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The Environment: A Unified Mission Focus

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Published Feb. 11, 2020

Though there are times when the U.S. Army must operate with budget constraints and reduced personnel resources, the mission cannot and will not suffer. Under these conditions, installation environmental staffs use ingenuity and a unified approach to mission accomplishment to achieve mission success.

Collaborating with agencies and organizations that can assist personnel with mission accomplishment is a proven strategy for success. The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) Program illustrates the effectiveness of this strategy. In fact, personnel throughout the environmental enterprise have taken advantage of this resource.

The ORISE is an asset of the Department of Energy (DOE). Oak Ridge Associated Universities, a nonprofit corporation made up of more than 100 major academic institutions, manages the program. The DOE established the ORISE in 1992. Since that time, ORISE personnel have dedicated their efforts to enabling critical scientific, research, and health initiatives. They provide expertise in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workforce development; scientific and technical reviews; and radiation exposure and environmental contamination evaluations.

Those unfamiliar with the ORISE Program may not realize how it can benefit their organizations and the nation. For example, when an installation has short-term scientific or technical requirements but insufficient resources, the ORISE Program can help the installation gain temporary assets to meet those requirements.

To join the ORISE Program, a participant enters into an interagency agreement that identifies an installation’s environmental program as an ORISE Program sponsor, which opens the door to scientific and technical assistance. The focus of the ORISE Program is on educating and training nongovernment employees. However, many participants work with government employees as part of their teams, which allows for secondary and tertiary educational opportunities. ORISE participants gain knowledge, experience, and education that relates to their fields of study while the sponsoring unit, in addition to assistance with scientific and technical requirements, shares the organization’s knowledge and function with the broader academic community and supports the nation’s overall commitment to environmental science education.

One Army garrison that has taken advantage of this program is West Point Military Academy, which has been a partner in the ORISE Program since 1996. The West Point Directorate of Public Works team has mentored 23 participants, who have went on to complete projects in environmental compliance, natural resources, energy management and conservation, urban planning, environmental public education, and emergency planning.

The ORISE Program is an invaluable asset that provides opportunities for mentor-mentee relationships, skill identification and development, and networking opportunities. To date, 12 ORISE participants became Department of the Army Civilian employees who work in various areas throughout the West Point Directorate of Public Works footprint.

For more information about the ORISE Program, personnel may visit