Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Posturing on Energy: Services Serve Notice

Intrepid scouts are reporting in on the annual proffering of the Posture Statements by the Joint Chiefs and Services. The Posture Statement is an unclassified summary of roles, missions, accomplishments, plans, and programs. The PS serves a broad audience as a basic reference on the state of the Military. They are required by NDAAs and are publicly available. This year’s crop paid quite a bit of attention to the challenges of energy security. Interesting extracts follow.

From the Navy: In the testimony of CNO Admiral Roughead before Congress, he mentioned energy in the context of a new carrier, unmanned underwater vehicles, shore readiness, training readiness, a section on energy and climate, and his favorite recipe for grog (last one is not true; he would never reveal that). Energy is pervasive in the Navy posture, with investment for building efficiency and reducing the cost of at sea training via modeling and simulation. One area that the Navy gets right that the other Services should examine is their emphasis on technical and behavior changes. The difference here is that one often hears discussions of culture change. As Drex Kleber has pointed out, “Military culture is fine; it’s the behavior we need to change”. The fact is military culture is perfect for changing behavior. We just need the leadership emphasis. A little accountability goes along way. From carriers to riverine craft to Green Hornets, the Navy is moving out on energy. The Marine Corps will be releasing their energy strategy very shortly. We look forward to that.

From the Air Force: 99% of the USAF aircraft fleet is now certified for unrestricted use of synthetic aviation fuel bled. It should be noted that this is only for coal and natural gas to liquid via Fischer Tropsch, a rather greenhouse gas intensive process. Unfortunately, Sec 527 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2009 prohibits fuels that are more GHG intensive than conventional processing. The AF fuel certification office is still working on HRJ with other fuels still in the queue for certification. Need to plus up that office, Sir! From the expeditionary front, the AF says that they will reduce their electrical load by 50% by using shelters with PV flys that generate a minimum of 3KW a shelter. These are some high powered flys and I look forward to seeing them. They are also in the portable, expandable microgrid business. I hope they are working with the dozens of projects on going elsewhere in the Services. The one warning note was a statement that said, “While the peacetime flying hour program is fully funded, reprogramming may be necessary to cover increased fuel costs due to the volatility of fuel prices”. Looks like we know who will pay for increased fuel prices as a result of uncertainty in Libya: the men and women who may be asked to dominate the sky over that troubled land.

From the Army: The Senior Service is focusing hard on Net Zero. They cite projects from a Fort Sill microgrid to (still) foaming tents. The Army is also including the fully burdened cost of fuel in the analysis of alternative for the JLTV and the Armed Aerial Scout. This should prove interesting. In addition to the efforts of the regular force, the Army Reserve and National Guard are taking on some very interesting projects. As part of its educational effort the ARNG is deploying a mobile learning center focused on energy. The Energy Lab is traveling to high schools around the country to show the flag, increase recruiting and “to promote science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) literacy to high school students across the nation. In The Energy Lab tour vehicle, students explore the math and science behind energy efficiency and the renewable and non-renewable resources that drive many current and future STEM career fields”. This is a strategic mission that DOD has taken on as part of the STEM Education Outreach Plan.

The inclusion of energy security in these statements demonstrates the leadership’s commitment to reducing demand, smart distribution and alternative and renewable power production. The hundreds of millions distributed via the ARRA are not likely to be repeated so it will be informative to see where the Services back up these statements with the commitment of dollars. Otherwise, it is just posturing. Dan Nolan

JCS Posture Statement

USN Posture Statement

USAF Posture Statement

USA Posture Statement

1 comment:

Andy B said...

Have a couple of questions for you. Can you please remind me: what's the point in the AF certifying its platforms to run on FT fuels that mainly don't exist? Is this a warm-up exercise for future bio and other synth fuels? Or is it in pursuit of energy security in case oil supply lines were compromised? In the latter case, how fast could we gear up FT plants to make an appreciable amount of fuel to sustain the force? Thx. Gr8 piece.