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The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) must prepare now to transition smoothly to a future in which it does not depend on petroleum. This is no small task: up to 77 percent of DOD’s massive energy needs – and most of the aircraft, ground vehicles, ships and weapons systems that DOD is purchasing today – depend on petroleum for fuel.
In Fueling the Future Force: Preparing the Department of Defense for a Post-Petroleum Era, report authors Christine Parthemore and John Nagl argue that to ready America’s armed forces for tomorrow’s challenges, DOD should ensure that it can operate all of its systems on non-petroleum fuels by 2040. Parthemore and Nagl recommend 12 specific guiding principles that will help DOD map a path forward that relies on technological innovation, fuel source diversification and efficiency to hedge against price spikes and scarcities and to accommodate America’s economic, political and environmental needs. The authors argue that by planning now around these likely future conditions, DOD can weather change, protect its own interests, reduce its vulnerability to extreme price spikes and – most importantly – ensure that it can meet its mandate to protect the nation’s security.