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  1. 1. Course 060 NATURAL INFRASTRUCTURE MANAGEMENT INTEGRATION WITH AN INSTALLATION’S ESOH-MS, THE GENERAL PLAN, AND OTHER ASSET MANAGEMENT TOOLS MAJOR MONTE HARNER MR. STEVEN G. JOHNS HEADQUARTERS AIR FORCE LOGISTICS, INSTALLATIONS, AND MISSION SUPPORT ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY NATURAL INFRASTRUCTURE INTRODUCTION Increasing awareness of Natural Infrastructure (NI) issues will be critical to the success of the Air Force in the present and the future. Constraints that limit the availability of the NI resources can severely limit the mission at an installation. To aid in the management of an installation’s NI, Natural Infrastructure Assessments (NIAs) will be completed to provide a complete picture of opportunities and/or deficiencies. This assessment is driven by the Air Force’s Natural Infrastructure Management (NIM) initiative. The NIM concept seeks to operationalize the environmental program by linking NI resources with the mission requirements they enable while meeting legal obligations. This process will also be implemented into existing systems, such as the installations EMS, General Plan, and other asset management tools. Natural Infrastructure: In order to be mission ready at an installation and/or a range, the Air Force needs an adequate supply of air & space, land, and water (Natural Infrastructure) to test, train, and perform its varied missions. While the Air Force seeks to maintain adequate supplies of these resources, Natural Infrastructure is, in some locations, degraded or denied due to environmental, encroachment, or other pressures. The degradation or denial of air & space, land, and water resources due to the cumulative impact of these constraints can result in diminished operations. These are the situations where significant workarounds, inefficiencies, and additional costs of doing business begin to emerge. Three NI resources are inventoried and assessed for each installation (Figure 1): • Air & Space • Land • Water Figure 1 – Natural Infrastructure Resources Natural Infrastructure Resources Air & Land Water Space
  2. 2. Course 060 Natural Infrastructure is often referred to as the three-dimensional “cube” of resources that the military needs in order to conduct test, training, and operational activities. This “cube” is clearly depicted in Figure 2. The resources, and corresponding assets, required to support mission needs is dependent on the size and complexity of mission activities. The required resource base can be viewed in conjunction with a single installation (including the installation’s “region of influence”) or viewed more broadly as a large regional area in the case of a military operations complex supporting Joint Service test and training activities. Figure 2. A visual representation of the Natural Infrastructure The goal of each NI assessment is to serve as a platform for the installation commander to effectively manage Natural Infrastructure through the identification of deficiencies and opportunities, correlated with the assessment of impacted operations; and to provide optimal operational sustainability to each installation in the future. This baseline includes information on resource opportunities and resource deficiencies for each operational component. Baseline information is derived by using a set of quantitative measures that provide a comparison of needed or required resources (based on current mission requirements) to available resources. Some measures compare allotted resources (e.g., what is owned) to available resources. The resulting baseline quantifies availabilities and constraints on air & space, land and water resources resulting from regional and environmental encroachment pressures (e.g., urban growth, civil aviation), as well as potential mission growth opportunities (e.g., additional airspace resources to support potential future missions). The five step process shown in Figure 3 includes steps 1-3 completed during the inventory and steps 4 and 5 which comprise the assessment.
