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NEWS | May 23, 2024

U.S. Army Reserve Wins Secretary of the Army Environmental Awards

By Ashley Bradford Office of the Chief, Army Reserve

Congratulations to the U.S. Army Reserve's 81st Readiness Division (RD) and 88th RD - winners of the 2024 Secretary of the Army Environmental Awards Program. The awards program celebrates exceptional achievements in environmental management strategies that increase environmental quality, enhance the mission, and keep the Army sustainable. The 81st RD was recognized in the Environmental Quality, Non-Industrial Installation category and the 88th RD in the Environmental Quality, Individual/Team category.

Headquartered at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, the 81st RD manages over 250 Army Reserve facilities and approximately 1,500 acres of land. Factors such as geographic dispersion, number of facilities, number of tenants, and dispersal of control often complicates environmental compliance and conservation efforts. Additionally, the amount of detail required to understand the impact of every regulation on each facility across the 81st RD’s footprint is tremendous. To solve this challenge, the 81st RD developed a predictive data analytics system consisting of data scorecards and dashboards to evaluate environmental compliance. The system provides a central location for staff that are not co-located to document information about the facilities under the 81st RD operation; helps mitigate both compliance risk and historical organizational knowledge loss; standardizes, quantifies, analyzes, and displays raw data for easier analysis and actioning; and delivers a comprehensive examination of data to proactively address potential issues before they become urgent and costly from both economic and environmental costs. The system has been a success by giving the 81st RD and facility personnel more insight into contract requirements and data gaps and provides leadership with the necessary requirements to implement improvements in 81st RD environmental programs.

Headquartered at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, the 88th RD supports over 525 units consisting of over 51,000 Army Reserve Soldiers and Families who are regionally dispersed at 277 sites comprised of 18.5 million acres within a 19-state area of responsibility (AOR). With a mission that includes enhancing readiness, mobilization, and deployment of Army Reserve forces, the 88th RD stores, repairs and services all vehicles, weaponry and other military equipment assigned to units stationed within the 88th RD AOR. Repairs and maintenance of such a wide variety of equipment requires the authorized purchase and compliant management of a vast amount of hazardous materials (HM) for equipment maintenance and facility cleaning. To enhance the protection of employee health and safety, the 88th RD established a database of all HM to provide cost and time savings, easier Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act reporting, chemical searches for product substitutions, and review of items stored together for enhanced safety. The technology is transferable to other Reserve components including State Guards, the Coast Guard, and any enterprise with responsibility for managing HM over a large region with numerous facilities.

These projects are two examples of the many environmental successes that can be found throughout the Army Reserve. The Army Reserve Environmental Program ensures continued access to training lands and facilities, minimizes adverse human impacts, and utilizes innovative solutions through an integrated operational approach to the execution of conservation, planning, compliance, and restoration missions. The program champions proactive environmental stewardship to help shape a sustainable tomorrow. Congratulations to the 81st and 88th RDs!