Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Serious as a Brain Attack

Recent government and news reports have highlighted the vulnerability associated with our increasingly interconnected world. Hackers have been around since the dawn of Donkey Kong ®, but the sophistication of today’s complex information technology systems and the vital organisms they control have escalated their importance and the difficulty of protecting them. The distribution systems that support our grid are the circulatory system for the source of the nation’s vitality. These new threats are serious as a heart attack and just as potentially fatal. More appropriately, they are like a blood clot in the brain because they attack the intelligent aspect of grid management and could affect us at any time. Today, the DoD has no control over the prophylactic measures required to secure their energy sources. That responsibilities lie with the local utilities and DoD is at their mercy.

The Department of Energy and Idaho National Laboratory published a May 2010 report entitled “NSTB Assessments Summary Report: Common Industrial Control System Cyber Security Weaknesses”. The purpose of the report was to identify “vulnerabilities that could put critical infrastructure at risk to cyber-attack”. Specifically they examined critical energy infrastructure throughout the U.S.. They found a system riddled with application and operating system exposures, Web services accessibilities and unsecured Industrial Control Systems (ICS) protocols. The utilities are working on the vulnerabilities, but our installations are vulnerable because they are dependent on those utilities to deliver the power necessary for mission accomplishment.

The next item, found in the 23 Sep Navy Times, quotes VADM Barry McCullough’s comments to a House Armed Services Committee query on “cyber warfare” . When asked by Rep. James Langevin, D-R.I. about the vulnerability of the U.S. grid the Admiral, who is commander of the 10th Fleet, responded saying, ““These systems you discuss are very vulnerable to attack. Do we have a plan for an alternative power source, water source? A lot of this is single-source into a base, and if you take that away, while you have some limited backup power generation, it’s very limited for things such as water, sewer and so forth.”. The 10th Fleet was born out of the anti-submarine warfare community and, appropriately, is responsible for the Navy’s defense again this century’s “silent service”, cyber-attacks. The strategic vulnerability that Rep. Lagevin asked about manifests itself tactically in the ability to disable the long term power projection capabilities of our military installations. If you can’t control it, you can’t defend it.

Finally, David Sanger reported in the New York Times on 25 Sep that Iran is gravely concerned about the presence of a malware worm called Stuxnet in the supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems associated with their nuclear facilities, including Natanz. A worm is a self-replicating malware computer program. This piece of software, “Stuxnet, which was first publicly identified several months ago, is aimed solely at industrial equipment made by Siemens that controls oil pipelines, electric utilities, nuclear facilities and other large industrial sites. While it is not clear that Iran was the main target — the infection has also been reported in Indonesia, Pakistan, India and elsewhere — a disproportionate number of computers inside Iran appear to have been struck, according to reports by computer security monitors.”. In a security conscious (some might say paranoid) country like Iran, in as sensitive a facility as a nuclear material production plant which has been under intense scrutiny by the west, one would think that securing the SCADA systems would be job one. It probably has been, yet the presence of this bit of code in these particular mechanisms is evidence of the vulnerability of all IT systems.

Richard Clarke in his book, Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What To Do About It, describes cyber war as "actions by a nation-state to penetrate another nation's computers or networks for the purposes of causing damage or disruption.". Attacks on our grid maybe perpetrated by state actors or non-state actors; either way, DoD installations must have the resilience to absorb such attacks and continue to execute their mission. They must continue to be power projection platforms when the power is out. We can build all the solar, wind, geothermal, etc., power generation systems inside our gates, guns and guards, but we must be able to secure those systems against the malicious and acts of war. The smart microgrids under consideration by DoD as part of the joint capabilities technology demonstration "Smart Power Infrastructure Demonstration for Energy Reliability and Security" (SPIDERS) must have cyber security as its foundation, not an add on. It needs the full support of DoD because the threat is real and current. A seven to ten year development and acquisition cycle is too long. DoD is vulnerable now. They must protect their ability to project power by the protecting the power necessary to meet this vital mission.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

DoD Strategy for Sustainability and Energy Security

Executive Order (EO) 13514, "Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance," was signed by President Obama on 5 October 2009. One of the provisions of this order was a requirement for each federal agency to “develop, implement and annually update a plan that prioritizes actions based on a positive return on investment for the American taxpayer and to meet energy, water, and waste reduction targets”. This past week, Dr. Ashton Carter, the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (USD, AT&L), in his capacity as the DoD Senior Sustainability Officer, released the DoD Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan (SSPP) . The Plan provides the vision for Departments in regard to sustainability is “to maintain the ability to operate into the future without decline – either in the mission or in the natural and manufactured systems that support it.” It covers four key areas: Energy and Reliance on Fossil Fuels, Chemicals of Environmental Concern, Water Resources Management, and Maintaining Readiness in the Face of Climate Change. These areas are translated into Objectives and then further refined with subordinate goals and sub goals. The sub goals provide specific management objectives to ensure the continued availability of resources critical to mission accomplishment, focus DoD to serve as a leader in the USG in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, emphasize minimizing waste and pollution and stress continuously improving mission accomplishment through management practices built on sustainability and community.

