Sunday, March 1, 2009

Reader response to "DOD Overstimulated"

This just in from KTA on last Friday's stimulus post; it's a good one:
The author here is absolutely correct: there is a tremendously ironic possibility that the energy efficiency money is going to be frittered away in the most inefficient manner. However, that doesn't HAVE to be the case. Yes, the money is directed to the services and, as such, each service will make it's own expenditure decisions. This is going to increase the number of individuals who have their own agenda and pet projects. This will lead to  decentralized and uncoordinated efforts that will not have the power of synergy.  However, there are BIG projects, that can be undertaken service-wide, or, with SecDef guidance, DoD wide, which could yield tremendous efficiency gains.  They are not sexy and they are not likely to be on any base/post/garrison commander's wish list of projects.  But undertaking a coordinated, demand reduction program would create significant and measurable gains in energy efficiency and have the added effect of short payback periods.

Maybe a DoD-wide effort to retro-fit every appropriate ceiling/roof/attic with closed cell spray polyurethane foam isn't going to excite anyone. Maybe changing lighting and windows makes us all yawn.  And maybe doing so would anger every commander whose pet-project would not get funded. But significant efficiencies can be gained by making a bold decision at the outset. 

Choose to the right thing even if it's unpopular. The benefits are there for the taking. Such an action would be consistent with the appropriation and avoid the delay that will come in attempting to be responsive to the many and varied voices crying out for congressional dollars. This decision really isn't that hard. But it would require bold, decisive, strong leadership, whether from Secretary Gates or Secretaries Winter, Donley and Green. 

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