Improving Air Force Transportation Systems by Using Alternative Energy: The Air Force Academy Exposes Its Cadets to Managerial Challenges Inherent in Implementing a Sustainable Alternative Energy Plan

By Heppard, Kurt A.; Green, Steve G. | The Public Manager, Summer 2009 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Improving Air Force Transportation Systems by Using Alternative Energy: The Air Force Academy Exposes Its Cadets to Managerial Challenges Inherent in Implementing a Sustainable Alternative Energy Plan


Heppard, Kurt A., Green, Steve G., The Public Manager


Air Force leaders, like many public-sector managers, must strive to introduce innovative alternative energy systems while encouraging cost-effectiveness and systematic learning. Education and hands-on experience are key ingredients to evaluating and implementing public-sector alternative energy programs. As educators of future U.S. Air Force (USAF) leaders and public managers, we are challenged to introduce students to new ways of thinking about balancing governmental initiatives and constituent demands for cost-effective management programs. This is certainly the case with the new governmental emphasis on alternative solutions to energy and transportation challenges.

This article offers insights into the importance of new energy solutions for USAF leaders and managers and details on the USAF synthetic fuels programs. It closes with a case study of how we are using a biodiesel energy project in one of our courses to help cadets prepare for management challenges they may face on active duty when making decisions about the use of alternative energy solutions.

Fueling the Fight

Recognizing and addressing energy's impact on the basic transportation needs of our citizens have been the focus of recent administrations, but nowhere are the potential negative impacts as keenly felt, or as closely monitored, as they are in the daily operations of the USAF Efficient transportation of material, people, and other resources is a key factor in any military campaign. The adage that "an army moves on its stomach" is as true today as it was when Napoleon Bonaparte allegedly said it more than two hundred years ago. Leveraging alternative fuels is an exceptional opportunity for the USAF to address one of the most significant issues it faces as it strives to improve its transportation and logistics. Effectively managing the availability and cost of fuel, or aptly put, "fueling the fight," could dictate ultimate success or failure on the battle field.

The USAF has become particularly sensitive to energy issues related to transportation as the landscape of global conflict has been transformed over the last few years from a two-superpower standoff to the multi-theater unconventional environment, which involves overseas contingency operations (OCO) such as those in Iraq and Afghanistan. The USAF, while serving as a frontline combatant and a key link in the logistics chain of an increasingly agile and multifront warfighting machine, has become the nation's single largest user of petroleum products. It consumes about 7 million gallons of aviation fuel each day (2.5 billion gallons per year) at a cost last year alone of more than $6 billion.

With high-level direction from the executive branch, a changing operational landscape, conspicuous consumption of energy, and an increasingly dynamic cost environment, the USAF is faced with few options to pursuing the development of innovative technologies and alternative fuels, especially for its transportation needs. Some argue that biofuels and other synthetic fuels show the most promise for immediate impact, and they offer incredible opportunities for public-private partnerships. Of particular interest to public administrators in the transportation sector is the interaction between these military-sponsored technologies and the related civil and commercial sectors. History has shown that science and technology developed in the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) often flow quickly to the commercial sectors and other public entities, transforming industries and even entire economies.

Strategic Plan and Synthetic Fuels

The USAF is the most powerful, effective, and capable air force in the world, but it faces a challenging future in light of an uncertain energy environment. It must continue to adapt and improve its processes to meet available resources, or the ability to accomplish its mission could be jeopardized. The USAF strategic response to the current energy challenges was the creation of the Infrastructure Energy Strategic Plan--2008.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Improving Air Force Transportation Systems by Using Alternative Energy: The Air Force Academy Exposes Its Cadets to Managerial Challenges Inherent in Implementing a Sustainable Alternative Energy Plan
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?