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US Department of Defense releases roadmap to transform energy use in military operations

The US Department of Defense (DoD) released the Operational Energy Strategy Implementation Plan. The plan establishes seven specific targets and associated near-term activities keyed to the goals of the Operational Energy Strategy, which was released in June 2011. (Earlier post.) Together, the Strategy and Implementation Plan will serve as a roadmap to transform the way the Department of Defense uses energy in military operations.

The Operational Energy Strategy outlines a three-fold approach: More Fight, Less Fuel: Reduce Demand for Energy in Military Operations; More Options, Less Risk: Expand and Secure Energy Supplies for Military Operations; and More Capability, Less Cost: Build Energy Security into the Future Force. Each of these three strategic goals has associated targets under the Implementation Plan.

More Fight, Less Fuel. The goal here is to reduce the overall demand for operational energy and improve the efficiency of military energy use in order to enhance combat effectiveness and reduce risks and costs for military missions. To achieve this strategic goal, the Department will measure its operational energy consumption; improve energy performance in operations and training; and promote defense energy innovation. Specific targets include:

  1. Measure Operational Energy Consumption. This will include establishing operational energy consumption baselines and then improving and updating these operational energy baselines.

  2. Improve Energy Performance and Efficiency in Operations and Training. The Combatant Commands will report to the Defense Operational Energy Board (3rd Quarter FY 2012 and recurring) on how they guide their forces to improve energy performance and efficiency in operations and the effectiveness of this guidance. The report will assess the effectiveness of rapid fielding of fuel demand management improvements by the Military Departments, including energy efficiency and alternative generation technologies, to Afghanistan and other locations in support of contingency operations. The intent of this task is to improve the alignment of capabilities with theater requirements and identify DoD-wide approaches to remediating any recognized shortfalls.

    The Military Departments will also report to the Defense Operational Energy Board (3rd Quarter FY 2012) progress against their own current or updated energy performance goals and metrics and demonstrate how such progress supports the Operational Energy Strategy priority to reduce the demand for fuel and increase capability in military operations.

    Finally, the Defense Operational Energy Board will develop Departmental operational energy performance metrics to promote the energy efficiency of military operations by the end of FY 2012. The Board may establish a working group to develop these metrics, in consultation with the DoD Components and based on the consumption baselines provided by the Military Departments and Defense agencies.

  3. Promote Operational Energy Innovation. The Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (ASD(R&E)) will identify investment gaps in the Department’s science and technology (S&T) portfolio necessary to reduce demand, improve system efficiency, and expand supply alternatives, as articulated in the Operational Energy Strategy.

More Options, Less Risk. DoD is to diversify and secure military energy supplies in order to improve the ability of US forces to obtain the energy required to perform their missions. To achieve this goal, the Department will identify and remediate energy-related risks to critical assets and establish a Departmental policy for alternative fuels.

  1. Improve Operational Energy Security at Fixed Installations. The Military Departments and other asset owners will brief the Defense Operational Energy Board (3rd Quarter FY 2012 and recurring) on energy-related risks to fixed installations that directly support military operations, to include those identified through Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and America’s Security Affairs’ (ASD(HD&ASA)) Defense Critical Infrastructure Program (DCIP).

  2. Promote the Development of Alternative Fuels. At the Defense Operational Energy Board (2nd Quarter FY 2012), ASD(OEPP) will present a draft Departmental policy on alternative fuels. The Defense Operational Energy Board may recommend a final policy to ASD(OEPP), revising and updating its recommendation as needed.

    The Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manufacturing and Industrial Base Policy (DASD(MIBP)) will present to the Defense Operational Energy Board (4th Quarter FY 2012) a briefing on joint investments in alternative fuels using Defense Production Act (DPA) authorities.

More Capability, Less Cost. To provide energy security and enhanced warfighting capability for US forces in the future, the Department will consider energy security in strategic planning and force development. To achieve this goal, the Department will incorporate energy security considerations into the requirements and acquisition processes and adapt policy, doctrine, professional military education (PME), and Combatant Command activities.

  1. Incorporate Energy Security Considerations into Requirements and Acquisition. The Military Departments will report to the Defense Operational Energy Board (3rd Quarter FY 2012 and recurring) on how they are using or modifying analytic techniques and modeling and simulation (M&S) tools to account for operational energy considerations in force planning, capability gap analyses, and requirements development and acquisition program-related analyses.

    The Joint Staff, US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), and the Military Departments will meet the congressional intent of an energy performance attribute in the requirements development process.

    The Military Departments will also develop and apply Fully Burdened Cost of Energy (FBCE) analyses throughout the acquisition process. The Military Departments will report overall progress on implementing FBCE to the Defense Operational Energy Board (3rd Quarter FY 2012).

  2. Adapt Policy, Doctrine, Professional Military Education, and Combatant Command Activities. The Joint Staff and Military Departments will report to the Defense Operational Energy Board (4th Quarter FY 2012) on how policy, doctrine, and PME will support reduced energy demand, expanded energy supply, and future force development.

    As appropriate and consistent with annual classified guidance to the Combatant Commands, the Joint Staff and Combatant Commands will report to the Defense Operational Energy Board (4th Quarter FY 2012) on command measures to incorporate Operational Energy Strategy goals into theater campaign plans, security cooperation initiatives, joint and combined exercises, and other activities designed to achieve theater and country objectives.

Smart use of energy can be a strategic advantage for the US military against our adversaries. As we continue to invest in the best military force to defend America today and tomorrow, I want the department to harness the best energy innovations at all levels, from the individual warfighter to the largest installation, to enhance our operational effectiveness and deliver more bang for the buck.

—Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta

To oversee the execution of these efforts, Panetta has directed the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Plans and Programs Sharon E. Burke to co-lead a Defense Operational Energy Board with a designee of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The chairman has designated the Director for Logistics, Lt. Gen. Brooks Bash.

The department has already made significant combat energy improvements. In Afghanistan, US forces have fielded improved generators, microgrids, energy-efficient shelters, air conditioners, and tactical solar to reduce fuel use on the battlefield and cut the number of fuel convoys vulnerable to attack. At sea, the Navy has deployed shipboard hybrid-electric drives, stern flaps and hull and propeller coatings to improve efficiency. By optimizing flight patterns, routing, and cargo loading, the Air Force will avoid $500 million in fuel costs in the next five years.


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