The folks over at sister publication Defense Environment Alert are reporting this week that the Army and Navy are pushing to define the guidelines of their future energy policies, focusing on energy savings and increased self-reliance for the military services, before the Bush administration leaves office:
The Army's effort will attempt to establish a prescriptive, apolitical energy policy that officials say should nonetheless be in line with the incoming Obama administration, and, due to its necessity, be long-lasting. The Navy also expects to lay out plans for a new energy policy by time Obama takes office.
The Army’s drive to cut energy use and make itself more energy independent within 15 years will take on concrete form before Bush leaves the White House Jan. 20, Keith Eastin, assistant service secretary for installations and environment, told delegates to an Army-sponsored energy conference Nov. 17.
"This energy initiative . . . has been a long time coming, and will live long beyond this administration and hopefully the next," Eastin said.
The Army unveiled the energy initiative last month. Under the effort, Army bases will attempt to become net exporters of energy using a variety of methods, including renewable, alternative and conventional energy sources, while energy savings in transportation at forward operating bases are also envisioned:
The changes are driven by unstable energy prices and concerns over energy security, rather than politics, Eastin said. The changes will boost Army energy policy beyond its traditional focus on easily attainable energy savings measures at installations.
Addressing why the Army has left this policy shift until so late in the current administration, Eastin said: "We want to leave a little legacy for everybody else to work with." Earlier this year, Eastin recruited former Air Force energy expert Paul Bollinger to be his junior in the newly renamed post of deputy assistant Army secretary for energy and partnerships.
A draft strategic implementation plan for the energy initiative will be drawn up by Dec. 8, based on the results of consultations with industry at the Nov. 17 event, according to Bollinger. Multiple Army commands will then scrutinize the draft plan and the modified product will be presented to the Army’s new senior energy council Jan. 7. Army Secretary Pete Geren will then sign off on the plan.
The Navy, meanwhile, is the last of the three services to get into the energy act, with a new high-level initiative under preparation that will set up an "executive committee" to establish a strategy to be presented to the next Navy secretary, DEA reported.
Pat Tamburrino, assistant deputy chief of naval operations for fleet readiness and logistics, told the conference that the Navy’s strategy is still "embryonic," but will be "three-pronged." The three elements are doctrine, investment in new equipment, and security of supply, he said.
As for the Air Force, Mike Aimone, the service's deputy chief of staff for logistics, installations and mission support, said the Air Force will press ahead with its goal to supply half of its domestic fuel requirements from domestic, synthetic fuel sources, using primarily coal-to-liquids (CTL) fuels. Since the price of oil has now dropped sharply from its peak over the summer, the driving force for this program is now energy security, rather than cost, Aimone said.
For more of InsideDefense.com's coverage of the military's efforts to reduce fuel consumption and explore alternative energy sources, click here.
-- John Liang