FedEx CEO: After Terrorism and WMD’s, Importing Oil is Biggest Threat to Nation’s Security
Speaking this afternoon to an audience at the National Press Club in Washington this afternoon, the CEO of FedEx said that the U.S. dependence on foreign oil is a threat to the well-being of the entire country.
After terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, America’s dependence on imported oil “represents the biggest single threat to our nation’s economy and national security,” said Frederick W. Smith, served as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps before joining FedEx.
“No one fuel source — or producer — would be able to hold our transportation system and our economy hostage the way a single nation can disrupt the flow of petroleum today,” he said.
Smith made the comments as co-chairman of the Energy Security Leadership Council, comprised of senior business officials and retired military generals, in a speech titled “Confronting the Energy Threat: Electrification of Transportation as the Path Toward A Stronger Economy and Enhanced National Security.”
The group is backing a plan that would encourage the use of an electrical grid to power the nation’s transportation system, rather than relying mostly on foreign oil.
Seventy percent of all the trips Americans make in any given day are less than 40 miles, Smith said, and technology is producing batteries that can produce enough electricity to meet those needs now.
He also said that the electrical grid proposal would increase jobs by 3 million more by 2050 than if the plan were not implemented.
“$147 per barrel oil and $4-$5 per gallon gasoline are less than a year behind us. And if there is one thing I can absolutely guarantee you today, it is this: that was not the last oil shock we will ever see. Far from it, said Smith.
“We cannot prevent oil price shocks. Events across the world, from terrorist attacks and cartel collusion to accidents and natural disasters, will continue to affect global petroleum prices, sometimes dramatically,” he said. “In the past, that has been a recipe for disaster. We have seen five economic recessions since the early 1970s — and each one of them was preceded by or was concurrent with a significant spike in oil prices.”
Smith also said that half of military expenditures go protecting vulnerable oil supply lines.
President Eisenhower, noted Smith, believed a 20 percent dependence was potentially harmful, while we are currently importing roughly 60 percent from overseas, including from sources hostile to the country’s interests.