  3. 3. Course 060 Figure 3 – NIA Methodology The existing Air Force environmental program includes policies, programs, and processes that embrace many of the elements and concepts of the NIA, described above. Integration of the components of the NIA into the existing EMS becomes critical for successful implementation. Refinements in the current program
  4. 4. Course 060 are necessary to transition it from the compliance-driven program that exists today to one that is focused on proactively managing environmental risks through sustainment, restoration, and modernization of the resource base to ensure operational capability. Implementing these concepts will necessitate formal linkages and a more active management of many existing environmental, maintenance, and operational programs. The NIA is part of the Checking and Corrective Action Element within a Management System construct as shown in the figure below. Just as an ESOHCAMP is used to “Check” the health of the Environmental Compliance Program, the Natural Infrastructure Assessment “Checks” the health of the NI’s ability to support the mission. Senior leadership should be briefed on the initial NIA results and provide direction and priority for improvements. After the NIA results are presented to senior leadership, integration of the two programs should commence. NATURAL INFRASTRUCTURE MANAGEMENT Natural Infrastructure Management (NIM) is Asset Management applied to the environment It is a management philosophy that transforms the current regulation-centered, compliance-based process into one that is performance-based and mission-focused. The concept operationalizes the environmental program by linking NI resources with the mission requirements they enable while meeting legal obligations. NIM invokes an asset management system for the environment. It employs an integrated, holistic, systems approach to (1) determine the NI “footprints” for mission requirements, (2) quantify the capabilities of the NI available to installations to support these missions, (3) analyze the “gaps” between requirements and capabilities and (4) evaluate the corresponding operational opportunities and risks. This process then leads to developing requirements to correct deficiencies, curtail encroachment, and leverage excess capabilities for mission enhancement or growth. NIM Benefits and Uses NIM is extremely beneficial to the installation in protecting the Natural Infrastructure needed to meet operational requirements. NIM allows leadership to get a complete picture of the ability of the natural infrastructure to support the mission, and the ability to support future mission changes. This management system supports the decision making process by enhancing the installation general plan and range comprehension plan by including NI data during planning activities, by providing additional justification for resource allocation (SRM model), and by maintaining environmental compliance through more aggressive monitoring of environmental permit limits and actual emission levels. Leadership can use this information to determine if the installation has enough NI resources to support the existing mission or a change in mission. An additional benefit is the ability for installations to leverage NI opportunities (mitigation credits, air emissions credits, and buffer acquisition). NI data also provides useful data to each of the NI resources, such as test and training area availability, hours available to support ground or air training, etc. Airspace – Uses of Data Access to airspace is vital to the Air Force accomplishing its mission. The data collected during the NIA may help the installation protect its airspace and increase utilization using a management system construct. The population of neighboring communities is growing around many installations across the country. NIM can monitor growth near/in approach corridors and noise contours. Limiting this growth and/or quantifying its impact on the mission may assist in preserving our airspace in the future. NIM can also justify the need for additional, enlarged or modified airspace. A final benefit is that gathered data promotes the ability to maximize the use of existing airspace with opportunities for growth. Air Quality – Uses of Data The amount of pollution emitted from the installation, and the amount of pollution in the region can determine the installation’s ability to complete its mission. NIM provides valuable air quality information to leadership for decision-making purposes. One of the valuable benefits of the data gathered is that it helps monitor regional air quality for potential impacts. Being located in a non-attainment area could result
  5. 5. Course 060 in serious restrictions to the installation’s ability to emit a certain pollutant. A second benefit is the ability to “bank” credits with other entities in the region. This could allow for an increase in headroom for a certain pollutant, which could result in a modification of the mission. A final benefit of NIM is that it could provide justification for equipment upgrades or pollution prevention solutions. The purchase of modern and more efficient equipment could reduce the amount of certain pollutants that the installation is emitting. Frequency Spectrum – Uses of Data Access to radio frequency is vital to the Air Force accomplishing its mission. Like air quality and water supply/discharge, the data compiled during a NIA can provide assistance to the Air Force in maintaining/acquiring the frequencies it requires for satisfactory mission accomplishment and my provide additional justification for upgrades or replacement of outdated spectrum technologies. An upgrade in technology can allow for more efficient use of the frequency and could allow for an upgrade in mission. An additional benefit is that NIM monitors for encroachment into the critical frequencies of the mission. NIA information can note any congestion or interference issues that the installation experiences. Surface Land – Uses of Data NIM is very important for the management of surface land on base and the monitoring of ongoing development off base. The data gathered during a NIA provides numerous benefits. One benefit is that it allows for improved communication between the installation and the local community. Data can be shared between the two entities and encroachment pressures can be minimized due to better communication. NIM can also provide justification for the acquisition of buffers/easements to stem off site development, which could help the sustainment of the mission. A reduction of potential of noise complaints from the local community is a result of the acquisition of buffers/ easements. Collected data is also beneficial for on base land use and future development. Minimizing the impact of constraints, while maximizing opportunities (both mission and environmental quality) through careful and judicious land use and site planning is one of the benefits of NIM. It will also improve the ability to protect and preserve natural and built environments, and optimizing the siting of future facilities to accommodate additional missions. In general, NIM greatly aids the general planning process with the data that is collected, and also improves the communication/relationship with neighboring localities. Water Supply/Discharge – Uses of Data An installation needs to have the ability to bring water into the installation, and the ability to discharge used water. A benefit of NIM data is that it allows the installation to monitor water quality regionally for potential impacts. Serious concerns may emerge in areas where the source of water (and the receiving body of water for discharge) has significant pollution limitations. Water supply/discharge data will also be extremely important to decision makers to determine if the installation can support an increase in aircraft, personnel, etc. INTEGRATING NIM INTO THE ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT SYSTEM Check NI to determine if it meets operational capacity: The fist step is conducting the NIA. Just as an ESOHCAMP assesses the health of the environmental program, the NI Assessment evaluates the health of the NI to meet mission requirements. The result is that once NI is assessed; opportunities for growth and encroachments into the NI are quantified. By the end of FY 2008 most major Air Force installations will have this step completed. Management Review: The results of NIA should be presented to senior leadership after completing the assessment and the data must be reviewed annually by using the Facilities board, ESOHC or other existing forum. Installation leadership should be able to use the NIA results to help decide how to allocate scarce resources. NI Assessment results could influence future basing decisions.
