Monday, June 6, 2011

Energy Efficient Congressmen Add Tasks for Operational Energy

In a previous post I mentioned that the current National Defense Authorization Act for FY2012 under consideration by Congress has a provision that will allow the Pentagon to purchase alternative fuels that produce greater carbon emission than conventional fuels in the refinement process, contrary to the requirements of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. Now another couple of provisions have been added that actually require DOD to do what they have already said they would do…but have not quite done.

Representatives Blumenauer (picture), Connolly, Hinchey, Capps and Welch have added two amendments (#115 and #150) that require that the DoD consider energy efficiency when purchasing warzone structures like tents, and to evaluate combat-zone energy efficiency programs and make recommendations on how to deploy them to further reduce risks to supply convoys.

Essentially, Congress is requiring DOD to use the fully burdened cost of fuel (FBCF) and energy efficiency as a key performance parameter (KPP) to evaluate warzone structures as yet unprocured and to evaluate energy efficiency programs that reduce fuel resupply risks. That is, unless someone has a better idea than FBCF and KPPs. The gang at Natick Soldier Center is charged with the procurement of deployable structures, the US Army Corps of Engineers works the requirements for follow on structures like Seahuts, et al and the Combatant Commanders establish standards via document like the Sandbook. Fortunately, the Department has an agent charged with operational energy, so these requirements will fall on the shoulders of the ASD, OEP&P.

It will be up to the Operational Energy Plans and Programs office to figure how to cut across the bureaucratic morass and get shelters that protect the occupants from the elements, support the mission and, only then, select from among alternatives that demonstrate themselves to be the most energy efficient. The energy efficiency of alternative solutions is already an optional requirement in the acquisition process. This provision will make it required for shelters and will affect the next generation of deployable structures, several years down the line. This is where the second provision comes into play.

There are a number of energy efficiency programs that are being tried at the local level. Now it will be incumbent on DoD to evaluate those programs for recommending their proliferation or termination. Whether it is cotton oil to fuel or spray foam tents, the OEP&P will have their work cut out. Hopefully, the Congressmen (and woman) have funded the mandates. Otherwise these provisions will go the way of all visions without resources….hallucination.

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