2005 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: 11 Apr 2005 19:22:47 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Recycling Bosnian base materials
[This reminds me of the old backpackers' motto, "Take only pictures.
Leave only footprints." Unfortunately, this is not the normal approach
taken when U.S. military bases are excessed, either in the U.S. or
abroad. - LS]


By Marcia Klein, Defense Logistics Agency 
Environmental Update (U.S. Army Environmental Center)
Spring 2005

Soldiers aren't the only American military assets pulling out of the
Balkans. The installation facilities are literally being ?pulled out? of
the ground and sent to Iraq to be used in the global war on terror. 

As the troops depart, Army bases in Bosnia, such as Camp Comanche, are
left empty. After the Army declares these bases excess, contractors move
in to dismantle the structures on the bases.

This is the time for harvesting materials that can be reused either in
the Balkans, the European theater or elsewhere. Representatives of the
contractor, Kellogg, Brown and Root Services, work with staff from the
Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service (DRMS) to effectively reuse
as much material as possible. DRMS, part of the Defense Logistics Agency
(DLA), provides military installations with reuse, recycling and
disposal services. In fiscal 2004, DRMS found new uses for more than
$1.7 billion of military property.

Host nation agreements in the Balkans require the U.S. military to
return the land to original condition. This means removing all
infrastructure and clearing the area. Anything that can be reused or
recycled is harvested. The rest is sold as scrap or is disposed of as waste.

Workers at Boyington Field, near Tuzla, Bosnia, have been harvesting
materials for several years. The harvested materials are in good
condition and can be shipped to other locations, replacing or
supplanting orders for new materials.

The materials are issued free, and many times the shipping costs are
lower, since the materials don't have to be shipped from the United
States and are already in the theater or much closer to where they're
needed. The cost avoidance figure for Boyington Field materials is
approaching $5 million, according to Evan Skidmore, Kellogg, Brown and
Root excess property manager at the airfield.

?The harvesting program is just another way DLA is supporting the
warfighter with innovative ways to reduce the cost of war without
sacrificing the quality of materials used to conduct the war,? said
David Porter, the DLA area manager for the Balkans Region.

In September, Skidmore told Porter about a large quantity of concertina
wire that could be harvested. Porter contacted Calvin Bright, a DLA
materials manager working at Camp Victory South, Iraq.

Bright found customers in Iraq who had already requisitioned new
concertina wire from the United States, but were glad to accept the used
wire for minimal shipping costs. Bright knew how desperately the wire
was needed to protect the lives of American, coalition and Iraqi fighters.

?If it wasn't for this cooperation between David, Evan and me, this
transfer of equipment would not have been possible and the units here in
Iraq might still be trying to requisition this material,? Bright said.
?Plus, this will provide a savings of just under a half million dollars,
and that's a better use of taxpayer dollars.?

In October and November, 10 containers of concertina wire, about 3,200
rolls, were shipped to Iraq. In December, another 10 containers with
2,600 rolls of wire and 5,400 metal posts were also shipped to Iraq.

The total cost avoidance for the wire and posts is estimated at
$412,362, almost 10 percent of all savings to date.

To Porter, it's all about being a team player.

?Working with the Soldiers here in the field gives me a new sense of
personal involvement and patriotism. I cannot go after the terrorists
myself, but I can help make those who pursue the terrorists more
effective and their lives safer, through DLA's products and
initiatives,? he said.

For the original article, see


Lenny Siegel
Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
c/o PSC, 278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918
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