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Photo Information

U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Dustin Miles, a rifleman with the Ground Combat Element, Marine Rotational Force - Darwin, conducts a patrol during Jungle Warfare Training, Tully, Australia, April 15, 2019. Jungle warfare training is conducted to condition service members to thrive in hectic tropic environments and gives them the opportunity to prepare for arduous jungle warfare scenarios. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Nicholas Filca)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Nicholas Filca

Earth Day: Marine Corps Installations Command’s Environmental Readiness is Mission Readiness

22 Apr 2024 | Courtesy Story Marine Corps Installations Command, MCICOM

Every year, increasingly erratic and unpredictable climate forces are threatening Marine Corps installations and capabilities. Typhoon Mawar made this clear less than a year ago when it struck Guam – scattering debris on runways and shuttering access to essential services across the island – or more recently in California when stormwater washed out roads at San Onofre Beach near Marine Corps Base (MCB) Pendleton. More than five years later, the Marine Corps is still rebuilding from 2018’s Hurricane Florence, which caused $3.6 billion in damage to installations on the east coast of the United States.  

In 2023 the Marine Corps made great strides in building resilience against myriad types of environmental threats at its installations around the world. Notably in October Marine Corps Installations Command (MCICOM) released its Installation Campaign Plan for Environmental Resilience and Energy Readiness, which sets aggressive targets for installations to continue to build projects and establish practices to ensure operations in even the most hostile natural environments. While some of these policies are new, they are building on successes we have already seen across the Corps.  

“Environmental resilience is all about being able to take a punch from mother nature and stay standing," said Colonel Joseph Novario, Modernization and Development Director at MCICOM. “The current and future operating environments demand our installations have the resilience to maintain their force projection capability after the worst types of environmental disasters.”  

There is a lot of progress to celebrate, including a recent determination that, between 2007 and 2022, the Marine Corps reduced its water consumption by nearly 28%, improving efficiency and prolonging reserves in the event of a drought. MCB Camp Lejeune is continuing to rebuild structures to withstand high winds and flooding, with a recent replacement of railroad infrastructure, damaged by Florence, between MCB Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Cherry Point finishing ahead of schedule in December 2023. During a simulated blackout as part of exercise Steel Knight in November, MCAS Miramar successfully demonstrated their recently constructed microgrid, which allows the installation to generate its own energy for up to 21 days.  

In the conservation space, the most recent round of awardees and projects from the DoD’s Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) program included Marine Corps installation partnerships from South Carolina to Hawaii. In the Pacific, MCB Camp Blaz, the newly reactivated Marine Corps installation on the island, is taking advantage of REPI and partner funding to protect against climate-related threats as well as preserve vital habitat for endangered species. In fact, the Guam Environmental Quality Team at MCB Camp Blaz was just named the 2024 winner of the Secretary of Defense Environmental Quality Individual/Team Award for their work aiding in the recovery from Typhoon Mawar as well as their safeguarding of the island’s fragile environment and ecosystems amid a major uptick in construction for the installation.  

"Strengthening an installation’s environmental resilience can help prepare against other threats, too," said Novario. When installations manage water and energy efficiently, they establish vital reserves and fortify infrastructure against both natural disasters and adversaries. “The added benefit of environmental resilience is that we, in many cases, have secured ourselves against manmade threats and increasing installations’ self-sufficiency in times of peace means we are even more prepared for times of conflict. The reality is that we are preventing and mitigating disruptions to our operations regardless of the threat that causes them." said Novario.  

MCICOM is continuing to invest in modernizing our facilities to maintain continuity of operations for critical infrastructure while supporting force and power projection, regardless of disruptions from man-made threats or natural disasters. By 2030, the Marine Corps aims to achieve 99.9% backup power availability for key mission critical Marine Corps facilities, with 14 days of off-grid capability for mission critical facilities by 2035. This will allow Marines to minimize, adapt to, and recover from any energy disruption to sustain essential functions and critical services.  

It’s no coincidence that Marines, known for our flexibility and efficiency, are adapting to new challenges by investing in smart, resilient, and networked installations and developing partnerships with local communities, agencies, industry, and academia. We adapt to the fight – regardless of whether it is against a near-peer competitor or against mother nature herself.  

The Marine Corps will provide more information at its upcoming Installation Resilience panel at Modern Day Marine. The following link provides more information on how to attend this panel at the event:   


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