Green Military: Battlefield Energy Goals Mapped Out

In line with that original mission, the implementation plan outlined seven concrete steps the military will take, all under supervision of the Defense Operational Energy Board: (1) establish energy consumption baselines and take any action to improve these baselines in the future; (2) improve energy efficiency in operations and training ; (3) promote innovation in operational energy needs; (4) improve operational energy security at fixed installations; (5) promote development of alternative fuels; (6) incorporate energy security considerations into military requirements and acquisition; and (7) adapt policy, doctrine, professional military education and combatant command activities to promote energy security.

The military has been actively changing its consumption of energy in the last few years under the guidance of Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for installations, energy and environment. Among her initiatives has been the net zero program, aimed at dramatically reducing waste by limiting consumption, recycling resources, composting and repurposing “waste” items for more energy.

image via U.S. Marine Corps

That program has already set up 17 test bases intended to consume no more energy, waste or water than they generate by 2020, AOL Energy reported last May. Another recent initiative is a portable, self-sustaining wastewater treatment system,  being developed by researchers at Michigan State University that will allow troops on the front lines to be less dependent on fresh water deliveries.

In Afghanistan, solar and microgrid technology is also already in place and allows soldiers in remote areas to power tents without batteries. That means less to carry in backpacks and longer lasting more efficient power for the camp. The Air Force is changing flight planning and plane loading to save fuel, actions the DOD says will save the Air Force $500 millions in fuel over the next five years. The Navy has also joined the effort and has deployed shipboard hybrid-electric drives, stern flaps and hull and propeller coatings to improve efficiency.

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


  • Reply March 23, 2012


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

    • Reply March 23, 2012

      Pete Danko

      Bob, thanks for you comment. By your view, I think you might be interesting in my earlier column —

      • Reply March 24, 2012

        Supporter of our Military

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

    • Reply March 24, 2012

      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.

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