Monday, June 14, 2010

Army Renewables Rodeo Report

6/17/10 Update just in from author Dan Nolan: I think the hospitality of the El Paso community (Thanks, Dave and Bec!) had not worn off by the time of my post. I misspelled Col Joe Simonelli's name. Joe is an unforgettable guy and a ball of fire, so I feel bad about my carelessness. He and his staff did a magnificent job of pulling this event together and to get his name wrong is inexcusable. Enough mea culpa? Margaritas on me!"


Unflappable, indefatigable, and unsinkable as always, here's Sabot 6's Dan Nolan with another dispatch from the slowly (but steadily) evolving DOD Energy universe. As a observant reader noted, "sounds like 1.5 steps forward, 1 step back":
Just returned from the Fort Bliss Tank and Automotive Research and Development Command (TARDEC) two-day Renewable Energy Rodeo and Symposium in balmy El Paso Texas. The event, hosted by Major General (MG) Bromberg, the Commanding General of Fort Bliss, and Dr. Bochenek, Director, TARDEC, featured 50 industry and government displays and over 200  attendees. The idea for this event came out of last year's Association of the United States Army Symposium in Washington D.C.. MG Bromberg and Dr. Bochenek were panelists on an Energy breakout session, and their conversation became an unprecedented collaboration between the U.S. Army's Research and Development Command (RDECOM) and their Training and Doctrine Command.
All of the major defense industry players were there as well as some very interesting new comers. Dr. Bochenek and MG Bromberg even brought in the Department of Energy, the ubiquitous Richard Kidd, Director of the Federal Energy Management Program. Mr. Kidd has been tireless in promoting greater interaction between DOD and DOE and he deserves recognition for his efforts. There were many great panel discussions with subject matter experts from DoE labs, the Army Corps of Engineers, and even DoD in the form of Drex Kleber, the Tony Robbins of the "Green Hawks". As the last speaker of the last panel on the last day, Drex was between us and a beer, yet he keep everyone's attention with a great discussion on why we do not need Culture Change, we need Culture Exploitation to create behavior change. Check him out at the next energy conference, bar mitzvah or mall opening he does. 
As good as the conference was, it was notable for who was not there. I will admit I am a bit of a glass half empty guy on this subject. The discussion on Enhanced Expeditionary Energy Self-Sufficiently was given by Dr. John Barnett from the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) and veteran of the Marine Energy Assessment Team's (MEAT) deployment to Afghanistan. Dr. John did a great job, but I would like to have from someone in Training and Doctrine Command describe how we are considering the deployed energy challenge in terms of doctrine, training, organizations, leader development, material, and soldiers.
Dr. Cynthia Lundgren from the Army Research Lab (ARL) did a decent job discussing Army Energy Initiatives, but I was hoping that someone from the acquisition community could also have been there to discuss current efforts like the HI-Power program. DOD really did try to answer, then-USMC MG Zilmer's 2006 request for hybrid power with $30 million to the Army, but there was no one there who was knowledgeable on the program. Finally, the Corps of Engineers was ably represented by Stacy Hirata, Chief of Installation Support, but I could find no one from Installation Management Command or Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management in the crowd other than some folks from Fort Irwin and Fort Bliss. Their absence was definitely noticed. 
Despite the holes in the attendee list, MG Bromberg and Dr. Bochenek are to be saluted for stepping up to the plate for the Army on energy. For an organization consumed with the daily prosecution of two wars, the health and well being of an over stressed force and the critical impact of the SecDef's recent decision to spend real money on those wars, they were able to pull it off. I also want to commend their staff for making it happen; this was no mean feat to execute in the short time they had. Well done COL Simonelli and staff.
Sadly, we were informed that MG Bromberg would be leaving his command for a new assignment. I hope it comes with another star and greater authority. We need him. The good news is that he will be succeeded by MG Dana Pittard, late of HQ, TRADOC and a former commander of the National Training Center at Fort Irwin. MG Pittard has been in the energy security arena since his days at Irwin and I am sure he will take up the torch from MG Bromberg for Fort Bliss. Again, thanks to everyone who made this such a superb conference. See you in Dallas for GovEnergy.
Thanks Dan. Myself and many DOD Energy Blog readers will be joining you there.

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