Green Military: Battlefield Energy Goals Mapped Out

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.

falling fuel, u.s. military energy strategy

image via U.S. Department of Defense

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.

Shifra Mincer is a freelance journalist and passionate tweeter (@Shiframincer) currently living in Israel. Before moving to Israel to apprentice with a homebirth midwife, Shifra worked as Associate Editor of AOL Energy, and was a member of the launch team that got the site up and running. Shifra has over a half a decade of experience in journalism and has written on women's health, green technology, politics and regulation of the energy industry, energy financial news, and local news. While studying for her B.A. at Harvard College, Shifra worked as a news editor for the Harvard Crimson. Shifra is also a yoga teacher and a birth doula and is hoping to create an active Jewish birth community through her web venture www.layda.org.

  • Bob

    OH, PLEASE!!  Renewable Energy for the Department of Death. That sure is money well spent – NOT!

    • Pete Danko

      Bob, thanks for you comment. By your view, I think you might be interesting in my earlier column – 
      http://www.earthtechling.com/2011/12/clean-energy-military-engagement-a-positive-action/

      • Supporter of our Military

        Pete: Nice link, thank you…..I made my point a bit more direct to Bob.

    • Supporter of our Military

      So, let me get this straight……you, “a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it! – Col. Jessep – A few Good Men. I suggest you go live in another country. We,as Americans, may not be perfect, but we are always coming to the aid of others…even during NON military times. So, I suggest you stop your pathetic liberal whining.