More Fight, Less Fuel: Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in the Department of Defense, USA

More Fight, Less Fuel: Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in the Department of Defense, USA

The Department of Defense is rapidly emerging as the leading force in the United States for the development and use of renewable energy technologies. Energy efficiency has emerged as mission essential to the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force. Why? How do these technologies improve national security? How do they make our military more effective? Will renewable energy and energy efficiency save lives and money? And what does the Defense Department’s leadership on “green energy” mean for the rest of the economy?

In collaboration with the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) in Washington, D.C., and the Truman National Security Project, E3G organized a briefing on 27 July 2011, entitled More Fight, Less Fuel: The Defense Department’s Deployment of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy for Members of Congress, their staff and the general public. The topic was why the U.S. Department of Defense should be – and plans to be – leading the United States in the use of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.

Speakers at the event included:

Sherri Goodman – senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, CNA; Executive Director, CNA Military Advisory Board. (Moderator)

Senator Mark Udall (D-CO)

Thomas Hicks – Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy

Richard Kidd, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army, Energy and Sustainability

Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn – (US Navy, Retired), President American Council on Renewable Energy; Vice Chairman, CNA Military Advisory Board

Drew Sloan – (former US Army Captain), Iraq and Afghanistan Veteran, representing Operation Free; Fellow, Truman National Security Project

The briefing drew a standing-room-only audience of 190 people. Bill Becker, E3G’s Senior Associate articulated his thoughts on the briefing on the Huffington Post.

Amongst the handouts were 2 reports from CNA – Center for Naval Analysis called National Security and the Threat of Climate Change and Powering America’s Economy: Energy Innovation at the Crossroads of National Security Challenges.

The recordings of individual presentations or the whole event are available here in mp3 format, as is a summary of the key points.

Next steps

E3G proposes to organize additional briefings on Capitol Hill for members of Congress and staff. The briefings will be open to the media and public:

1. Assessing the Risks of Extreme Weather: The briefing will address this question: If present weather and weather-related trends continue, and in light budget deficits for federal, state and local governments in the U.S., what is the capacity of governments and the private sector to respond? Panelists will include representatives of the U.S. insurance, business and investment sectors. Representatives of the Departments of Homeland Security and Agriculture also will be invited to speak.

2. New Directions for Local Resilience: For the better part of a century, the federal government’s preferred approach to disaster mitigation has been engineered structures – dams, levees, river channelization and other engineered projects. Today, the United States has 85,000 dams. Their average age is 51 years; more than 15,000 are categorized as “high hazard” structures. There are 100,000 miles of levees in the U.S. today, protecting four of every 10 Americans. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has graded the condition of the levees as D-. These structures need tens of billions of dollars in repairs. But 85% of the nation’s levees and 89% of its dams are not the responsibility of the federal government. Many must be maintained and repaired by municipalities that face their own budget problems. Meantime, the Federal Flood Insurance Program is $18 billion in debt and the government’s costs for the National Crop Insurance Program are rising. Are there less expensive ways for communities to protect themselves against weather-related disasters? Can communities protect themselves with nonstructural approaches such as ecological conservation and restoration? To address these questions, E3G will invite representatives of the ASCE, the President’s Interagency Task Force on Climate Change Adaptation, and the International Council of Local Environmental Initiatives.


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