Sunday, December 20, 2009

Year in Review: Top 10 DOD Energy Events of 2009

Not sure if you'll agree, but from my vantage point, this was the first year that merits a DOD Energy top ten. Folks who've been at this enterprise a long time, like Tom Morehouse and Chris DiPetto at OSD (and a small handful of others in the Services), have been doing energy grunt work without a heck of a lot of support or credit (that's my take, not theirs). Over the past decade there have been isolated wins and signs of improvement, but nothing sustained.

But this year something changed, and I have to give credit to the increasing strength of the convoy connection. It's finally shown everyone that being smart and proactive on energy issues isn't the domain of Birkenstock wearing, granola eating, tree hugging peace-nicks. The clear (and easy to understand and communicate) link between fuel convoys and 1) causalities, 2) costs, and 3) mission degradation.

I'm sure I'm leaving a lot out (that's a good thing). But without further adieu, here's the list for the year, in no particular order:
  1. Gigantic Army solar installation off the ground at Fort Irwin in California's Mojave Desert to advance conversation beyond Nellis. Score - Fort Irwin: 500+ Megawatts, Nellis AFB: 14 Megawatts
  2. Boeing's high tech, super efficient 787 Dreamliner finally flew. Basis for future tanker/transport? 
  3. Convoy lessons brought the concept of proactive energy planning fully out of its Birkenstock phase ... for everyone.
  4. Energy audits in Afghanistan commence with Marines. It's called MEAT, for Marine Energy Assessment Team, see here and here
  5. Like DARPA to advance US space tech post Sputnik, ARPA-E's mission is to turbocharge US competitiveness in energy tech (ET).
  6. 3 of the 4 Services hold major confs exclsively on energy issues. The Navy version in particular generated a huge amount of great info.
  7. The first Military Operational Research Society (MORS) workshop on power and energy brought analysts together to advance thinking on energy security and energy metrics in requirements and logistics planning process. We're expecting some out-brief artifacts soon.
  8. Energy war games all over the place, including NDU and GovEnergy and more.
  9. Candidate to fill the long-open Director for Operational Energy Plans and Programs (DOEPP) position finally nominated.
  10. Self promotion alert: my paper on operational energy metrics got published by NDU/JFQ.
I believe we've got the Mo now, and 2010 promises to build on 2009 with international conferences on military energy with the UK's MOD and others, more energy audits and tactical renewables deployments in theater, and a DOEPP approved and up and running, connecting DOD energy islands by providing leadership and strategy from the center. I'm looking forward to seeing this play out, and will cover it all here ... after a short break. Happy Holidays to all !!!

No comments: