The Overseas Environmental Baseline Guidance Document

The Overseas Environmental Baseline Guidance Document (OEBGD) comprises a set of objective criteria and management practices developed by DoD to update established policy and assigned responsibilities for managing environmental compliance to protect human health and safety outside the United States on installations under DoD control.

Important guidance with respect to cultural resource protection is contained in Chapter 12 of the OEBGD.

The OEBGD applies to all DoD components outside the United States, but does not apply to:

  • contingency locations and associated operations and deployments, including cases of hostilities;
  • contingency operations in hazardous areas, peacekeeping missions, or relief operations;
  • or situations in which U.S. forces operate as part of a multinational force not under full U.S. control.

With respect to OEBGD environmental compliance, DoD policy is as follows:

“a. DOD manages and applies installation assets to sustain the DOD national defense mission; uses environmental, safety, and occupational health management systems in mission planning and execution across all military operations and activities; and ensures all organizations plan, program, and budget to manage the environmental, safety, and occupational health risks that their activities generate in accordance with Reference (b).


Click to view the full text of the Overseas Environmental Baseline Guidance Document.

b. DOD establishes, maintains, and complies with final governing standards (FGSs) to protect human health and the environment for those foreign countries identified by the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (USD(AT&L)). The FGSs will reconcile the requirements of applicable international agreements and applicable host-nation DODI 4715.05, November 1, 2013 environmental standards in accordance with E.O. 12088 (Reference (i)) and DOD 4715.05-G, also known and referred to in this instruction as the “Overseas Environmental Baseline Guidance Document (OEBGD).”

In addition: “d. A program for regular assessment of environmental compliance at installations outside the United States is established and conducted by DoD Components.

e. DoD Components conduct environmental compliance activities at off-installation locations in accordance with applicable international agreements, other DoDDs and DoDIs, and environmental compliance requirements incorporated into environmental management annexes and plans, as appropriate.”

Chapter 12 of the OEBGD applies to Historical and Cultural Resources located at, or near, a DoD installation or undertaking outside the United States:

“C12. CHAPTER 12 HISTORIC AND CULTURAL RESOURCES

This Chapter contains criteria for required plans and programs needed to ensure proper protection and management of historic and cultural resources, such as properties on the World Heritage List or the Host Nation (HN) list equivalent to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

C12.2. DEFINITIONS

C12.2.1. Adverse Effect. Changes that diminish the quality or significant value of historic or cultural resources.

C12.2.2. Archeological Resource. Any material remains of prehistoric or historic human life or activities. Such resources include, but are not limited to: pottery, basketry, bottles, weapons, weapon projectiles, tools, structures or portions of structures, pit houses, rock paintings, rock carvings, intaglios, graves, human skeletal remains, or any portion of any of the foregoing items.


Click to view chapter 12 [“Historical and Cultural Resources”] of the Overseas Environmental Baseline Guidance Document.

C12.2.3. Cultural Mitigation. Specific steps designed to lessen the adverse effects of a DoD action on a historical or cultural resource, including:

C12.2.3.1. Limiting the magnitude of the action;

C12.2.3.2. Relocating the action in whole or in part;

C12.2.3.3. Repairing, rehabilitating, or restoring the affected resources, affected property; and

C12.2.3.4. Recovering and recording data from cultural properties that may be destroyed or substantially altered.

C12.2.4. Historic and Cultural Resources Program. Identification, evaluation, documentation, curation, acquisition, protection, rehabilitation, restoration, management, stabilization, maintenance, recording, and reconstruction of historic and cultural resources and any combination of the foregoing.

C12.2.5. Historic or Cultural Resources. Physical remains of any prehistoric or historic district, site, building, structure, or object significant in world, national, or local history, architecture, archeology, engineering, or culture. The term includes artifacts, archeological resources, records, and material remains that are related to such a district, site, building, structure, or object, and also includes natural resources (plants, animals, landscape features, etc.) that may be considered important as a part of a country’s traditional culture and history. The term also includes any property listed on the World Heritage List or the HN equivalent of the National Register of Historic Places. HN lists of properties should be evaluated to determine if they are equivalent with the National Register of Historic Places prior to application.

C12.2.6. Inventory. To determine the location of historic and cultural resources that may have world, national, or local significance.

C12.2.7. Material Remains. Physical evidence of human habitation, occupation, use, or activity, including the site, loci, or context in which such evidence is situated including:

C12.2.7.1. Surface or subsurface structures;

C12.2.7.2. Surface or subsurface artifact concentrations or scatters;

C12.2.7.3. Whole or fragmentary tools, implements, containers, weapons, clothing, and ornaments;

C12.2.7.4. By-products, waste products, or debris resulting from manufacture or use;

C12.2.7.5. Organic waste;

C12.2.7.6. Human remains;

C12.2.7.7. Rock carvings, rock paintings, and intaglios;

C12.2.7.8. Rock shelters and caves;

C12.2.7.9. All portions of shipwrecks; or

C12.2.7.10. Any portion or piece of any of the foregoing.

C12.2.8. Preservation. The act or process of applying measures to sustain the existing form, integrity, and material of a building or structure, and the existing form and vegetative cover of a site. It may include initial stabilization work where necessary, as well as ongoing maintenance of the historic building materials.

C12.2.9. Protection. The act or process of applying measures designed to affect the physical condition of a property by safeguarding it from deterioration, loss, attack, or alteration, or to cover or shield the property from danger or injury. In the case of buildings and structures, such treatment is generally temporary and anticipates future historic preservation treatment; in the case of archaeological sites, the protective measure may be temporary or permanent.

C12.3. CRITERIA

C12.3.1. Installation commanders shall take into account the effect of any action on any property listed on the World Heritage List or on the applicable country’s equivalent of the National Register of Historic Places for purposes of avoiding or mitigating any adverse effects.

C12.3.2. Installations shall have access to the World Heritage List and the HN equivalent of the National Register of Historic Places.

C12.3.3. Installation commanders shall ensure that personnel performing historic or cultural resource functions have the requisite expertise in world, national, and local history and culture. This may be in-house, contract, or through consultation with another agency. Government personnel directing such functions must have training in historic or cultural resources management.

C12.3.4. Installations shall, after coordination with the HN installation commander or similar appropriate HN authorities, prepare, maintain, and implement a cultural resources management plan that contains information needed to make appropriate decisions about cultural and historic resources identified on the installation inventory, and for mitigation of any adverse effects.

C12.3.5. Installations shall, after coordination with the HN installation commander or similar appropriate HN authorities, and if financially and otherwise practical:

C12.3.5.1. Inventory historic and cultural resources in areas under DoD control. An inventory shall be developed from a records search and visual survey.

C12.3.5.2. Establish measures sufficient to protect known historic or cultural resources until appropriate mitigation or preservation can be completed.

C12.3.5.3. Establish measures sufficient to protect known archeological resources until appropriate mitigation or preservation can be completed.

C12.3.6. Installation commanders shall establish measures to prevent DoD personnel from disturbing or removing historic or cultural resources without permission of the host nation.

C12.3.7. Installation commanders shall ensure that planning for major actions includes consideration of possible effects on historic or cultural resources.

C12.3.8. If potential historic or cultural resources not previously inventoried are discovered in the course of a DoD action, the newly discovered items will be preserved and protected pending a decision on final disposition by the installation commander. The decision on final disposition will be made by the installation commander after coordination with the HN installation commander or similar appropriate HN authorities.”