Defense review should set energy reduction targets, report says

Military planners conducting the Quadrennial Defense Review should set hard targets for reducing energy consumption throughout the department, a new report concludes.

"Increasing our energy efficiency is often framed as an environmental issue, when in fact it has actually become a core national security concern," wrote Jerry Warner and Peter W. Singer in a study released on Thursday by the Brookings Institution.

Theirs is the latest in a growing catalog of studies citing the national security dimensions of the nation's addiction to foreign oil. Like many of the others, the Brookings scholars note that Defense consumes more energy in the course of its daily operations than any other single entity and more than 100 nations.

"There may be no aspect of American defense planning that is as important, and yet little understood and acted upon, as our defense energy security strategy," they wrote.

Specifically, Warner and Singer believe the department should reduce its baseline total consumption of energy by 20 percent by 2025, and become a net-zero consumer that produces its own energy at bases and facilities by 2030.

Such reductions could be accomplished without sacrificing military capability, the report said, although it does not detail how, other than to say, "resolving DoD issues with energy security will require the department to embrace and champion new technologies."

The Defense Department has made substantial progress in reducing energy consumption at its facilities and has used its considerable purchasing power to become one of the largest consumers of electricity generated from solar, wind and geothermal sources. But department leaders have placed far less attention on cutting the fuel consumption of vehicles, ships and aircraft used in military operations.

The report notes that energy concerns lack institutional support: "Without firm requirements, defense contractors that sell to the department don't yet know how seriously to program energy efficiency into their submissions, while the issue is yet to be seen as an operational concern by all. For example, when the head of coalition forces in western Iraq sent in a 'Priority 1' request for 183 solar and wind turbine-equipped stations that would make forward operating bases more self-sufficient, the Joint Chiefs of Staff back in Washington rejected it because it was viewed as unnecessary."

Many of the report's conclusions are drawn from a far more extensive study of the issue by the Defense Science Board in 2008, which found that the high and growing demand for fuel creates unnecessary risks for troops, increases the cost of operations and jeopardizes mission success.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.