Back to Bases: AFCEC revives environmental workshop

  • Published
  • By Shannon Carabajal
  • AFIMSC Public Affairs
Air Force senior leaders and environmental experts from around the globe tackled a variety of installation environmental issues during the 2018 Air Force Environmental Workshop Aug. 7 - 9 in downtown San Antonio.

With a focus on enhancing installation environmental programs, the Air Force Civil Engineer Center revived the workshop after a six-year break, bringing nearly 200 environmental, legal and public affairs experts together to reinvigorate the community and focus on enabling the Air Force mission, said Tiffany Evans, workshop coordinator and reporting and analysis branch chief for AFCEC's Environmental Management Directorate.

“There's nothing like having face-to-face dialogue with our customers in the field to ensure they have the tools they need for their environmental mission,” she said.

The three-day event offered networking opportunities while educating attendees about emerging hot topics, budgetary constraints, regulatory challenges and current Air Force directives, policies, and solutions. Course topics included environmental management, environmental restoration, environmental aspects and risk, environmental geographic information systems, natural resources, water quality, tribal relations, air quality compliance and hazardous waste programs.

"This (training and networking) opportunity is something we've really missed in our community. Take these lessons, take them back to your base. This is about making improvements to your (environmental programs) that enable the Air Force mission. That is what we're all about," Suzanne Bilbrey, director of AFCEC's Environmental Management Directorate, told the group.

As a primary subordinate unit of the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center, AFCEC manages and executes the Air Force Environmental Program through its headquarters at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland and installation support sections across the U.S. The center includes subject matter experts and program managers in many environmental specialties -- including regulatory compliance, environmental restoration, hazardous waste management, pollution prevention and environmental assessments -- who provide environmental technical assistance and advice to installations.

"We are here to support (installations),” Evans said. “We haven't had this event since 2012, prior to the standup of AFCEC; a lot of things have changed. We want to get information out to the field and say, ‘this is what we can do to help you.’”

For Capt. Tanya Wren, chief of public affairs for Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, the workshop was also a chance to gain a better understanding of the scope of Air Force environmental programs.

“By learning more about environmental issues, (public affairs specialists) are able to more effectively explain what is going on, what the Air Force is doing,” she said.

To learn more about AFCEC environmental programs, visit