Two Shades of Green

Environmental Protection and Combat Training

by David Rubenson, Jerry Aroesty, Charles Thompsen


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This report discusses the implications of environmental restrictions on combat training. Of the two types of environmental challenges the Army faces-rule-based legislation, generally associated with EPA-implemented regulation, and planning or procedural law related to conservation, preservation, and land management practice-the latter has greater potential to influence the military mission and is harder for the Army to deal with. This is clear for Fort Bragg, where the Army initially failed to grasp the elements of a suitable response to enforcing the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FSW) over the Red Cockaded Woodpeckers (RCW), a federally listed endangered species. As a result, Fort Bragg was forced to implement a plan that may degrade its military mission over time, something it might have avoided if it had early on offered a plan that protected RCWs while seeking to minimize restrictions on training. Although installations vary, the study argues that the lessons of Fort Bragg can be generalized to form the foundation for a broad proactive Army strategy.

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