Transforming the Way DoD Looks at Energy

Exeutive summary of latest Pentagon report that looks at the impact of oil dependence on the U.S. military and approaches to reducing that dependence.

Published: 02-May-2007

In an environment of uncertainty about the price and availability of traditional energy sources, DoD is facing increasing energy demand and support requirements that it must meet if it is to achieve its broader strategic goals—notably, establishment of a more mobile and agile force. However, recent technological advances in energy efficiency and alternative energy technologies offer a unique opportunity for DoD to make progress toward reconciling its strategic goals with its energy requirements through reduced consumption of fuel—especially foreign fuel. To capitalize on this opportunity, DoD needs to implement an energy strategy that encompasses the development of innovative new concepts and capabilities to reduce energy dependence while maintaining or increasing overall warfighting effectiveness. Recognizing that DoD must change how it views, values, and uses energy—a transformation that will challenge some of the department’s most deeply held assumptions, interests, and processes—the Office of Force Transformation and Resources, within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, asked LMI to develop an approach to establishing a DoD energy strategy.

In parallel with the increase in the global demand for energy is an increase in concern about global climate change and other environmental considerations. Therefore, when identifying technical solutions to its energy challenges, DoD should also considered a fourth disconnect—environmental.

From our research, we concluded that DoD has the opportunity to address the four disconnects by fundamentally changing how it views, values, and uses energy. Many actions are required to implement this transformation, but the highest-level requirements are straightforward:

The following are some options for energy actions related to DoD’s corporate processes:

To coordinate the efforts of DoD components, provide strategic direction, focus research and development efforts, and monitor compliance with energy-efficiency guidelines, DoD needs an effective energy governance structure. We recommend that DoD establish a coordinating body with policy and resource oversight authority.

Considering the need for collaboration among the services and DoD, we believe an empowered committee would be more effective that a single leader. From our survey of emerging energy technologies, the department has a wide range of options for addressing energy efficiency and alternate sources of energy.

Under the guidance of the coordinating body, DoD can begin a structured analysis of how to apply organizational, process, and technology changes to execute a strategy to reduce energy dependence. Although assessing the strategic, operational, fiscal, and environmental impacts of a change provides a mechanism to value potential choices, these impacts may not provide sufficient insight to be determinative.

To promote the changes that will have the greatest utility in addressing the disconnects, we recommend that the department begin by focusing on three areas:

DoD energy transformation must begin in the near term, addressing current practices and legacy forces, while investing for long-term changes that may radically alter future consumption patterns.

We recommend a time-phased approach to reduce our reliance on fossil and carbon-based fuels. This approach includes the following:

Applying this approach to the three focus areas will give DoD an opportunity to develop portfolios of solutions that can reduce energy use and dependence. The coordinating body can evaluate these portfolios to against the energy disconnects to identify optimal solutions across the services, broader department objectives, and U.S. government strategic objectives and energy efforts. The coordinating body can then focus technology development as required to achieve the desired solutions.

For the energy transformation to be successful, DoD’s senior leaders must articulate a clear vision for the change and must ensure—through their sustained commitment and active participation—that it becomes engrained in the organization’s ethos.

We propose the following vision:

DoD will be the nation’s leader in the effective use of energy, significantly reducing DoD’s dependence on traditional fuels and enhancing operational primacy through reduced logistics support requirements.

Establishing a goal for mobility energy efficiency will provide near-term objectives in support of the vision, enhance operational effectiveness by reducing logistics support requirements, and free resources for recapitalization of the force. Our estimates show that implementing a 3 percent reduction per year until 2015 could result in savings of $43 billion by 2030 based on Energy Information Agency reference case price projections, without including any multiplier effects.

In view of the long period required to develop and populate the force with new concepts and capabilities, DoD should begin now to shape the force for an uncertain energy future.

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Official transcript of Special Order Number 17 testimony in U.S. House of Representatives May 2, 2006

The Air Force consumed 3.2 billion gallons of aviation fuel in fiscal year 2005, which was 52.5 percent of all fossil fuel used by the government.

Although debated and denied frequently, a massive shortfall in oil production is coming faster than many are willing to admit. Dr. Alex Kuhlman assesses the situation and its effect on the airline industry, and reminds us to start thinking about tomorrow. Pictured is Airbus A380 jumbo jet.


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