October 26, 2011

Events from Around Town: Air Force Association Breakfast with Dr. Kevin Geiss

Speaking to an audience of defense industry representatives,
international officers and energy policy leaders from the Pentagon this
morning, Dr. Kevin Geiss, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Energy for
the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations,
Environment and Logistics, updated the
Air Force’s efforts to promote energy security
. Geiss’s office is
responsible for providing oversight and direction for Air Force efforts that
promote and lead to the effective and efficient use of energy in support of the
global Air Force mission to fly, fight and win in air, space and cyberspace.  The four tenets of the Air Force’s energy
plan are to improve resiliency of Air Force energy supplies, reduce demand for
energy, increase supply of energy through local power generation and change the
Air Force’s culture to think of energy in all aspects of the Air Force

One of the largest challenges for the Air Force is to reduce
the overall demand for energy. The U.S. Air Force is the largest consumer of
energy in the Department of Defense (DOD), and almost eighty percent of that
energy usage is from aviation operations, liquid fuels in particular. The Air
Force’s Air Mobility Command consumes 60 percent of DOD’s aviation fuel – 39
percent of DOD’s total fuel consumption. Air Mobility Command is leading the way to reduce the Air Force burden
on DOD’s energy bill by improving energy efficiency in its platforms.

The Air Mobility Command faces many challenges. Operating
large fleets of aircraft leads to many inefficiencies. Longer aircraft taxi times
and longer auxiliary power unit operating times burn more fuel.  Changes in aircraft center of gravity and
overall weight can impact aircraft fuel efficiency. Inefficient or imprecise flight
planning and routing can lead to longer flight times and therefore burn more
fuel. By improving operational discipline in each of these areas, Air Mobility
Command will reduce fuel consumption enough that they expect to save $325
million over the next five years. 

These efforts are already demonstrating a new level of
performance in the execution of air mobility missions. During the past few
years, there has been a 27 percent increase in the amount of cargo moved by air,
but only a 3 percent increase in the cost of aviation fuel to support that
growth. Air Mobility Command’s efforts are an example of a new level of
discipline that hopefully translates across all areas of military operations
and energy conservation.

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Lieutenant Colonel
Thomas M. Cooper is the Senior Coast Air Force Fellow at the Center for a New
American Security. Any views expressed in this blog post are those of the
author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the U.S. Air Force,
Department of Defense or the U.S. Government.