  6. 6. Course 060 Incorporate NIM into Policies: The installation Environmental Policy Statement is the driver for implementing and improving the installation’s EMS so that an installation can maintain and improve its environmental performance. Additional Wing-level policies cover environmental issues and should be reviewed and updated to ensure NI is included. Just as an installations current EMS policy should reflect a commitment to compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local laws and provide foresight for continual improvement; it should also have a broader focus to include NIM. The policy statement should include a commitment to sustaining the NI in addition to maintaining compliance and preventing pollution. Once the installation commits to sustaining, restoring, and modernizing the NI to ensure operational capability, steps should be put into place to achieve that commitment. Using NIM Data in the Planning: Constrained or encroached resources are identified by NIAs (conducted during the Checking and Corrective Actions Phase) and are used as part of a risk ranking methodology such as aspect/impact identification. For those areas with the highest risk, objectives and targets are set and action plans developed to mitigate risk or NI degradation. Objectives and targets (e.g., creation of a conservation easement, procurement of emission reduction credits, or environmental restoration actions to increase the number of on-base developable acres) are carried forward into the planning, programming and budgeting process for funding and execution (PPBE). This entire risk management process is underpinned by measures of merit and funding guidelines that allow natural infrastructure managers to fund a wide variety of valid projects that meet regulatory compliance, encroachment prevention, and mission-driven requirements. Implementation and Operation Phase: Installations reduce risk and prevent degradation through actions and investments that support operational and regulatory requirements. The actions may include such things as clearly defined roles and responsibilities; providing job-specific training; developing or updating written procedures to reduce the potential for environmental impact; stipulating operating criteria to support current and emerging operational requirements; ensuring the most current versions of the necessary plans, checklists and other documents are available when needed, where they are needed; increasing communication with local planning authorities and local community officials; and managing permits as assets, not liabilities. Sustaining, restoring, and modernizing the resource base becomes part of the day-to-day operations. Checking and Corrective Action Phase: ESOHCAMP Assessments now include both environmental compliance and EMS conformance assessments. Beginning in FY08, the assessments will also include NI components to ensure NI assesses the ability of existing resource base to meet mission requirements. Corrective Actions must be developed and executed to sustain, restore, and modernize existing Resource Base as well as maintain compliance and improve EMS conformance. Performance measures should be tracked overtime to keep the pulse of programs. Any resource deficiencies should be identified and quantified in order to obtain adequate funding through the Planning, Programming, Budget, and Execution (PPBE). Conclusion: The Air Force needs an adequate supply of Natural Infrastructure at its installations and/or ranges to test, train, and perform its varied missions. Degradation or denial of NI resources due to the cumulative impact of encroachment or other constraints can, in turn, result in diminished operations. NIM is a management system that will provide valuable data to senior leadership in the decision making process. The implementation of NIM into existing management systems, such as EMS, the General Plan, and other tools will improve the ability of the Air Force to sustain, restore, and modernize it NI portfolio to enhance mission capability. Disclaimer:
  7. 7. Course 060 “The opinions and conclusions of this paper are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Air Force, or the Federal Government.” Author Information: Maj Monte Harner DSN: (312) 327-0196 Commercial: (703) 607-0196 E-mail: Steve Johns Commercial (757) 459-4306 E-mail: