Defense

July 13, 2012

DOD must have petroleum fuel alternatives, official says

by Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

Smart investing and less reliance on petroleum-based fuels will help ensure an agile, lethal and adaptable combat force, and ultimately, national security, a senior Pentagon official said here today during an Energy Department-hosted conference.

During “Biomass 2012: Confronting Challenges, Creating Opportunities – Sustaining a Commitment to Bioenergy,” Sharon Burke, assistant secretary of defense for operational energy plans and programs, called biofuels and alternative fuels “sustainable and reliable” ways the United States can accomplish the defense mission.

“Energy security is about international stability and prosperity and that is fundamentally an issue of national security,” Burke said. “We’re looking for fuels that are compatible with our existing equipment and storage infrastructure and a cost-competitive alternative fuels market.”

Although accounting for less than 1 percent of all domestic energy use, the Defense Department remains the single largest consumer of energy in the nation, Burke said.

“Last year, our energy bills totaled $20 billion and we consumed about 5 billion gallons of petroleum,” she explained, adding that 75 percent of DOD’s consumption is operational energy required for training, moving and sustaining military equipment and weapons.

“The department is going to have ships, planes and vehicles that were designed to use petroleum fuels for a very long time to come,” Burke said. “[Alternative fuels] investment ensures our equipment can operate on a wide range of fuels, and that’s important for our readiness over the long term.” Burke also noted the DOD’s long history of innovation and the role bioenergy will play in future missions.

“Hydrogen-powered unmanned aerial vehicles have the potential to achieve much longer mission durations than those that are powered by traditional petroleum-based products, … and the department is interested in technologies that can generate fuel or energy at a tactical location.”

“The Army, Navy, Air Force and the Marines have all recognized the vulnerability of our singular dependence on petroleum,” Burke said. “They’ve all taken a first step toward a different future by certifying their equipment to operate on a range of alternative fuels, … and that certification activity is really important.”

Burke said her office coordinated with the services and key defense agencies to form an alternative fuels policy for operational platforms.

“It articulates the defense interest in alternative fuels to ensure operational military readiness, improve battlespace effectiveness and further flexibility of military operations through the ability to use multiple, reliable fuel sources,” she said.

The policy also establishes clear guidelines for future investment in alternative fuels for testing and certification activities, field demonstrations and bulk purchases to meet operational requirements beyond those certification and demonstration activities.

“With this policy in place, … we will definitely continue to have a strong commitment to alternative fuels to enhance the capability of the joint force,” she said.

Burke said the issue isn’t whether or when biofuels will trump petroleum in terms of price and availability. Rather, she said, it’s whether the United States will be primed for viable alternatives.

“Today we have to keep investing in the legacy economy because our global prosperity depends on it,” she said. “We will have the energy we need to defend the American people, [and] I believe … alternative fuels will be an important part of that future.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Army photograph

Fifth generation Army tank cartridge reports loudly for duty

Army photograph A new tank cartridge was recently tested at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. Pictured here are: (from left) Kent Evans, TRADOC Capability Manager – Armored Brigade Combat Team; Kevin Mulligan, Armament Researc...
 
 

Acquisition community works to improve tradecraft

Everything the defense acquisition community is doing now is being done to improve its tradecraft, Katrina G. McFarland, the assistant secretary of defense for acquisition said April 16. McFarland made the comments at the National Defense Industrial Associations National Logistics Forum. Improving tradecraft is something DOD would want to do in the best of times,...
 
 
B1a

B-1B software upgrade to ensure future warfighting capabilities

Air Force photograph by Ethan Wagner An Edwards B-1B Lancer takes off on April 1, 2014, to begin testing its new Sustainment Block 16A software upgrades. The SB 16A software will work in conjunction with the long-range bomberĂ­...
 

 

45th Space Wing launches NRO Satellite on board Atlas V

The 45th Space Wing successfully launched a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., at 1:45 p.m. April 10 carrying a classified national security payload. The payload was designed and built by the National Reconnaissance Office. “I am proud of the persistence and focus of the...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Carlin Leslie

Smarter spending for Air Force acquisitions

Air Force photograph by SSgt. Carlin Leslie Maj. Gen. Wendy Masiello briefs attendees April 16, 2014, on how today’s budget environment is driving change for both government and industry as part of the Air Force Associati...
 
 
DOD photograph by Marine Corps Sgt. Aaron Hostutler

U.S., Poland defense leaders find new areas for cooperation

DOD photograph by Marine Corps Sgt. Aaron Hostutler Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel hosts a press briefing with Poland’s Minister of National Defense Tomasz Siemoniak at the Pentagon, April 17, 2014. Amid deep concerns about...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>