Our military, energy efficiency and alternative fuels

Posted By on August 15, 2011

I’m archiving a bit from Jackalyne Pfannenstiel’s letter to the WSJ editor Phannenstielthat was in the paper this past weekend which reflects my point of view when it comes to alternatives and efficiency in the U.S. military. Most of us know that all branches of the armed forces are making strides to lessen their dependency on oil, but not everyone has fully thought through the impact on implication if we aren’t efficient or independent from foreign source of fuel. Although I’m a supporter of having the best defense possible, I don’t believe we need to do it “at all costs,” or better put … while wasting money. I’m partial to the sentiment of Pfannenstiel’s letter, but her title in my opinion demonstrates that we are top heavy in Washington DC administrative staff and should have no problem trimming the militaries budget along with 90% of the federal budget – her title is: Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations and Equipment.

The Marine Corps, for example, is deploying Marine-tested, combat-ready renewable energy technologies in Afghanistan resulting in two patrol bases being operated entirely on renewable energy. Marine patrols that normally require a battery resupply every two to three days can now go three weeks between resupplies, extending their operational reach. For the Navy, new hull and propeller coatings, stern flaps and future engine modifications are going to save five million barrels per year at sea by 2020, again returning mission capability to our warfighters.

Alternative fuels are critically important as a hedge against the risk to a single source of energy, as well as a way to assure that we can continue to perform our mission. Domestically sourced, advanced drop-in biofuels that do not adversely impact food, water, or land use provide a significant opportunity for the department to reduce its dependence on foreign sources of fuel. Today, solutions exist, are being scaled and further driven toward economic parity that have substantially different implications than past generations of biofuels.

Energy efficiency, alternative fuels and energy technologies significantly enhance our combat capabilities. Having a unified position across the Department of the Navy, we can lead the nation toward a more independent, more secure energy future.


Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.
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