The U.S. military requires vast amounts of fossil fuel to operate. In 2010, the U.S. military used over five billion gallons of fuel in military operations which cost $13.2 billion, a 255 percent increase over 1997 prices. DeSmogBlog characterizes the military, in general, not just the U.S. military, as the “the single largest consumer of energy in the world,” and the U.S. military accounts for one percent of total consumption in the U.S. The U.S. military is the largest military in the world.
Enter the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) report, Operational Energy Strategy, the first time the DOD published a strategy to reduce its energy and fuel use. The report states that “energy security is critical to national security.” The report goes on to state DOD’s “current energy consumption patterns are inconsistent with national strategic goals to build American strength and a stable international order, including by reducing the Nation’s dependence on oil and transforming the U.S. energy economy.”
Three ways the DOD plans to reduce the military’s overall energy use are listed:
- Reduce the demand for energy in military operations, and improve energy efficiency in military operations.
- Expand and secure the supply of energy to military operations. The DOD needs to diversify its energy sources.
- Build energy security into the future force. About 75 percent of the energy used by the military in 2009 was considered operational
The report cites the example of reducing aircraft weight as one way the DOD plans to reduce its energy use. Reducing aircraft weight by removing non-mission essential items and working with partner nations to fly more fuel-efficient routes is projected to save $400 million over the next five years
The DOD created Sharon Burke’s position last fall as director of operational energy plans and programs last fall. In October, Burke said that the DOD is focusing on reducing energy demand. Burke said that reducing energy demand is important “because no matter what kind of energy we’re using, the amount of energy we’re using causes us problems in practice — particularly in the kinds of fights we’re fighting today where so much of our logistics train is in the battlefield.”
User: The U.S. Army