Aided by powerful computers, the best minds of our day can predict neither financial collapse, IEDs nor pirate resurgences a mere 12 months out, yet the "Father of the Nuclear Navy", Rear Admiral Hyman Rickover, saw the energy future quite clearly from his vantage over 60 years ago:
Fossil fuels resemble capital in the bank. A prudent and responsible parent will use his capital sparingly in order to pass on to his children as much as possible of his inheritance. A selfish and irresponsible parent will squander it in riotous living and care not one whit how his offspring will fare.
Hmm, whether the Admiral was thinking about the US in general, or our military in particular, it's obvious that the DOD's energy policy (until just recently) was not unlike the selfish and irresponsible parent. Only with the advent of the fully burdened cost of fuel (FBCF) and the Energy Efficiency KPP (EEKPP) do we see a glimmer of a responsible impulse re: energy management. And it remains to be seen whether these more responsible, forward looking thoughts will translate into responsible, energy-security enhancing actions.
Here's Rickover's longer statement from 1957 from which the excerpt was taken. Thanks to the Honorable David Chu, Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, for citing Rickover during his presentation at last week's Moorer Military Energy Security Forum at NDU.