Energy Security: an annotated military/security bibliography (2010 update)

September 28, 2010

The following is a selected list of studies of various aspects of energy security (including peak oil) which have either been conducted by members of the military/security research community, or which raise issues with direct military/security relevance.

This list is by no means complete, nor does it include the growing body of literature on the military/security aspects of climate change. These research studies are listed chronologically, in descending order. The annotation “POc” at the end of some entries indicates that the study deals with the peaking of global oil production and views it as a credible near-term concern.








  • Klare, Michael T., Blood and Oil, Holt, 2004, 265 pgs. POc


  • Klare, Michael T., Resource Wars, Holt, 2001, 289 pgs. POc


  • Rickover, Hyman (Admiral, USN), Energy Resources and our Future, speech given on May 14, 1957 in St. Paul, Minnesota.
    Considered to be “the father of the nuclear submarine”, Rickover was a far-sighted individual, as evidenced by this extract from his extraordinary speech:

    But the most significant distinction between optimistic and pessimistic fuel reserve statistics is that the optimists generally speak of the immediate future – the next twenty-five years or so – while the pessimists think in terms of a century from now. A century or even two is a short span in the history of a great people. It seems sensible to me to take a long view, even if this involves facing unpleasant facts.”

    Introduction here by Rep. Roscoe Bartlett which includes link to original text.

Two other military resources

  • Special mention should also be made of Andy Bochman’s ongoing work at the DoD Energy Blog. His information is thoughtfully presented and thoroughly sourced.

Appendix: Two non-military studies

The authors of the following two studies are not from the military/security research community. However, both studies are so fundamental to the oil-supply issue that they would surely be included in any thorough analysis of future oil supply. They are therefore appended to this bibliography.

1. International Energy Agency, World Energy Outlook 2008.
This WEO, marks a significant departure from the IEA’s traditional confidence in future oil supply. Its opening sentences state, “The world’s energy system is at a crossroads. Current global trends in energy supply and consumption are patently unsustainable….” It then warns of “dwindling resources in most parts of the world and accelerating decline rates everywhere (p. 3)”. The WEO calls for “an energy revolution” and concludes, “Time is running out and the time to act is now” (Executive Summary, p. 15). This sudden change in tone is confirmed by subsequent verbal statements made by IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol. In a videotaped interview with George Monbiot, Birol states, “The reason we are asking for a global energy revolution is to prepare everybody for difficult days and difficult times. I think we should be very careful….”
This interview is available here.

Despite this recent tone of concern and the evidence which the WEO presents, the IEA still seems very reluctant to state that the peaking of global oil production (whatever combination of factors “cause” the constriction) will present some very serious challenges, that effective mitigation will require decades of intensive & cooperative effort, and that that the world appears to be quite unprepared for this event. These three points are cornerstones of the Hirsch Report (below). The complete WEO is 578 pgs and must be purchased. The Executive Summary (15 pgs) is available here.

2. Hirsch, Robert et al., Peaking of World Oil Production: Impact, Mitigation and Risk Management, SAIC, Feb 2005, 91 pgs. POc
Dr. Hirsch’s landmark study is perhaps the most central document to the peak oil debate. This wiki provides a detailed introduction and links to both Hirsch’s summary and to the complete Hirsch Report.

Rick Munroe

Rick Munroe is a farmer and educator from Kingston, Ontario, Canada. He researches energy security issues for a national organization of Canadian family farmers.

Tags: Consumption & Demand, Fossil Fuels, Geopolitics & Military, Industry, Media & Communications, Oil