Monday, December 14, 2009

Director of Operational Energy Plans and Programs (DOEPP) Announced ... Finally !!!

June/July 2010 Update: Paydirt! Burke's been confirmed ... see here.
March 2010 Update: Progress! We've gone from nomination to testimony and questioning before the Senate Armed Services Committee ... documented here.
At times it's felt like Beckett's "Waiting for Godot" where the two hapless characters Vladimir and Estragon (and the equally hapless audience) wait and wonder whether the guy in the title is ever going to show. So much of what DOD needs done on energy has been bottled up, waiting for the DOEPP to show up.

Well, after months that seemed like years (hmmm, maybe it was years), things took a promising turn a few weeks ago when the stage crew got orders to build the set: word came that money'd been allocated to stand up the office. And then about a week ago, Sharon Burke, who's recently been running the Natural Security program at CNAS, blogged that she'd been tapped for this position by President Obama.

She's been a big part of my education over the past few years and certainly informed the recent Case for Operational Energy Metrics paper. Here's Burke's career summary from the White House press release:
Sharon E. Burke has had more than twenty years of experience as a national security and energy security professional, including service in the Federal government and non-profit organizations. Currently, she is a Vice President at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), a Washington-D.C.-based national security research center. At CNAS, Ms. Burke focuses on "Natural Security," a program she originated that examines the national security implications of global natural resources supplies. In that capacity, she has published several studies on energy security and climate change. Previously, she served as a high-level advisor in the United States government, including as a Member of the Policy Planning Staff at the Department of State, a Country Director in the Department of Defense, and a speechwriter to the Secretary of Defense. She also worked in the Energy and Materials program of the U.S. Office of Technology Assessment. Ms. Burke graduated from Williams College and was a Zuckerman Fellow at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs, where she focused on international energy policy and earned a Certificate of Middle Eastern Studies.
From the legislation, here's a list of her duties should she make it through the process:

The Director shall:
  1. Provide leadership and facilitate communication regarding, and conduct oversight to manage and be accountable for, operational energy plans and programs within the Department of Defense and the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps;
  2. Establish the operational energy strategy;
  3. Coordinate and oversee planning and program activities of the Department of Defense and the Army, Navy, Air Force, and the Marine Corps related to:
  • Implementation of the operational energy strategy;
  • The consideration of operational energy demands in defense planning, requirements, and acquisition processes; and
  • Research and development investments related to operational energy demand and supply technologies; and
And lastly, monitor and review all operational energy initiatives in the Department of Defense. I'm relieved to see there's movement. Burke's definitely got mountains to move and it's far too early to tell how much she's going to be able to get done. But one thing was certain, DOD Energy mountains don't move themselves. And one person can't do it alone. I vote we all work to make Burke a very big success.\

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