The Minnesota National Guard’s enduring goal is to provide an agile, resilient force, ready to fulfill any federal, state or community need. The Minnesota National Guard’s success relies on its ability to provide military assets when called upon, working with interagency partners to enhance joint-response capabilities.
In order to fulfill its obligations to the state and nation, the Minnesota National Guard focuses on six priorities that guide the organization through decision-making and mission-planning processes, ultimately ensuring a unified and consistent response.
The past several years presented the Minnesota National Guard with many fluid and dynamic events that tested the organization's ability to operate under fluctuating budgets and strenuous mission requirements.
Though the operational circumstances and challenges have varied, the Minnesota National Guard's six priorities provide a fundamental blueprint that ensures success of the mission while maintaining personnel and equipment at optimal levels.
- Fielding a competent ready force
- Maintaining an optimal force structure
- Cyber security and response
- Develop sustainable infrastructure
- Service members and their Families
- Diversity of the force
|"We invest in sustainable infrastructure to ensure our facilities are economically and environmentally sound and remain assets to service members and communities."
In 2011 the Minnesota National Guard articulated a vision to ensure the sustainability of its facilities while setting an even loftier goal of making Camp Ripley Training Center and Arden Hills Army Training Site Net Zero installations. Through both physical upgrades and behavioral changes, the organization has made tremendous strides in reducing cost and conserving resources – efforts that resulted in being awarded the Secretary of Defense’s Sustainability award in 2015.
The tangible upgrades to conserve energy have been installed in most of the Minnesota National Guard's facilities. At AHATS, a water collection system accumulates and stores 45,000 gallons of water for reuse in site irrigation and vehicle wash bays. Throughout the organization’s 62 armories, 55 percent of waste is diverted to recycling centers – reducing the strain on community landfills. From LED lighting and motion-activated switches to water collection systems and waste stream diversion, the Minnesota National Guard is ensuring each one of its existing and planned facilities are setting the standard in energy efficiency.
The Minnesota National Guard furthers its commitment to sustainability by creating a culture that promotes energy conservation and monitoring amongst its members.
Through the Minnesota National Guard Sustainability Working Group, the organization implemented the "Energy Challenge," which provides facility managers training and support as they work to meet energy reduction benchmarks. By reworking how energy and resources are being used by Guard members – such as adding water bottle fill stations to discourage consumption of single use plastic bottles – small changes are adding up to substantial use reductions.
The most ambitious sustainability efforts are being implemented at CRTC. Camp Ripley is striving to become Net Zero, meaning the total amount of energy used by the installation on an annual basis is roughly equal to the amount of renewable energy created on the site. Utilizing renewable and alternative sources of energy, such as geothermal and solar power, the largest training facility in the Minnesota National Guard incorporates the Net Zero philosophy as a guiding ethic measured not only in terms of financial benefit, but also in terms of preserving mission capability, high quality of life and positive relationships with local communities.
Some specific examples of sustainability at CRTC include:
- Solar thermal upgrades in the Education Facility now account for 30 percent of the installation's hot water supply, and a similar upgrade was made at the AHATS Field Maintenance Shop
- Geothermal heat pumps were installed in three billeting structures, reducing greenhouse emissions by nearly 25 metric tons per year
- The construction of a solar array – with the capacity to produce enough power to exceed the installation’s electricity requirements – begins in February 2016
- Plans for a biomass heat district are underway, which will utilize on-site forest resources as a sustainable supply with the potential to decrease dependence on non-renewable natural gas by 91 percent