Energy Outlook

By Sebastian Sprenger / September 24, 2008 at 5:00 AM

Defense Department officials are poring over a draft version of the Pentagon's energy security plan, slated for release later this year. Members of the powerful Deputy's Advisory Working Group around Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England blessed the document in principle earlier this month, as we've reported.

Word on the status of the plan comes amid a host of energy-related provisions in the newly passed fiscal year 2009 defense authorization legislation. For example, the bill requires the establishment of a senior position at DOD charged with overseeing all energy-related policy issues.

DOD's professed energy policy mantra is not so much about "going green" as it is about increasing the effectiveness of the armed forces. For one, frequent fuel deliveries to the front lines during the Iraq war have proven to be dangerous undertakings that have claimed many lives. In addition, the theory goes, systems that rely on, say, solar or wind power would enable troops a great deal more maneuvering autonomy on the battlefield.

So far, defense officials are keeping the draft energy security plan under wraps, although experts believe the document will contain few new items that the Defense Science Board didn't already address in a report earlier this year.

As with so many strategy documents at the sunset of this administration, the future of the DOD energy security plan is debatable.

Perhaps the next president could recycle it, using it as a starting point for the "operational energy strategy" called for in the FY-09 defense authorization bill.