2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 14 May 2003 17:16:00 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Legis. Proposal Provokes Debate Over Env. Impact of US Mil. Exercis
Legislative Proposal Provokes Debate Over Environmental Impact of US
Military Exercises
Rosanne Skirble
13 May 2003, 20:05 UTC

Legislators in the Armed Services Committees of both houses of Congress
are debating a proposal that would exempt U.S. military bases from
environmental laws that Pentagon officials say hamper military training
and testing. But opponents argue that the initiative is unnecessary and
would compromise U.S. environmental safeguards.

The U.S. Department of Defense manages 450 military installations across
the United States. Taken together, this vast area some 10.1 million
hectares also provides sanctuary to hundreds of endangered or threatened

The Department of Defense promotes conservation on its property, but
Pentagon officials say complying with strict environmental regulations
and mounting legal challenges have made it harder to train troops.

Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Environment, John P.
Woodley says the Pentagon wants combat-ready soldiers trained under
realistic conditions.

"The Vice Chiefs of Staff from all the [armed] services have testified
to Congress that some aspects of environmental regulation have a
potential, if current trends continue, to degrade our ability to conduct
readiness activities on military lands," he said.

The Pentagon has proposed the "Readiness and Range Initiative" as part
of the legislative package it submitted recently to Congress.

What the Pentagon defines as "readiness," according to Bonner Cohen, a
senior analyst and fellow with the Lexington Institute, is the ability
to "prepare troops for the deadly business of combat."

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