and products. The process for approving environmentally beneficial changes to programs must be streamlined.
Program offices tend to have relatively small staffs, and as a result, most of the technical expertise resides with the contractor. This places the program offices at a distinct disadvantage when trying to evaluate the attributes and risk of a contractor-proposed, environmentally preferable alternative technology. By definition, contractors and their government customers are adversaries. One way of relieving the program office of some of the burden of risk of change is to establish a means of validating environmentally preferable technologies for military use. This could be done by abandoning MILSPECS and MILSTDS in favor of industry standards, or by accelerating the process of changing them and giving environmental considerations a high priority. There are many research and development resources available for this mission, including national laboratories. The key is institutionalizing the means of communicating the endorsed technologies to the program offices and the organizations that prepare MILSPECS and MILSTDS across the services.
The federal government has an opportunity and a responsibility to help improve the global competitiveness of U.S. defense industries (and other U.S. industrial sectors as well). As defense industries look toward commercial markets to replace defense business in a climate of decreasing defense budgets, the government can stimulate improvements in the environmental performance of manufacturing process technology and of manufactured products in a variety of ways. As a large consumer, the federal government should be an informed and responsible environmental consumer and use contracting incentives to stimulate markets for environmentally preferable products. As a large and sophisticated research organization, the government can provide new seed technologies for the private sector to incorporate into environmental products and services for a global commercial market. As a developer, builder, and owner of high-technology systems, the government can support the integration of environmentally preferable technologies into the U.S. manufacturing base and stimulate a better understanding of the environmental impact of material choices for processes and products. As a major consumer of commercial products, the government can stimulate markets for recycled products and stem the flow of waste to landfills. And as operator of major installations that are, in effect, small cities, the government can reduce the environmental impact of its internal operations and provide a model for municipalities nationwide in their effort to improve environmental quality.
The Air Force Pollution Prevention Program is comprehensive and multidis-