Powering the Armed Forces: Meeting the Military's Energy Challenges

Admiral Gary Roughead, Annenberg Distinguished Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University

Monday, October 22, 2012 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

From the introduction to the book "Powering the Armed Forces, Meeting the Military's Energy Challenges," written by Sharon E. Burke, assistant secretary of defense for operational energy plans and programs:

For the nation, our energy security, economic well-being and national security are inextricably linked. For the U.S. Department of Defense, better energy security means a more effective military force–one that is more agile, lethal and adaptable, and one that can better fulfill its mission to protect the nation.

At the same time, several trends, from the rising global demand for energy to changing geopolitics, as well as new threats, mean that the cost and availability of energy for Americans and our troops will be less certain in the future. By being smarter about our energy use, we can make a military and nation built to last.

Whether at our fixed installations or in operations, department energy initiatives are about meeting the defense mission, today and for the future. Our challenge is to ensure that U.S. forces can meet any threat, anywhere in the world. To ensure this, we must improve the efficiency of our energy use, diversify our energy sources and ultimately build a military force that uses energy as a strategic advantage rather than as a burden. As General John Allen, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, wrote in a recent memorandum to our men and women there: “How we use energy in the battle space can provide a strategic and tactical advantage. ... This is about combat effectiveness.” Indeed, General Allen’s observations are as important for rebalancing our force in the Asia-Pacific region as they are for conducting our mission in Afghanistan.

There is another important benefit to our energy security initiatives. The Department of Defense spent more than $15 billion on energy for military operations last year. However, this is one area where we really can get more with less: We can get more military capability and better infrastructure with less energy and lower bills for American taxpayers. That is yet another reason why the department will continue to be a leader in harnessing energy innovation to enhance our operational effectiveness. And as we promote innovations in efficiency, renewable energy and other technologies to make us a better military, we will also lead the way for the nation.

Brief Bio:

Admiral Gary Roughead, U.S. Navy (Ret.), an Annenberg distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1973. In September 2007, Gary became the twenty-ninth chief of naval operations after holding six operational commands. He is one of only two officers in the Navy's history to have commanded both the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets.

Ashore, Gary served as the commandant of the U.S. Naval Academy, during which time he led the strategic planning efforts that underpinned that institution's first capital campaign. He was also the navy's chief of legislative affairs, responsible for the Department of the Navy's interactions with Congress, and the deputy commander of the U.S. Pacific Command during the massive relief effort following the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean.

Recommended Reading:

Powering the Armed Forces: Meeting the Military's Energy Challenges