Monday, April 13, 2009

2009 Pentagon Energy Priority: Save Soldiers' Lives

Saving money is one thing; saving soldiers' lives is quite another. This article from today's WAPO provides a rundown of the Pentagon is spending stimulus money and other funds to reduce convoy traffic in war zones via a wide variety of approaches. According to the Post, citing OSD's Al Shaffer and Army BG Steven Anderson, while a number of benefits will likely accrue from this work, there's one that trumps them all:
By some estimates, about half of the U.S. military casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan are related to attacks with improvised explosive devices on convoys, many of which are carrying fuel. As of March 20, 3,426 service members had been killed by hostile fire in Iraq, 1,823 of them victims of IEDs. "Every time you bring a gallon of fuel forward, you have to send a convoy," said Alan R. Shaffer, director of defense research and engineering at the Pentagon. "That puts people's lives at risk." "The honest-to-God truth, the most compelling reason to do it is it saves lives," said Brig. Gen. Steven Anderson, director of operations and logistics for the Army. "It takes drivers off the road."
Perhaps the protection of troops will succeed in altering DOD behavior where money savings and mission assurance has not.

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