Working in the DOD energy arena for the past four years, one often feels as if they are shouting in a closed room. The Defense Energy Community tends to be a insular club with new members allowed in grudgingly and after a long vetting period. Now, however, other voices are picking up the cry.
John Nagl, president of the Center for A New American Security (CNAS) and Christine Parthemore, CNAS have published an excellent paper on how DoD must prepare for the post petroleum era. LTC(R), Professor, Doctor, Nagl was one of the rising stars in the Army with the intellect and courage to try to get the institution to examine itself. A combination of institutional inertia and growing opportunities to serve a larger purpose brought Nagl to CNAS and he has now turned that intellect to the issue of energy and national security. In the paper, he and Ms. Parthemore make the argument for why DOD must have a coherent energy strategy vice the islands of excellence we now see. They envision a clear goal that goes beyond the current stair step time and percentage goals now on the books. Their recommendation is for a three decade effort to replace fossil fuels for DOD use.
Nagl and Parthemore lay out an eleven step program to break DOD’s oil addiction. We personally wish they had added a 12th step, but that is only a function of a sick sense of humor. Their program will require change not only within DOD, but the modification of procedures, policy and law well beyond DOD’s sphere of influence. In essence they are calling for a national strategic effort with DOD as the change agent. As Tom Friedman likes to say, “When the military goes green, the country will go green”.
We highly recommend all operational and institutional energy players study this plan. It is a concept, not a blueprint. It will require adaptation, but a couple of the bold ideas should be embraced immediately. Their idea for investing for maximum impact, increasing incentives and streamlining DOD energy management deserve immediate attention. Keep up the fire!