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DoD energy strategy: "More fight - less fuel"

When Undersecretary of Defense Kenneth Krieg asked Defense Science Board (Memorandum, 2 May 2006) to form a Task Force on DoD energy strategy he specifically used two words very often – identify and assess.

The DSB released its report called DoD Energy Strategy: "More Fight - Less Fuel" (PDF) on February 12, 2008. The title of Section 2.2.2 is Peak Oil. Not surprising, because James Schlesinger was the co-chairman of the DoD Task Force.

Section 2.2.2 on peak oil (pages 13-14) briefly describes the Hubbert theory, and the various government reports on peak oil (Hirsch, National Petroleum Council and GAO).

The section concludes:

Among the implications for DoD are that after peaking, prices for fuel will be even higher than today. The Task Force did not discuss the geopolitical, economic or national security implications of peak oil, but the recommendations in this report regarding reduced fuel demand would help mitigate its effects.

It is unfortunate that the report (135 pages) lacks direct and precise answers to what it was asked to deliver. If you hope to find some data on US military energy consumption then this report is probably not the one to look for. It does not give the evolution of energy use by fuel, by DoD service, by platform, by type, by location, by cost, by emissions? It is not enough to blame the insufficiency of energy demand data. Have they looked at the Federal Energy Management Reports of each DoD service? No! (unless it is given in the Classified Appendix G). If you don’t know where, why, what is used and if you don’t calculate the future path by taking into account of current and future inventory then you end up repeating what the 2001 DSB report “More Capable Warfighting Through Reduced Fuel Burden” had said 7 years ago.

The new DSB report resembles Colonel Gregory J. Lengyel’s report called
“Department of Defense Energy Strategy - Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks” (The Brookings Institution, August 2007). But Colonel’s report has more data and less exotic solutions.

By the way, the US National Space Society had released a report on October 10, 2007 on “Space‐Based Solar Power As an Opportunity for Strategic Security” which deals with very very long term solution which may sound (at least to me) like science fiction today. It is highly recommended technology choice by the new DSB report.

Editorial Notes: Added paragraphs 3 and 4 (describing the report) to Sohbet's text. Sohbet Karbuz has contributed many articles to Energy Bulletin and maintains his own blog. -BA

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