A More Secure Energy Future Is a Sustainable Army Goal

By Hammack, Katherine | Army, October 2010 | Go to article overview

A More Secure Energy Future Is a Sustainable Army Goal


Hammack, Katherine, Army


Today's Army is making the transition to an elite 21st-century expeditionary force designed to confront elusive enemies that threaten our interests around the globe. A combination of factors including the threat of rising fuel prices, concerns about climate change and challenging federal mandates are driving the Army to increase its focus on energy security - assured access to reliable supplies of energy and the ability to protect and deliver sufficient energy to meet operational needs. Threats to Army energy supply, both at home and abroad, in the form of cyberattacks, accidents, natural disasters and nonstate enemies, coupled with an aging electric grid, place our installations and operational forces at risk of energy disruption, which could translate to mission disruption. The increased emphasis on energy security includes an array of initiatives, heightened command emphasis and widespread recognition of the need for cultural change.

In 2010, for the first time, the Quadrennial Defense Review highlighted energy security as an issue that requires reform. The report points out that one of the benefits of energy efficiency is providing deployed soldiers with a valuable force multiplier by extending the range and duration of field operations and helping to cut the number of combat forces required to support extended energy supply lines.

Improved energy security has become a top Army priority. Army installations, tactical operations and soldier training all require secure and uninterrupted access to energy. Historically, the Army has provided the power to its critical infrastructure by using traditional backup diesel power generators. With the physical and cyber vulnerability of the commercial grid and fuel supply disruptions, however, these means will not be adequate in the future. The strategy for the future includes a hybrid mix of multiple sources of power including alternative energy such as solar, geothermal, wind and small-scale nuclear. Success will require public-private partnerships with industry, whose expertise and financing are integral to the success of our energy security and sustainability campaigns.

The Army is answering the call and leading the nation in facing some of the great challenges of our time: confronting our dependence on foreign oil; addressing the moral, economic and environmental challenge of global climate change; and building a clean energy future that benefits all Americans. Our Army Energy Security Implementation Strategy (AESlS) provides the Army with a framework for changing its culture and for making energy security an operational imperative.

With AESIS, the Army has a foundation for achieving greater energy security and ensuring that energy is a core element in decision making at all echelons. AESIS is the road map that guides the transformation of the Army's strategic energy policy, installation upgrades and operational initiatives.

Strategic Energy Policy

Acquisition Policy. Managing an assured energy supply, reducing energy demand and efficiently using energy are critical to the Army's operational readiness and force sustainment. In January 2009, the Army published a broad policy requiring that energy productivity - the level of output that we can achieve for the energy we consume - be part of all Army acquisition programs. All new acquisition programs - both new program starts and new increments with energy-consuming end items - must include the fully burdened cost of energy needed for system operation in their total ownership cost analysis. Also, energy productivity must be included in engineering design and development documentation and procurement contracts for end items and major subsystems. This acquisition policy will have a positive second-order impact at our installations as new vehicles and equipment consume less electrical energy and fuel.

Enabling an Energy Security Culture. A seminal Army policy initiative involves changing our culture to ensure awareness and accountability.

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