Energy efficient acquisition is addressed in the form of energy as a key performance parameter and the use of the fully burdened cost of fuel. Coming from the pen of the Acquisition Executive, I am encouraged that the community will not find a way to avoid these considerations as we look at the next generation of materiel solutions.

The plan contains an excellent summation of efforts to date as well as clear definition of the leadership structure developed to implement plan. This is one area for which DoD has been chided continually. The USD, AT&L serves as the Department’s Senior Sustainability Official and overseer of the Senior Sustainability Council (SSC). The SSC finally brings together the operational as well as the installation energy players. This council will be co-chaired by Undersecretary of Defense for Installations and Environment (USD, I&E), Dr. Dorothy Robyn and the newly appointed Director of Operational Energy Plans and Policy (DOEPP), Sharon Burke. The SSC in turn directs the efforts of the Sustainability Implementation Working Group (SIWG) who is charged with “drafting input to the Plan and facilitating compliance and continual improvement in meeting the Plan goals.”. This group will work with existing DoD committees and working groups to address specific issues.

The ninety nine pages of the report provide an excellent and comprehensive strategic view of what is necessary for DoD to be able to sustain its mission worldwide. Energy cannot stand alone, but must be considered within the context of sustainability. The four objectives, eight goals and 21 sub goals create a holistic approach that provides the Services the starting blocks for their own sustainability strategies.

To achieve success, all strategic plans must be linked to tactical execution by the employment of the operational art. Operational art deals with “theory and practice of planning, preparing, conducting, and sustaining major operations and campaigns aimed at accomplishing operational or strategic objectives in a theater” (Joint Publication 3-0) . In the context of the SSPP it means that the Services must translate the goals and sub goals of the plan into specific responsibilities, authorities, and accountability. The operational art will be the responsibility of the SIWG as it works with the Service representatives and organizations to translate the goals in to tasks, dollars and carrots or sticks.

For example, will each building at the Air Force Academy have to reduce its energy intensity by 37.5% by 2020 from the 2003 baseline or is it just the Air Force Academy in total or the Air Force in aggregate? Who is responsible for the goal, who controls the resources to accomplish the goal and who gets the carrot or stick when goal achievement is measured? That will be the next big challenge. The DoD SSPP brings together the operational and installation players in a common forum. Will the Services be able to bring together their own factions for a common effort? These are the challenges that lie ahead in the evolution of energy security and sustainable operations. It is my sincere hope that as DoD goes through major reductions to garner the savings the Secretary of Defense seeks in the coming years, that evolution is not starved for resources. The SSPP is a great start; it will be up to the Services to translate that vision into action and energy security.

P.S. Congratulations to Tom Morehouse for his selection as the DoD Principal Deputy for operational energy plans and program. Tom is one of the “gray beards” in the Defense Energy Community and will bring unmatched depth of knowledge to this key position. Well done, Deputy DOEPP!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Making the Numbers: From Energy Goals to Business Cases

The following is an attempt to translate the energy goals and mandates for the DoD in to units of energy in order to define the business case and opportunities that can bring the public and private sectors together in the name of energy security. It is a bit dense and I do not usually do math in public, but I believe it is worth the effort to get the conversation started.

At a time when America is recovering from an energy disaster on our shores, the DoD is taking bold, measurable steps toward energy conservation and efficiency as well as creating a portion of their energy needs from renewable sources. The Department of Defense is taking these audacious measures because they provide for energy security, reduce cost and improve the environment. Oh, and they have to, by law.

In the past five years, DoD, the Executive Branch and Congress have issued dozens of policies, Executive Orders, and mandates requiring the Department to reduce energy demand and produce more of their energy from renewable and alternative sources for the billions of square feet of installation real estate owned.

The Congressional Research Service’s Anthony Andrews published an excellent report (http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/R40111.pdf) In February 2009 on the Departments policies and spending in regard to energy. In the report, there is a comprehensive review of “energy conservation legislation and Executive Orders that apply to the Department of Defense, directives and instructions to the military departments and agencies on implementing the legislation and orders, Defense spending on facility energy over the last decade, annual Defense appropriations that fund energy-conservation improvements, and Defense energy conservation investments.”.

For example, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPACT 2005) required “that the federal government offset its electric energy consumption with an increasing percentage of “renewable energy” from 3% starting in 2005 to not less than 7.5% by 2013 and each fiscal year thereafter.”. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 requires “a 30% energy reduction in federal buildings by 2015 relative to a 2005 baseline.”. Executive Order 13423 amplified this stating that all federal agencies would reduce the production of greenhouse gases by a “reduction of energy intensity (3% annually through the end of FY2015, and 30% by the end of FY2015, relative to each agency’s baseline energy use in FY2003).”. So, 30% reduction in energy by 2015, relative to 2003 and production of 7.5% of that energy from renewables.

