Lynn: Energy Strategy Will Help Forces Adapt for Future

WASHINGTON, June 14, 2011 — Deputy Defense Sec­re­tary William J. Lynn III released the department’s new oper­a­tional ener­gy strat­e­gy today, say­ing it is con­sis­tent with efforts to adapt the forces to emerg­ing threats.
Lynn said he and Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates have been con­sis­tent in speak­ing of the need to “bet­ter man­age the defense enter­prise to adapt our forces to emerg­ing threats, and to sus­tain a strong and capa­ble mil­i­tary.”

“Our use of ener­gy cuts across each of these issues,” he said dur­ing a Pen­ta­gon news brief­ing. “It affects mil­i­tary plan­ners, acqui­si­tion man­agers and the warfight­ers alike. The way we build ener­gy into our oper­a­tions is a core part of fight­ing and win­ning the nation’s wars.”

Lynn released the strat­e­gy dur­ing a brief­ing with Sharon Burke, assis­tant sec­re­tary of defense for oper­a­tional ener­gy plans and pro­grams, a posi­tion cre­at­ed after the Qua­dren­ni­al Defense Review last year raised the need for the military’s ener­gy use to be con­sid­ered in oper­a­tional strat­e­gy. Gates and Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma sup­port­ed the idea, and it was signed into law as part of the 2009 Nation­al Defense Autho­riza­tion Act.

The depart­ment makes up 80 per­cent of the fed­er­al government’s ener­gy use, and 1 per­cent of the nation as a whole, Lynn said. It spent $15 bil­lion on ener­gy last year, 75 per­cent of which was for mil­i­tary oper­a­tions. The department’s gaso­line costs are up 225 per­cent from a decade ago, he added.

In releas­ing the strat­e­gy, Lynn and Burke said the plan will reduce costs, and also improve mil­i­tary capa­bil­i­ties.

“Not only does [ener­gy] cost the tax­pay­ers, it costs the warfight­ers,” Lynn said. “Every dol­lar spent on ener­gy use is a dol­lar not spent on oth­er warfight­ing pri­or­i­ties.”

Lynn said there is “a clear con­nec­tion” between inno­va­tion and ener­gy tech­nol­o­gy and the abil­i­ty to project mil­i­tary pow­er. “Whether deploy­ing and sus­tain­ing forces at the front, or pow­er­ing mis­sion-crit­i­cal facil­i­ties they depend on in the rear,” he said, “every­thing we do, every mis­sion we per­form, requires sig­nif­i­cant amounts of ener­gy.”

But, he added, “Ensur­ing the forces have the ener­gy they need, when they need it, is not easy.”

At least 80 per­cent of land con­voys in Afghanistan are for trans­port­ing fuel to warfight­ers, Lynn said. The routes are laced with road­side bombs and prone to ambush, he not­ed, result­ing in 1,100 insur­gent attacks last year.

“The less ener­gy we need, the more oper­a­tional­ly resilient we will be,” he said.

The strat­e­gy address­es ener­gy needs as a broad, mil­i­tary chal­lenge and calls for reduc­ing demand, improv­ing effi­cien­cy and low­er­ing costs, Lynn said. “This strat­e­gy is good for the tax­pay­ers and the warfight­ers, and it’s long over­due.”

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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