2/14/2012 - The first two parts of this series covered the military’s plan to get off fossil fuels and its strategy for doing so. Today, a look at what it all has to do with the military’s broader mission: protecting Americans at home and abroad.
On the battlefield–”in theater” in military parlance–reducing energy consumption isn’t about saving money or the planet, and it’s got zero to do with anyone’s political beliefs.
“It’s not about reducing energy usage and the overall bills, but about saving lives,” says Colonel Peter Newell, director of the Army’s Rapid Equipping Force (REF). Newell’s organization measures the effectiveness of equipment from the viewpoint of the Soldier on the ground in the fight. “At the tactical edge, we don’t look at energy efficiency in terms of saving gallons, we count it in lives saved. That’s really what we focus on.”Newell explains that from sustaining remote bases, which need energy and water, to supporting soldiers, who are being given increasingly more energy-reliant equipment to carry in their packs, reducing energy consumption and employing technologies capable of recharging multiple items are strategic imperatives. To that end, Newell and the REF have been working with the U.S. Marine Corps Experimental Forward Operating Bases (EXFOB), the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab, and the Marine Corps Energy Office, as well as the Project Manager Mobile Electric Power (PM MEP) unit within the Army’s Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM), Force Sustainment Systems and Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), the Army’s Program Executive Office (PEO) Soldier, which focuses on getting soldiers the best possible equipment, and the Army Logistics Innovation Agency and U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), to find products to support the REF’s Energy to the Tactical Edge (E2E) initiative, which is a subset of the Army’s larger Net Zero program. The REF is also partnering with the private sector and with universities to find cutting-edge solutions. read more>>>