Photo: Two U.S. Coast Guard Maritime Enforcement Specialists provide security at Rowes Wharf in Boston on April 15. Boston-based Coast Guard units have increased their patrols since the bombing at the Boston Marathon. Photo courtesy Petty Officer 3rd Class MyeongHi Clegg and the United States Coast Guard.
The Obama administration signaled continued commitment to advanced biofuels research and fuel supply diversification in the President’s FY 2014 budget proposal, released this week. From the proposed budget:
The Budget continues to promote fuel supply diversification by providing $282 million at DOE to develop and demonstrate conversion technologies to produce cellulosic ethanol and other advanced biofuels, such as algae-derived biofuels and “drop-in” replacements for diesel and jet fuel, for civilian and military uses.
As the U.S. Navy works to diversify its fuel supply (partly through advanced biofuels) and deploy a “Great Green Fleet” in 2016, it should coordinate with ongoing efforts at the Department of Energy. By doing so, the Navy could strive to reduce costs, avoid redundancies and drive appropriate technological advancements.
For context, the Navy’s biofuel purchase for its 2012 "Great Green Fleet" demonstration, pictured above, carried a price tag of $26 per gallon in 2011, down from $424 a gallon in 2009.
Photo: The Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Henry J. Kaiser delivers a 50-50 blend of fuel to the guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton during the "Great Green Fleet" demonstration. Courtesy of Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Andrew M. Jandik and the U.S. Navy.
The policy community has given increasing attention to 3D printing, the process of constructing 3-dimensional objects from a digital model by layering materials – from polymers to metals – in an additive manufacturing process. There are myriad applications of 3D printing, from building repair parts to whole homes. Some, including our colleagues at the Center for Climate and Security, have written on the promises of 3D printing to transform global trade and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, or to make countries more resilient to climate change by making supply chains less vulnerable to natural disasters.
The Army’s Rapid Equipping Force (REF) has been using 3D printers in combat theatres, including Afghanistan, in order to reduce operational vulnerabilities associated with logistic tails. Last November, Wired Magazine reported that “At Camp Nathan Smith outside of Kandahar, there's a 20-foot cargo container loaded with a 3D printer, a computer-controlled machine for cutting metal, and a couple of Ph.D.s. It's one of three REF ‘expeditionary labs’ placed around Afghanistan that can quickly design and prototype tools for troops on the ground right now.”
In this photo, Army researchers at the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center experiment with different designs of protective masks for soldiers. Similar types of equipment, like replacement bolts for soldiers' rifles, are already being fielded in Afghanistan through the Army's REF.
Photo: Courtesy of Tom Faulkner and RDECOM Public Affairs.
Today is World Water Day, a day to promote awareness of the acute water and food shortages plaguing the estimated 1 out of 8 people in the world that lack reliable access to clean drinking water.
Last year, then Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said that water is “an essential ingredient of global peace, stability, and security,” adding, “We think it actually is our duty and responsibility to make sure that this water issue stays at the very top of America’s foreign policy and national security agenda.”
Secretary Clinton’s remarks last year coincided with the release of an intelligence community assessment on Global Water Security, a study commissioned by the State Department to analyze the effect of water on U.S. foreign policy and national security interests. “This assessment is a landmark document that puts water security in its rightful place as part of national security,” Secretary Clinton said of the report.
Photo: An aerial view of one of the tributaries of the Niger River. Courtesy of Shaw McCutcheon and the United Nations.
Photo: The Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Laramie refuels the amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu on March 3, 2013, which is supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the Middle East and North Africa. Courtesy of Petty Officer 3rd Class Michael Duran and the U.S. Navy.
President Obama delivered his State of the Union address on Tuesday. In his speech, the president promised, in the absence of congressional action, to use his executive authority to address climate change and would seek recommendations from his Cabinet to help “prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change.”
Photo: Courtesy of Pete Souza and the White House.
Senator Chuck Hagel, the president’s nominee for defense secretary, was joined by Senators John Warner and Sam Nunn prior to his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday.
In his responses for the record, Senator Hagel addressed two important issues relevant to DOD energy and maritime security interests.
"We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms.
The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition, we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries, we must claim its promise. That’s how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure -- our forests and waterways, our crop lands and snow-capped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared."
President Barack Obama, Second Inaugural Address, January 22, 2013
The Shell drilling rig that ran aground off the Alaskan coast on New Year’s Eve was secured on Monday, officials said. The drilling rig Kulluk, pictured here on January 3, ran aground near an uninhabited island after a winter storm caused it to break free from the tug boat cables used to tow the vessel to Seattle. The grounding is the most recent in a string of setbacks for Shell’s Arctic drilling efforts and has given more evidence to critics charging that Shell and other international drilling companies are not yet Arctic ready.
The prospect of slower commercial activity in the Arctic should give pause to U.S. policymakers making plans for the Arctic. In particular, the resources necessary to protect U.S interests in the region – such as Coast Guard search and rescue and spill response assets – will depend in part on the pace of commercial activity in the region. These recent Arctic incidents should encourage policymakers to recalibrate their assumptions about activity in the region.
Photo: On January 3, the Kulluk remained grounded 40 miles southwest of Kodiak City, Alaska. Courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard.
Yesterday, Admiral Samuel J. Locklear, Command of U.S. Pacific Command, briefed the Pentagon press corps on the U.S. military’s rebalance to the Asia Pacific. Admiral Locklear spoke specifically to the ongoing territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas, saying, “We call on all the parties there, including the Chinese, to ensure that, as they approach these problems, that they do so in a way that avoids conflict, that avoids miscalculation, that uses the vehicles available today through diplomacy and through those legal forums that allow them to get to reasonable solutions on these without resorting to coercion or conflict.”
Admiral Locklear was also asked about the growing concerns surrounding China’s aircraft carrier. He responded: “My assessment is that if I were China and I was in the economic position that China is in, and I was in a position of where I have to look after my global security interests, I would consider building an aircraft carrier. And I might consider building several aircraft carriers. So the real question is whether we should be concerned with them or not. Like any other country that builds aircraft carriers is whether or not those types of platforms will be successfully integrated into a global security environment that's a peaceful one. And they have a role in maintaining the peaceful global security environment. If the issue is that they are not part of that global security environment, then I think we have to be concerned about them.”
Read the full transcript from the press briefing here.
Photo: Courtesy of Glenn Fawcett and the Department of Defense.