Unveiled last June, the U.S. military‘s Operational Energy Strategy, “Energy for the Warfighter,” is a call for greater energy efficiency in military operations, something the Pentagon says will save money and lives.
Now the Department of Defense (DOD) is ready to turn these goals into reality, unveiling an implementation plan for the energy strategy, complete with seven specific targets and goals that will provide a roadmap its energy efficiency and renewable energy strategies across the military.
According to the DOD, department operations wound up consuming 5 billion gallons of fuel last year alone, at a cost of about $13 billion. In Afghanistan, the military burns through about 50 million gallons of fuel a month and 70 percent of the total logistics movement is fuel or water. But the real costs of dependence on energy during wartime can also be measured in terms of lives lost whilst moving and guarding fuel on the battlefield. According to Sharon Burke, assistant secretary of defense for operational energy plans and programs, more than 60 percent of the 3,000 U.S. combat deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan have come from attacks on fuel convoys.
“We have lost many lives delivering fuel to bases around Afghanistan,” General David Petraeus wrote in a memorandum on energy issued last June. “We can and will do better.” In the letter, Patraeus outlined several steps by which energy can be used more wisely, including a plan to set up a special office who job will be to improve energy efficiency.
The goal of “Energy for the Warfighter” (the full document can be read here) was to dramatically reduce energy consumption and expand use of alternative energy sources, such as solar generated electricity and biofuels.