Here’s where it gets fun. In the same report it states that DoD consumption in FY2007 was 218,062 billion BTUs (BBTUs). It has steadily come down from FY2003 number of 242,240 BBTUs. Based on this report I have done a couple of back of the envelop calculations. By the way, I did not graduate in the bottom hundred in my class, but I knew all of those guys by their first names, so check the math.

Averaging the reductions since FY1999, we should anticipate a reduction of about 6,300 BBTUs annual. That reduction will achieve the 30% reduction required by 2015 in EO13423. That’s only 31,500 BBTUs to go. But the question is – and I think we all know the answer – have we already picked all the low hanging fruit? To compute the renewable energy required by 2013 in EPACT 2005 let’s use that 6,300 BBTUs reduction assumption. By 2013 the total energy requirement for DOD should be 179,193 BBTUs. In 2009 DoD reported that 2.9% of its energy was derived from renewable energy and/or renewable energy credits. Given that, by 2013 DoD will have to produce 7,512 BBTUs from renewable energy. That equates to 2,200 Gigawatt-hours of production. In the past DoD has used renewable energy credits to meet RE goals. With shrinking budgets, this may not be an option. Those same budgets will probably not be able to afford the 2.2 Terawatt-hours of capacity, much less the 31,500 BBTUs of energy conservation.

The only way to meet these requirements (not goals) is going to be through innovative third party financing. DoD will have to get serious about enhanced use leases, energy saving performance contracts, utilities energy services contracts and other innovative financing mechanisms . All of these vehicles are viable tools to achieve the statutory requirements and business is ready to go. This could have the effect of increasing energy security, simulating the economy, bring done the cost of RE, and protecting the environment all in one effort. Now that is a DoD size goal.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Energy Battle Hand Over

I would like to begin by thanking Andy Bochman for his hard work in putting together and publishing the DOD Energy Blog (DEC) for the past two years. I remember when I was first referred to the DEB by friends in the DOD Energy Community (DEC).

The DEC is a group of men and women, in government and out, that have recognized the national security, economic and environmental implications of our dependence on fossil fuels for the motive power of our country. They have been working relentlessly and often silently to shape the policies, form the organizations, develop the technologies and provide the leadership necessary to overcome these vulnerabilities.

Andy has given voice to these efforts. He has done the research, gotten the interviews and highlighted what was and wasn’t happening in DOD Energy. We all owe him a debt of gratitude for his effort. I am appreciative personally for the opportunity he gave me to have my voice heard as well. And since no good deed goes unpunished, I was flattered and intimidated by taking on the task for the next couple of months while Andy heads to the Bahamas. Of course if he had been paying attention to the weather (climate is what we predict; weather is what we get) he might have noted the two Category Four hurricanes that just blew through that region. We wish him a much deserved rest, while we know he is really going to slaving over his other couple of blogs, his day job and, of course, his family.

In Andy’s absence I will focus on the areas of policy, technology, organizations and examples of DOD leading or lagging in the quest for energy security. One of the most important things we in the DEC can do is settle on the language. Terms such as microgrid, smart grid, energy security, energy surety and the like deserve definitions upon which we can all agree.

I look forward to these blogs as a means to continue the dialog, inform, educate and call to action. I will also attempt to curb my sense of humor (such as it is) as well as personal opinion, but I will take a position occasionally and look forward to hear from you all on that. Again, Andy, thank you for this opportunity and enjoy your break. All the best, Dan

Please send all comments, critiques and thoughts to DefEnBlog@gmail.com

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Changing of the Guard: Nolan gives Bochman a Break at DOD Energy Blog Helm

OK, I admit it. I've been writing this blog, each and every week since the first post in August 2008. That's over 400 posts. And I'm not going to mention that I write another blog or that I have a day job or kids to raise. No, I'll spare you all that. As you have guessed by now, it's a labor of love. But what I will share, is this:

Over the last year, Dan Nolan, retired Army O-6, early member of the Power Surety Task Force (PSTF), the Rapid Equipping Force and Operation Free, has been author of some of the most heavily viewed posts on this blog (examples HERE and HERE). As evidence of his steet cred, here's Dan, with his PSTF hat on, being interviewed by Tom Friedman about DOD energy (click HERE and then start the Discovery Channel flash video).

Dan's going to have the bridge at the DOD Energy Blog for a month or two, while I go to the Bahamas, figuratively speaking. When I come back, refreshed and renewed, we'll see if Dan is willing to turn the reigns back over to me ... or not. Either way, you're about to get a steady stream of new DOD energy data and insights from a completely different vector.

I told Dan I'll be one of his most active readers and won't hesitate to ping him when I've got a question, comment or complaint, and you should do the same. You'll soon see his mug in the blog's sidebar along with a link to his LinkedIn bio and an email address you can use should you wish to address him. And you can expect the first all-Nolan post next week sometime.

Now where was I? Oh yes, let me straighten out my pool-side lounge chair, get my classical jazz playlists queued up on my new iPod Touch, and make sure I've got plenty of refreshments. Won't you pour me a Cuban Breeze, Gretchen? Got get 'em, Dan ... and thanks for this !!!