September 27, 2010

CNAS Report Urges DOD to Prepare for Post-Petroleum Era

Washington, D.C., September 27, 2010 -- The United States assumes an array of geopolitical, operational, economic and environmental risks with its current energy system.

The challenges are perhaps most daunting for the Department of Defense (DOD), with wartime fuel supply systems vulnerable to attack and a heavy dependence on a single type of fuel, petroleum, to meet 77 percent of its energy needs. 

A new report by the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), Fueling the Future Force: Preparing the Department of Defense for a Post-Petroleum Era, recommends that the Department of Defense (DOD) plan now to transition to a future in which it does not depend on petroleum.

In Fueling the Future Force, 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. The report also offers 12 guiding principles that will help DOD as it develops a comprehensive long-term energy strategy, one that should rely on technological innovation, efficiency and fuel source diversification to hedge against price spikes and scarcities.

Download Fueling the Future Force here.

"Reducing dependence on petroleum will help ensure the long-term ability of the military to carry out its assigned missions,” write the authors. “Moving beyond petroleum will allow DOD to lead in the development of innovative technologies that can benefit the nation more broadly, while signaling to the world that the United States has as innovative and adaptable force.” According to Parthemore and Nagl, making this transition “will help DOD to hedge against unbearable costs, maintain its flexibility and guarantee its ability to protect and defend the United States against all enemies — regardless of the availability of petroleum-based fuels.”