DOD Announces Winners of the 2019 Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards

DOD Announces Winners of the 2019 Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards


The Department of Defense announces today the 2019 Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards winners. 

Since 1962, the Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards have honored the outstanding efforts of service members and civilians across the Department of Defense to conserve the nation's natural and cultural resources, protect human health, prevent or eliminate pollution at the source, clean up contaminated DOD sites, and incorporate environmental requirements into weapon system acquisition. The DOD components leverage technology to develop innovative solutions to existing and emerging human health and environmental challenges. 

"Strong environmental programs increase training access, improve mission readiness, and provide the capabilities required to prevail in conflict and preserve peace, all of which support DOD's lines of effort to accomplish National Defense Strategy objectives," said Ellen Lord, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment.

A diverse panel of 58 judges from federal and state agencies, academia and the private sector evaluated nominations from the DOD components to help determine winners.

In 2019, DOD selected the following nine winners from a total of 32 nominees:

Natural Resources Conservation, Large Installation: Eglin Air Force Base, Florida - relocated 1,030 gopher tortoises to avoid its listing under the Endangered Species Act and potential mission encumbrances. Eglin also conducted 160 prescribed burns across more than 145,000 acres on base, removing 290,000 tons of hazardous fuel biomass, and reducing wildfires caused by mission activities on test areas by 20%.

Environmental Quality, Industrial Installation: Wisconsin Army National Guard - updated nine fueling systems as part of an effort to replace and update underground storage tanks at the end of their life cycle. This work helps intercept potential fuel spills and save tens of thousands of dollars in potential cleanup costs.

Environmental Quality, Overseas Installation: Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler, Okinawa, Japan - initiated a hazardous waste risk reduction audit, effectively reducing liability by ensuring accuracy and complete life cycle tracking of hazardous waste containers. Camp Butler also performed radon testing in 200 buildings, completed radon mitigation diagnostics in five buildings, and mitigated radon in 10 buildings. 

Sustainability, Non-Industrial Installation: Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California - constructed an installation-wide microgrid that provides 100% renewable energy and offers energy distribution capable of supporting over 100 mission-critical facilities for three weeks if disconnected from the grid.

Sustainability, Individual/Team: East Campus Reclaimed Water Team, National Security Agency, Fort Meade, Maryland - led an unprecedented military construction program that developed a financially and environmentally beneficial water-cooling supply system for high performing computers. This water-cooling system uses reclaimed water, reducing costs by 80 percent when compared to a conventional potable water-cooling method. 

Environmental Restoration, Installation: Naval Base Ventura County, California - used adaptive management techniques to achieve final cleanup of a methyl tertiary butyl ether groundwater plume 22 years ahead of schedule, resulting in $5.5 million in cost savings.

Cultural Resources Management, Small Installation: Washington Army National Guard - implemented maintenance and treatment plans for historic sites to improve management and streamline State Historic Preservation Officer consultation time. 

Cultural Resources Management, Individual/Team: Ms. Rita McCarty, Mississippi Army National Guard - saved resources by establishing curation facilities on the installation. This allowed full public access to all holdings and eliminated the annual $5,000 university curation facility fee. 

Environmental Excellence in Weapon System Acquisition, Small Program: Tagnite Technical Working Group, U.S. Army Research Laboratory, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland - developed and demonstrated a magnesium weapon system component manufacturing capability using both Tagnite anodizing immersion and brush application. This method reduces exposure to hexavalent chromium, a human carcinogen, and provides a more durable and corrosion resistant surface compared to traditional finishes. Switching to Tagnite anodizing is projected to save the Apache H-64 Helicopter program nearly $1.2 million per year through fiscal 2024. 

For more information on the 2019 winners, visit: Additional information, including past winners, for the Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards Program is online at:



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