The Pentagon Goes Energy Efficient
On Tuesday June 14th, the Pentagon announced an innovative energy plan for all military operations. The “Operational Energy Strategy,” (OES) under the Defense Office of Operational Energy, is a comprehensive effort to cut energy costs for the military and to reduce its dependence on oil. Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Plans and Programs Sharon Burke outlined that the plan will make acquiring and using energy a priority in all war planning efforts. Energy will become a basic strategic priority in the same way that planning for troops, weapons, vehicles, etc. are now.
According to the National Journal’s report, the “US military is the largest industrial consumer of oil in the world” and is dependent on oil for the majority of that energy. Moreover, the Department of Defense consumes 80% of the energy used by the federal government. The OES has made the reduction of energy consumption in the military a priority, in addition to increasing the diversity of energy sources. The Department of Defense’s press release states that the military will no longer take readily available energy in the battlefield for granted.
The plan itself consists of a restructuring of the way the military views the use and importance of energy in war strategy. The prerogative is to reduce the amount of energy consumed and to cut spending on energy without putting soldiers’ lives at risk. This will require the adoption of alternative energy sources, such as solar, biofuels and others, and finding simple solutions for cutting dependence on energy use in the field. Reduction of energy costs translates into more resources for other war efforts, increasing the capabilities of troops and commanders on the ground. The new energy plan could potentially put fewer soldiers at risk as the military’s strategy moves away from protecting vital oil sources.
Many clean energy advocates groups have supported the OES and celebrate its widespread implications for the energy economy of the nation as a whole. Because the military is such a disproportionally large consumer of energy, the restructuring of its energy strategies will generate commercial innovation and has the potential to motivate other industries to restructure their energy priorities as well. This demand for innovative technology can accelerate the use of new and alternative sources of energy through the economy.
The ultimate goal of the Operational Energy Strategy is to create a platform for military strategists to incorporate energy use into all campaign plans in the future, which will impact long-term priorities and structures within the military itself, as well as other industries in the economy.