by Mark R Miller, AIA
Lets start with a test of your GREEN I.Q.: What institution has this institutional priority?:
“…More strategic use of energy resource…lowering risk…saving money…and allowing the department to shift more resources to other…priorities. Such efforts are critical if we are to meet our mission to prevail, today and in the future.”
A. State of California: Board of Regents
B. US Department of Energy
C. US Green Building Council
D. University of California – San Francisco (UCSF)
E. US Department of Defense
The answer is in the full quote:
DoD’s Operational Energy Strategy will guide the Defense Department to a more strategic use of energy resources in the fight today and in plans for the future by lowering risks to our warfighters, saving money for American taxpayers, and allowing the department to shift more resources to other warfighting priorities. Such efforts are critical if we are to meet our mission to prevail, today and in the future. – US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
For more go right to the Department of Defense website: http://www.defense.gov/home/features/2011/0611_energy/
Yes, energy management and more specifically significant reduction of fossil fuels, is a non-political, mission crucial objective promoted by the rather senior Secretary of the United States Navy Ray Mabus. (refer to an NPR interview with Secretary Mabus here:
Why? Well it is more than a public relations initiative. According to the Department of Defense it is rather straight-forward assessment: reduced reliance on fossil fuels will increase mission effectiveness, save lives and save money – not a bad trifecta. This assessment is the basis behind high level strategic planning that is reshaping the military’s approach to everything from advanced research to forward-operating bases operations. The US Department of Defense provides more more detail on the strategy role of energy in this report:
This recognition by the DoD is important in many ways. Some are obvious: such a large and influential institution as the DoD supporting clean technologies will be a big morale boost to emerging clean technologies and ongoing research. The military offers a large market for commercially viable (and domestic!) clean technologies. It also provides mission-critical venues to explore emerging technologies, accelerating their testing and potential for commercial viability.
There are deeper benefits: This decision come from deep and data-driven analysis of the impact of fossil-fuel energy patterns of military operational effectiveness. This is not a political decision. Rather the assessment findings have had to overwhelmingly indicate the cost of the prior direction to overcome a red-leaning culture that has dismissed, and would have been expected to continue to dismiss, energy as a relevant issue.
Nothing like a bit of solid data-driven analysis presented by a respectable institution to fundamentally change the debate.
For more on the Department of Defense strategic assessment of energy reference the following article links: