Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A DOD without Oil ...

... today, would probably work about as well as the Tin Man at the start of the Wizard of Oz. In fact, in the movie, the only thing that puts him back in motion is oil.

Frequent readers of this blog will note I'm making the case that DOD, far from being a laggard in energy transformation, has compelling mission-based and structural reasons for being out in front in innovation, clearing the way for the rest of the nation. 

I recently found back-up from a guy who penned this fantastic and prescient paper: "War Without Oil: A Catalyst For True Transformation" 2 years ago while at Air War College. Author Col. Michael J. Hornitschek, Zoomie class of 1989 and now Vice Commander, 62nd Airlift Wing, McChord AFB, Washington, has spent a heck of a lot of time in and around tankers including the KC-10 and KC-135. That means a lot of time immersed in the business of fuel, and clearly it went to his head.

On page 3 of his 95 page paper (now linked under "DOD Enery Reports" in this blog's sidebar) Hornitschek nails it:
It is precisely the long acquisition lead times of these petroleum-fueled weapon systems [e.g., F-22A Raptor], in conjunction with their decades-long life cycles [e.g, the 45-year-old B-52 fleet], that will uniquely force the DoD to be the first government agency to address an approaching global oil peak.
I also like the boldness of Chapter 3 - Creating an Assured Energy Strategy, which includes a "Three Stage Approach" as follows:
  • Stage I – 2006-2015 Near Term Strategy
  • Stage II – 2020-2035 Mid Term Strategy
  • Stage III – 2035-2050 The “New Energy Force”
It may not turn out to be right or completely do-able as described. And new things will surely come along that neither the author nor anyone else could have foreseeon, but you've got to admire his guts for laying out a case.  More of this, please.

Photo courtesy of Liem Bahneman @ Flickr

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