There’s some exciting and promising innovations in energy occurring throughout our Air Force. I wanted to make you aware and also ask that you consider what you can do within your area of responsibility, or one adjacent. We have all read about the energy crisis; and likely wonder how to sort fact from fiction. But we are also watching as organizations large and small react by identifying areas where they can “lighten their footprint” on the environment. That resonates with me, as our Air Force is light and agile as well as lethal, and examining how we do this is a major part of Air Force Smart Operations.

What we are discovering is that there are, in fact, areas where we can lighten our footprint. As a part of our nation’s defense, we should consider what we need to be available in the event of an interruption in energy supplies, and to push technologies that reduce our energy demand. We launched several energy reduction initiatives around our Air Force including Low Speed Vehicles with reduced energy consumption; and yes the use of those florescent bulbs, that retailers are discounting, produce light at a reduced electrical load.

We are also working innovatively on the supply side, whether it is putting the largest solar panel field to work out at Nellis, or qualifying our aircraft to use synthetic fuel. Synthetic fuel is manufactured from coal, natural gas, or biological sources, like corn or algae. While we don’t plan on being a producer, we have established quality criteria, and a demonstration facility, as we want to be good environmental stewards, and also make sure we can fly our aircraft at expected performance and range criteria. The labs at Wright-Patterson, and the test wing at Edwards are leading the way. Airlines and propulsion companies are partnering with us to extend our efforts. We hope to do our part to reduce our, and maybe America’s, dependence on this more and more expensive source of energy, and that is petroleum.

Thank you for the innovations you already bring to our Air Force. It is helping us create a culture that can be mindful of the footprint we leave on the environment, and yet produce lethal combat power yielding sovereign options for America. I ask that you continue to use your capabilities to uncover new and different ways to increase our energy efficiency in the most effective way.