Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Steropes' Leadership in Energy: DOD Head and Shoulders Above Munchkins

Steropes was the Cyclops who gave
lightning to Zeus

Last week I spoke in front of 1200 attendees at a Biomass conference in Denver, CO.  This Saturday, I will speak to students at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo (Go Mustangs!) at the California Student Sustainability Coalition conference.  The following week I will be attending  and addressing the Military Smart Grids and Microgrid Conference in DC.     Veterans in clean energy technologies have been appearing in the New York Times, the AP and Dylan Ratigan Show.   Even the Harvard Gazette is getting in on the action, but instead of a veteran, they got a real live DOD official.   A coalition of veterans and national security organization, Operation Free works tirelessly to share the message of energy security.  Only one of these individuals and organizations represents or speak on behalf of the Department of Defense, yet there is constant demand from a diverse audience.  The reason is because so many of us are looking for leadership in energy policy and, not finding it in the appropriate government agencies, are looking for anyone to share a vision of American Energy Security.  Once again, DOD has become the reluctant leader.

I say reluctant because no one in DOD wants to lead U.S. energy policy.  Unfortunately for them, the actions they are taking to ensure energy security and mission continuity are thrusting them in to that role.  Those in and out of government, who ascribe political motivation to DOD’s work, fail to understand the strategic importance or, in some cases, even the tactical importance of reducing consumption, distributing intelligently and diversifying sources of energy.  DOD does not seek the leadership role.  They just happen to be out in front of the crowd and the crowd is following.  Where there is a dearth of leadership, DOD’s efforts to secure its own flanks by assured access to mission critical energy appears to be leadership.  DOD is simply the one eyed man in the land of the blind.  

The mission of DOD is to deter aggression and, should that fail, to fight and win our Nation’s wars.  When DOD leads in technology, it is not to create a market; it is to meet a critical operational need. When DOD integrated the Armed Forces it was to better utilize the available man (and woman) power to meet combat requirements.  I am sure DOD would rather that the Congress or President or DOE were the leaders in energy policy, but, unfortunately, they are the only ones taking coherent action.  Nature abhors a vacuum and DOD’s leadership in energy security is just Nature’s way of saying, “Move out and draw fire!”  Dan Nolan

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