The US military is one of the biggest users of renewable energy, and the Pentagon is continuing to investment in a variety of renewable power systems. Eleven former 3- and 4-star generals have made a strong argument for renewables in a joint paper they have issued titled 'A National Security Imperative to Reduce U.S. Oil Dependence.' The generals looked at the matter not only from a perspective of military operations, but, more broadly, from an overall national policy perspective. "The chief finding of the paper, signed by all eleven generals, states simply 'America’s dependence on oil constitutes a significant national security threat.'"
The military has already been one of the largest adopters of green building practices, despite the efforts of the Congress to suppress or limit the use of LEED on military projects. Green building may be a political football for the legislature, but the military takes a more functional and long-term view, and the benefits of greener practices are plainly clear to them.
Numerous military programs have looked at a wide variety of ways to save energy. About a year ago, the Army organized a renewable energy task force. The Navy has tested biofuel for jet fighters and fuel conservation programs for ships. This is not because the military is really a bunch of tree huggers, but because it makes good sense for their broader mission.
Not only is it important to have sustainable practices at the military bases and fixed facilities, but also, in the field, the use of renewable power means less need for transporting fuel and other supplies. In the current conflicts the American forces are engaged in, supply chains are one of the vulnerabilities that must be dealt with, and the costs associated with protecting and transporting material takes its toll in "blood and treasure." But using renewable power such as solar, rather than diesel generators, allows soldiers in the field to be more self-reliant and less dependent upon supply deliveries.
We often talk about the triple bottom line in explaining the numerous benefits of following greener policies. But that argument may not sway some people. Maybe that can be buttressed with a perspective of long-term strategic thinking that also makes an argument for the same policies.
Hat tip to Ray James
written by Richard, December 26, 2012
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