SEN. JOHN THUNE:
Last month Air Force Secretary Donnelly ... signed an Air Force energy program policy memorandum establishing the goals of certifying the entire Air Force fleet to use a synthetic fuel blend by the year 2011, and to require 50 percent of the Air Force's domestic aviation fuel requirement be an alternative fuel blend by the year 2016.... do you think that the Air Force's energy initiative regarding synthetic and alternative fuels is something that should be considered for department-wide implementation?
Yes ... one of the transition papers that was prepared for my successor had to do with a consolidation of oversight within the Department of Defense on energy-related issues that would enable it. We have many individual programs in the Department of Defense oriented toward energy conservation and toward alternative fuels, but there is no one place where it all comes together for oversight or [for the] sharing of ideas or the sharing of technologies and so on.
I think that, if I'm not mistaken, there is a position provided for in the department at a fairly senior level to do this. And it would be my intention to fill that position, to accomplish what you just suggested, but with a broader mandate than that.
He's right about the disparate islands of energy activity at present, and about the new but vacant leadership position. It was established late last year, and is called the "Director for Operational Energy Plans and Programs." Let's hope he fills it fast.