Cultural Resources

Cultural Resources Frequently Asked Questions

What are cultural resources?

Cultural resources are historic properties such as any prehistoric or historic district, site, building, structure, or object, including artifacts, records, and material remains related to such a property or resource.

What is cultural resources management?

Cultural resources management is a dynamic process that analyzes and assesses risk to cultural resources. Cultural resources management prepares and implements plans to maintain historic properties and monitors the results of a variety of conservation initiatives.

What is the DoD’s policy on cultural resources?

It is DoD policy to:

-Manage and maintain cultural resources under DoD control in a sustainable manner through a comprehensive program that considers the preservation of historic, archaeological, architectural, and cultural values; is mission supporting; and results in sound and responsible stewardship.

-Be an international and national leader in the stewardship of cultural resources by promoting and interpreting the cultural resources it manages to inspire DoD personnel and to encourage and maintain U.S. public support for its military.

-Consult in good faith with internal and external stakeholders and promote partnerships to manage and maintain cultural resources by developing and fostering positive partnerships with Federal, tribal, State, and local government agencies; professional and advocacy organizations; and the general public.

How is the health of cultural resources measured?

DoD collects cultural resources data and reports activities so that metrics surrounding historic properties can be assessed by the Program.

What is Section 106?

Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA) instructs Federal agencies that prior to carrying out, approving financial assistance for, or issuing a permit for any undertaking or project, the Federal agency must consider the effect of its undertakings on historic properties. The NHPA established the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation to advise the President and Congress on matters relating to historic preservation and to comment on Federal agency compliance with Section 106 of the NHPA.

What are program alternatives?

Program alternatives allow for other methods of data recovery as mitigation for an undertaking’s adverse effects. These approaches can be implemented as the only treatment option or can be part of a package where different historic properties are subject to different kinds and levels of mitigation. According to Section 106 (36 CFR § 800.14), five program alternatives may be considered: programmatic agreements, exempted categories, standard treatments, program comments, and alternate procedures. To learn more about how program alternatives are applicable to the DoD Cultural Resources Program, please visit the Program Alternatives page.

Where can I learn more about the DoD’s cultural resources management program?

Please visit this Instruction that establishes DoD cultural resources policy and assigns responsibilities under the authority of DoD Directive (DoDD) 5134.01 and in accordance with DoDD 4715.1E to comply with applicable Federal statutory and regulatory requirements, Executive orders, and Presidential memorandums for the integrated management of cultural resources on DoD-managed lands.