March 31, 2010

CNAS Field Trip: Obama's Energy & Climate Speech

As any of you who follow me on Twitter likely know by now, I accompanied three esteemed colleagues to President Obama's big energy speech today. We were quite fortunate to be able to attend, and I must say I appreciate the national security backdrop to the location (Andrews Air Force Base), the stage (set in front of Air Force One and a "Green" Hornet) and within the speech itself. We here at the blog surely concur that energy is a security issue, to be sure. 

I'll make a few quick notes about the content before I head out the door, but I'd be more interested in the thoughts of anyone who'd like to comment here - especially from our readers outside the Beltway.

What I liked the least: Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's comment that " in America, families are still filling their cars with fuel from deserts half a world away." This is not really true. Most months, American families fill their cars with oil mostly from Canada, Mexico, and from domestic sources. Nigeria and Saudi Arabia follow after that, but it fluctuates by month. Venezuela, another top-10 supplier, is pretty close by. Not to mention that petroleum is sold on a global market. Don't get me wrong - I think we need to move past petroleum as such a major fuel source, but to be honest I don't find that where we get it from makes a whole lot of difference, at least on the security side.

What I liked the most: President Obama stating that "We need to begin the transition to cleaner fuels now." I concur.

There was a lot I liked aboCNASers & Green Hornetut the president's speech and about the energy plan he rolled out - it seemed pragmatic and implementable, two of the characteristics our founders here at CNAS wanted to strive for more in creating security policy. What I do hope is that the level of interagency representation shown at this speech (the audience included everyone from Secretary Chu to Secretary Mabus, and Carol Browner to Admiral Roughead) continues on these issues. DOD has special needs and interests at stake on energy that must be considered in any national strategy. The optics of today's speech should be a strong indication that this is already the case.

Photo Courtesy of Christine Parthemore/CNAS. CNASers John Nagl, Abe Denmark (Put away your iPhone, Abe!!) and Shannon O'Reilly.