2000 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: Mon, 21 Aug 2000 12:06:26 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Air Force Range Audit
A recent Air Force audit, "Weapons Range Munitions Safety and Disposal,"
contains some interesting examples of how at least one of the armed
services is implementing policies to improve the management of active
weapons ranges. Published by the Air Force Audit Agency on June 26, 2000
(#00052013), this document is available on the Defense Environmental
Alert website, http://www.iwpextra.com.

The audit confirmed that it is standard practice at Air Force impact
ranges to conduct periodic surface clearance. It expressed concern,
however, that "Air Force range managers created potential safety hazards
by aggregating large quantities of residual expended munitions without
reinspecting for live rounds."

On the positive side, the audit highlighted a "best practice" from the
Barry M. Goldwater Range, in Arizona. Range managers there have
"implemented a system using Global Position System [GPS] and Geographic
Information System mapping technology to pinpoint expended munitions
locations. While still in the early stage of implementation, the system
appears to enhance range managers' ability to identify, track, and
recover expended munitions." The audit noted that range personnel were
already using handheld GPS devices to score pilot accuracy, so this
particular innovation appears to conserve resources by integrating range
management with the range's training mission.

However, at the Grand Bay Range, associated with Georgia's Moody Air
Force Base, the auditors noted that "range managers did not prepare all
targets for environmental quality by removing contaminants.
Specifically, 14 of 49 target vehicles still contained substances
harmful to the environment (e.g. oil, gas, and antifreeze)." During the
audit, managers removed contaminants from all but three of the targets,
but kept those three operational to be able to tow the other targets
when necessary.

It appears, therefore, that the Air Force is making some progress toward
the improved management of active ranges. Significantly, the audit
process appears to serve well as a tool to ensure that policies designed
to improved environmental management don't just sit on the shelf, but
make it into the field.

Lenny Siegel

Lenny Siegel
Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
c/o PSC, 222B View St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/968-1126

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