2016 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: Sat, 8 Oct 2016 11:57:42 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] DISPOSAL, GLOBAL: GAO Burn Pits report
DOD Has Generally Addressed Legislative Requirements on the Use of Burn Pits but Needs to Fully Assess Health Effects

Government Accountability Office
September 26, 2016

In assessing the Department of Defense's (DOD) March 2016 report to Congress on the use of burn pits, GAO found that it generally addressed the requirements in section 313 of the Carl Levin and Howard P. “Buck” McKeon National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015. To complete this report, DOD tasked the military services, the Joint Staff, and the overseas combatant commands to provide information on the requirements in the mandate, including policies and procedures related to the disposal of covered waste (including certain types of hazardous waste, medical waste, and items such as tires, treated wood, and batteries) in burn pits during contingency operations. GAO found that DOD's report fully addressed four of the seven reporting requirements and partially addressed the remaining three. For example, the report addressed who is responsible for ensuring compliance with the legislative requirements, but partially addressed whether the waste categories are appropriately and clearly distinguished in surveys and assessments.

Although DOD established guidance to meet applicable legislative requirements through the issuance of DOD Instruction 4715.19, U.S. Central Command is the only overseas geographic combatant command that has established complementary policies and procedures for implementing this guidance. The instruction applies to all the combatant commands, but it does not specify how combatant commanders will ensure compliance with requirements in the instruction. Officials from the other geographic combatant commands stated that their commands have not developed similar policies and procedures because they do not utilize burn pits and there is an absence of current contingency operations in their respective areas of responsibility. Nonetheless, while most of the overseas geographic commands may not currently be involved in contingency operations within their areas of responsibility, waste disposal would likely be required if such operations arise in the future, and the use of burn pits would be one option for disposing of waste. Establishing policies and procedures would better position these commands to implement DOD's instruction.


For the entire "Highlights" and a link to the full report, see


Lenny Siegel
Executive Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
a project of the Pacific Studies Center
278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice/Fax: 650/961-8918 

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