Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Army Energy Leadership on Display

From the AUSA Meeting and Convention, Washington D.C. Today, members of the Army leadership focused on the challenges of energy security for a Service fighting two wars and under the stress of nine years of continuous conflict. With the massive and immediate burdens of maintain the health, welfare and effectiveness of the Soldiers, their families and the mechanism of war it is often difficult to look over the horizon and consider the implication of our profligate energy use. For the Army, despite a letter signed by the Secretary, CSA and CSMA, it has not been a top 10 priority. Until today.

The panel was hosted by HON Katherine Hammack Assistant Secretary of the Army Installations, Energy and Environment and composed of LTG Robert L. Van Antwerp, Jr. Chief of Engineers/Commanding General United States Army Corps of Engineers; LTG Michael A. Vane Director, Army Capabilities Integration Center, United States Army Training and Doctrine Command and LTG Rick Lynch, Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management/Commanding General, Installation Management Command. Dr. Marilyn M. Freeman, Ph.D. Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research and Technology was supposed to speak, but was unable to attend and sent a gentlemen who showed us slogans disguised as equations.

One of Ms. Hammond’s first announcements was that of Richard Kidd as the new DASA, Energy and Partnership (see previous entry). Welcome back to the Army, Rich.

The surprise of the morning was the two unlisted leadoff hitters: Under Secretary of the Army, Dr. Joseph Westphal (pictured) and the new leader of the Army Greenhawks, Vice Chief of Staff Pete Chiarelli. Dr. Westphal reminisced about his days in the Carter Administration and Carter’s "Crisis of Confidence speech and its plan to end our addiction to foreign oil. This was clearly an idea whose time had not yet come. Dr. Westphal now has an opportunity to bring an old idea to a new, more receptive audience. GEN Chiarelli continued his theme pushing the speed of deployment of technologies and techniques that reduce the burden of fuel and energy at forward operating bases and installations. He emphasized the importance of the execution of the Army Energy Security Implementation Strategy (AESIS). He also does a great Alex Rodriguez impersonation.

We will follow with more detail on the presentations by each of the empanelled speakers, but the significance of this event was the appearance of the Army’s second most senior leaders in uniform and mufti. Their presence and remarks indicated a sea change (dirt change?) in how the Army looks at energy. The next most significant event to watch for is the application of resource to the AESIP. LTG Rick Lynch led off his remarks (more to follow) with one of my favorite sayings. Vision without resources is a hallucination. As DoD soldiers on under a continuing resolution, we will scour the budget documents to see if the AESIS is a vision or a mirage.

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