or to minimize affects on wildlife during mating or birthing seasons.

Environmental requirements that are imposed upon industrial processes for non-military goods, can generally be applied to the processes for military goods, without affecting military critical performance. For example, many of the environmentally sound maintenance practices adopted for commercial aircraft are equally acceptable for high performance military aircraft.

Type Classification:
F: Exceptional strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 15: Life on Land