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In Defense of Clean Energy

In Defense of Clean Energy

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Bracken Hendricks, Daniel J. Weiss, and Lisbeth Kaufman explain the importance of the military's investment in clean energy for our national security.
Bracken Hendricks, Daniel J. Weiss, and Lisbeth Kaufman explain the importance of the military's investment in clean energy for our national security.

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Published by: Center for American Progress on Jun 14, 2011
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06/14/2011

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MemorandumDATE:
June 7
th
, 2011
TO:
INTERESTED PARTIES
FROM:
Bracken Hendricks, Daniel J. Weiss, Lisbeth Kaufman, Center for American Progress
 SUBJECT:
Sustaining DOD Leadership on Energy Security and Innovation
Background
As the United States confronts great challenges to our national security and economiccompetitiveness, Department of Defense leadership on energy security is perhaps more vital thanat any time in our history. This memo outlines how department efforts to meet energy securitychallenges are already reducing risks for military personnel, safeguarding America’s globalstrategic interests, and cost effectively ensuring troop readiness. DOD commitments to research,development, and deployment of innovative energy technologies are equally critical to the growthof jobs and civilian industries. Therefore, at this moment of tight budgets and tough choices,preserving America’s commitment to energy security must remain a top priority for our nationaldefense and the health of our economy.Today, energy security has risen tohe highest level of defense priorities. The 2010 QuadrennialDefense Review identified energy security concerns as one of four key priorities for reformingDepartment of Defense operations.
1
 For continued progress on this issue, the DOD must sustain itscommitment to existing programs that are working within the branches of the military to sustainenergy innovation, and Congress and the administration must ensure ongoing support for keypolicies.The DOD has already made great strides in advancing energy security through operationalimprovements to the department’s installations, which cover 29 million acres, and include539,000 buildings and structures valued at more than $700 billion.
2
 With so many facilities, DOD’sinvestment in energy efficiency and renewable technologies can greatly influence the cost andmarket for advanced energy technology.The DOD has a history of developing key technologies like the Internet, GPS, and robotics systems,all of which later had significant commercial application. Clean energy and energy efficiencytechnologies represent an important new wave of advanced technologies that DOD deploys, whichwill speed commercial applications of tremendous economic importance. In recent years, the DODhas made great progress in improving procurement, R&D, and deployment of advanced renewableand efficient energy technologies in both installations and operational theaters. These efforts haveclearly improved military readiness while cutting the cost of vital services, and helping to create
 
Center for American Progress (06/07/11)
2jobs and grow domestic industries. In an era of constrained budgets and high unemployment, thecost cutting and job creating effects of these efforts remain crucial to economic recovery.There is a long bipartisan tradition of support for Defense related technology innovation. In 2007President George Bush signed into law the Energy Independence Security Act, or EISA. Section 526of EISA requires any federal agency to consider the lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions associatedwith the production and combustion of alternative and synthetic fuels and ensure that they are“less than or equal to such emissions from the equivalent conventional fuel produced fromconventional petroleum sources.”
 3
 This legislative requirement has spurred the DOD to focus on reduction of oil use through thedevelopment of more efficient vehicles, aircraft, and vessels, as well as the production of cleaneradvanced biofuels. Unfortunately the House recently passed the National Defense AuthorizationAct, H.R. 1540, which would exempt DOD from restrictions on using fuels dirtier than conventionalones.
4
 Enactment of this provision could slow or halt the development of cleaner fuels, and put themilitary under tremendous pressure to use dirty coal over liquid-and tar sands-based fuels.Similarly, the Department of Defense has used its procurement powers to reduce the strategicvulnerability of its installations and personnel, not just through reductions in oil dependence, but through a broad commitment to energy conservation and development of domestic renewableelectricity and advanced materials. The branches of the military are empowering front linesoldiers with new energy technology that reduces strategic vulnerability, and deploying “net-zeroenergy” bases at home that produce more energy than they consume through the use of securemicrogrids and energy efficient and renewable energy generation.These efforts are supported through the work of DOD initiatives like the Environmental Securityand Technology Certification Program, the Energy Conservation Investment Program, theStrategic Environmental Research and Development Program, and numerous partnerships withuniversities and federal agencies. Through these efforts, DOD has sustained vital research andearly phase deployment efforts that sustain the growth of domestic technologies and U.S.companies. While these efforts are not directly threatened by repeal of the EISA’s clean energyprovisions, the administration and congress must remain vigilant that such essential programsreceive robust and sustained support through tough economic times.This memo highlights the existing legacy of success within the Department of Defense resultingfrom these highly effective efforts, and outlines the military and strategic case for a redoubledcommitment to such energy security investments within the DoD in coming years.
Meeting energy security objectives to support DOD’s strategic mission
 
Clean and efficient energy are essential for troop readiness. Military planners have underscoredthat energy efficiency is a force multiplier. It increases the range and endurance of forces in thefield while reducing the number of combat forces diverted to protect energy supply lines fromattacks and disruptions.
 
Center for American Progress (06/07/11)
3Energy security means providing assured access to reliable supplies of energy, and the ability toprotect and deliver sufficient energy to meet operational needs., “Crafting a Strategic Approach toClimate and Energy”
 
is highlighted in the Quadrennial Defense Review as one of the four highest-tier requirements for improving energy security and reforming how the U.S. military doesbusiness.
5
 The QDR further notes that pursuing energy security and economic stability are inextricablylinked. Ending dependence on oil, for example, has both profound security and economicdimensions.Secretary othe Navy Ray Mabussays that the U.S. military should “take the lead” on ending oil dependence.
 6
 He believes that “the Navy can be a market” for biofuels use, which willhelp speed the development and commercialization of advanced biofuels for both military andcivilian use.Similarly, the Army notes that a military investment in clean energy technologies “creates newproducts, new business opportunities for a ready market” and “reduces R&D cost and risk of entryfor commercial businesses.” And early adoption of these technologies by theDefense Department provides certainty to investors that there will be a market for new products.
 7
 DoD has outlined a number of strategic energy security objectives that are central to the defenseof the nation. These include:1.
 
Securing reliable energy access to meet operational needs
 .
DOD has set a goal of “incorporating geostrategic and operational energy considerations into force planning,requirements development, and acquisition processes.”
8
 DOD must fully implement thesemeasures as a top priority to ensure operational readiness and reduce long-term operatingcosts.2.
 
Continuing to upgrade energy technology at DOD domestic facilities
 .
Grid instabilityand the vulnerability of military installations to energy supply disruptions threaten thereadiness of US forces. DOD has undertaken a coordinated energy assessment andassessment of critical assets, including prioritization of investments in energy efficiency,renewable electricity production, and smart grid distribution. These efforts protect criticalinstallations from power outages caused by natural disasters, accidents, or terrorist attacks, and have been identified as key to national defense.
3.
 
Expanding procurement of renewables, efficiency, and smart grids
 .
DOD has become aleader in building the market for innovative energy efficiency and renewable energytechnologies developed by the private sector and U.S. Department of Energy laboratories.The Environmental Security and Technology Certification Program, which is the DOD’senvironemtnal technology demonstration and validation program, has been central fordemonstrating key technologies in military installations. The Energy ConservationInvestment Program which focuses on projects that save energy or reduce Defense energycosts, has also been instrumental in deploying innovative energy projects. The DOD shouldalso continue to partner with academia, other U.S. agencies, and international partners toresearch, develop, test, and evaluate sustainable energy technologies.
 

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