More Than 25 Million Acres?
DoD As a Federal, Natural, and Cultural Resource Manager
How are the natural and cultural resource management responsibilities of the Department of Defense (DoD) changing? This report concludes that competition for federal lands in the West, regional habitat degradation in the East and on the Pacific Coast, and new scientific principles will make achievement of the core DoD resource management concerns of legal compliance and preservation of the military mission an increasingly complex issue. DoD will be required to interpret these goals in broad terms, to pay increased attention to the implications of trends in land use and land use policy outside the boundaries of the 25 million acres of DoD lands, and to develop new capabilities to cope with this complexity. Even the perspectives of the 104th Congress, with its emphasis on cost/benefit considerations and its potential willingness to consider justified exemptions, point to the need for DoD to bring additional analytic capabilities to the question of resource management. The report concludes that while issues of hazardous waste cleanup and management have dominated DoD environmental budgets, those issues are largely separable from the military mission and function under carefully scripted procedures. In contrast, resource management has a direct effect on the military mission and is likely to emerge as DoD's most fundamental environmental challenge.