For decades, by far one of the United States’ biggest energy users has been the military. Think about all the combat jets, helicopters, ships, troop carriers, tanks, other assorted vehicles and weapons requiring copious amounts of fuel.
As the military looks for sustainable mobility solutions, the Department of Defense has released an Operational Energy Strategy Implementation Plan intended to change how the military uses energy by following several key steps, including:
• Establishing baselines for energy consumption
• Improving energy efficiency during training and operations
• Promote energy innovation by diversifying supply and reducing risk
• Improve security of energy supplies at fixed locations
• Promote the development of alternative sources to fuel military vehicles and equipment
• Incorporate energy security considerations into future procurement
• Adopt military policy, education and doctrine that supports the need for more efficient use of resources and reduce demand for energy
Overseeing the plan’s implementation will be Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Plans and Programs Sharon Burke, in conjunction with the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As announced by Secretary of Defense, Leon E. Panetta, Burke will lead an Operational Energy Board, and the JCS will focus on the development of more effective energy use during combat operations.
To date, the U.S. military has already made strides in reducing energy use, via hybrid-electric propulsion on ships, adopting solar energy for tactical needs and employing more efficient generators, micro grids and air conditioning systems among other things.
“Smart use of energy can be a strategic advantage for the U.S. military against our adversaries,” said Panetta. “As we continue to invest in the best military force to defend America, I want the department to harness the best energy innovations at all levels to enhance our effectiveness and deliver more bang for the buck.”