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Posts tagged “Afghanistan”

By Will Rogers on Jun 7, 2012 with 12 responses

The Operational and Strategic Rationale Behind the U.S. Military’s Energy Efforts

The recent debate over the role of the military in investing in renewable energy technologies, energy efficiency and conservation programs and alternative biofuels has included many voices that sometimes conflate the linked but distinct efforts by defense officials to address energy concerns. The rationale behind the military’s energy programs can be broken down into two efforts:

  1. Adapting to operational energy requirements and security challenges in Afghanistan and other combat theatres;
  2. Hedging against future uncertainty in the global petroleum market.

Adapting to Operational Energy Challenges

Military leaders have become increasingly worried about operational energy challenges in Afghanistan and other theatres where U.S. soldiers, sailors and airmen are deployed and are working to reduce the demand for energy that must be transported across volatile terrain.

To date, part of the military’s effort to reduce operational energy requirements includes:

  • prioritizing energy efficiency in the acquisitions process for new combat platforms;
  • fielding micro-grid technology to more efficiently manage traditional power distribution systems that waste energy;
  • replacing — where possible — diesel-fuelled generators with solar panels and other renewable energy sources;
  • equipping soldiers with advanced batteries that stay charged longer to help keep them in the fight;
  • and increasing awareness among all U.S. military personnel about energy use to help promote conservation practices.

There are clear operational advantages to reducing the fuel required by military personnel in theater. In particular, reducing fuel consumption also curbs the demand for petroleum that has to be trucked across dangerous territory where the fuel and the soldiers and contractors transporting it are vulnerable to insurgent attack.