Humvees burn through fuel quickly and leave more than tire tracks in their wake. Acknowledging the impact that high energy demand can have on operational effectiveness and broader strategic aims, the United States Marine Corps has recently taken steps to address the service’s challenges with operation fuel use. At the first ever USMC Energy Summit on 13 August, Commandant of the Marine Corps General James T. Conway called for greater battlefield efficiency and continued progress in creating “net-zero” installations, which when finished will produce as much energy as they consume. Following up on initiatives announced at the summit, Marines in Afghanistan began a battlefield energy audit this week to determine areas of improvement in energy efficiency.
Photo: Humvees stand parked at Patrol Base Jaker in the Nawa district of Afghanistan's Helmand province. Courtesy of Staff Sergeant William Greeson and the Department of Defense.
In recent weeks a number of developments have been taking place within the armed services – in particular the Marine Corps and the Navy – to increase energy efficiency and develop alternative fuel technology.
The inaugural United States Marine Corps Energy Summit took place last week where top brass spoke to the necessity of reducing energy consumption. The operational energy demands of the USMC are huge: in one day in Afghanistan, U.S. Marines now burn through more than 800,000 gallons of fuel. In order to reduce threats to convoys that supply Marines’ logistics needs, such as fuel, Commandant of the Marine Corps General James T. Conway suggests greater battlefield energy efficiency. His call is no empty rally cry; this week Marines in Afghanistan began the first ever energy audit in a war zone.
Congress basically defined global climate change as a national security issue in the Defense Authorization Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-181). That Act required the Department of Defense to consider the effects of climate change on facilities, capabilities, missions, and partnerships and alliances, directing the Department to incorporate such concerns into all its strategy and planning documents.
That means that the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review, DoD’s premier strategy document, by law will include consideration of climate change for the first time.