USAEC staff pose

USAEC 50th Anniversary focus: People make the mission
By Thomas Milligan (USAEC)

Change is constant, particularly with environmental issues where natural forces and a changing climate bring evolving challenges around the globe to U.S. Army operations.

This reality has shaped the course for the U.S. Army Environmental Command since its inception 50 years ago. But even in the face of this, another constant that shaped the work of this critical unit is the collective commitment to its mission.

“We all take great pride in maintaining Army readiness to ensure we can defend and protect our nation’s interests and maintaining the environment and protecting ecosystems. Our key is striking that balance,” said Randy Cerar, division chief of operations, programs and planning at USAEC.

“We’re involved in a whole litany of issues, from environmental cleanup to compliance and policy implementation, education to historical and cultural artifacts preservation,” said Cerar, who has been with USAEC “off and on” for 32 years. “Very seldom do we do the same things today that we were doing even five years ago. We’re an eclectic mix of professionals that have an array, a matrix, of expertise.”

Paul Josephson, an environmental engineer at USAEC, said an increased awareness of the importance of environmental issues within Army leadership reflect a societal change and has helped drive changes across the entire Army. That has, in turn, brought ongoing change to USAEC. He cited the implementation of the Army Climate Strategy, released earlier this year, as a recent example of that.

“Our mission is a lot clearer now, or perhaps more established,” Josephson said. “Things are certainly better defined. We have really gotten to the point where attention to environmental issues is just a part of doing business. We’re playing an important role in that.”

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