Friday, January 25, 2013

DLA-E Marshalls Energy Gurus: DoD Will Not Pass on Alt Gas.

The crème de la creme of the DoD fuels world met at the Defense Logistics Agency Energy’s headquarters at Fort Belvoir, Va., on Jan. 9.  The purpose of the meeting was to discuss accomplishments and the way ahead.  They discussed the implementation of the DOD policy letter from 2012 on Alt Fuels and opportunities for the future.  No mention of the next “Great Green Fleet” or specific plans, but everyone now knows what the other ones are doing and what plans they have.  I assume they are keeping it quiet so as not to draw the ire of Senator McCain.

With the Army hitting the pause button on spending, it will be up to the Navy and Air Force to carry the load here.  But after last year’s brouhaha, those Service Chiefs might be leery about drawing fire.  If the President’s comments on renewable energy in his inaugural speech are to be taken seriously, someone will have to put money behind it.   That means subsidies (new taxes?) or using the Military to get after it for liquid fuels. 

The President will have to put our money where his mouth is to make this happen.  I will watch to see what Executive Orders are issued in the next 90 days to support this.  My sense is that the Services aren’t looking to spend money that does not directly impact readiness and that Congress is unlikely to get their stuff together long enough to fund Alt Fuels.  Let me know what you think!  Except CAPT Pugh; I KNOW where you are, my brother!  Dan Nolan

Friday, January 18, 2013

Army Grinds to a Halt: Leadership Issues Cease and Desist to Projects "not directly connected to matters of life, health or safety,".

On January 16th, Army Sec McHugh and Chief of Staff of the Army Ray Odierno released a memo with 15  "near-term actions to help the Army reduce our expenditure rate and mitigate budget execution risks in order to avoid even more serious future fiscal shortfalls."  Among them appears to be a death knell for energy projects….but I could be wrong!

The memo directed installation commanders to “cease facility sustainment activity that is not directly connected to matters of life, health or safety, and to stop restoration and modernization projects”.  One would argue that an EUL supported by a PPA would not be sustainment activity, but the need to manage the procurement process maybe. 

It will be even more critical for industry to demonstrate their value and for contracting officers to be more flexible in their thinking to survive this hiatus.  The need for energy security persists, just as the need to improve facilities persists.  It will be a challenge to restart any program suspended by this measure.

We will continue to monitor the progress on the impending (or suspending?) MATOC, but this should make people a little nervous and giggly.

Meanwhile, the day before the memo, McHugh made his way down to the trailer park at Fort Belvoir to visit the Rapid Equipping Force.  While they may be throttling back in other areas, taking care of immediate combat needs is not one of them.  COL Newell showed the SecArmy all the cool kit, including their Energy to the Tactical Edge, or E2E, suite of capabilities.  Steven Mapes, the product lead for Soldier Power at PEO Soldier, showed off the Soldier Worn Integrated Power System, to McHugh.  What is notable here is not that the SWIPS got a high level review, but that the acquisition community recognizes that playing with other may have a positive outcome.  In an environment of dwindling resources, projects directly connected to the fight will be sustained. 

Will keep you posted.  Dan Nolan   

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Big Plate for New SecDef: Energy Gets in the Que

Excellent piece by Annie Snider in E&E about Senator Hagel’s nomination and the implication for DOD energy efforts.   With Senator Inhofe as the Senate Armed Services Committee, it might be a bit contentious.  Senator Udall has indicated that the $15B DOD energy budget will be a subject during the hearing.

With everything else that DOD has on their plate, I fear that energy will lose its luster.  Ms. Burke and the senior Service energy gurus will keep up the fire, but with budget cuts, Afghan drawdown and a new SecDef, it will be hard to pick the signal from the noise.  Hopefully, Hagel’s trips with Chuck Wald to visit energy rich African nations.  It is great to have these natural resources, but if you don’t have security, you just create another single point of failure (SEE: Middle East). 

Hagel is a good pick for the turbulent times ahead.  He has addressed his “Jewish Lobbyists” comments that were really directed at lobbyists in general and the holding of an unthinking position in support of anything Israel does.   Nations do not have friends; they have interests.  I wish him well during what I believe will be a revelatory confirmation process (will McCann dis a fellow Vietnam Viet?) and a tumultuous tour as SecDef.   It’s a big plate, Mr. Secretary; keep energy on it. 

One more note.  My favorite Operational Energy marauders, the USMC are at it again.  Major Brandon Newell from the E2O reports that the Leathernecks are holding a Brief to Industry on Mobile Electric Hybrid Power Sources (MEHPS).  Notice is on FedBizOpps.  Be there or be square!   Dan Nolan

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Thru a Glass Darkly: A SWAG about DOD Energy in 2013

This prediction is based upon the assumption that the country has not cease to exist due to Obamacare, the Fiscal Cliff, or the inclusion of leap year into the Mayans’ calculation.  The most likely of these was the FC, but since it is just a 10% reduction over the next 10 years and we should be down to about half a war shortly, how bad could that be? Since we dodge all these bullets, here is how I see 2013 in DOD Energy.

Contracting in 2013
                MATOC – I predict that the USACE MATOC will be let by 1 June 2013.  The first task orders will be withheld pending the resolution of the various protesting proposers deemed “noncompliant” by the proposal review panel.  Expect great fun and games.  Earliest I would expect to see task orders is 30 September, just in time to qualify for FY2013!