Study urges greater energy efficiency at DOD

The military's need for power is largely driven by new technological developments, particularly in the field of C4ISR, according to a forthcoming study from the Defense Science Board.

The Pentagon should embrace energy efficiency as a key design criterion for new weapon systems, vehicles and military bases, according to a yet-unpublished study by the Defense Science Board (DSB). Former Defense Department acquisition chief Kenneth Krieg directed a DSB task force in May 2006 to find ways to reduce the Defense Department's need for electricity and fuel. The group, co-chaired by former Energy and Defense Secretary James Schlesinger, also was asked to identify institutional barriers in the defense bureaucracy that stand in the way of a more energy-efficient military. The group has not yet published its final report, but Federal Computer Week obtained a set of briefing slides, dated June 27, summarizing the panel's findings. According to the slides, the U.S. military's demand for power has climbed steadily during the past decades. Deployed service members now consume an average of 27.3 gallons of fuel per day during operations in Iraq, compared with an average consumption rate of 1.7 gallons during World War II, the briefing slides state. The military's growing hunger for energy in theater is largely driven by new technological developments, particularly in the field of C4ISR systems ' military jargon for communications, surveillance and reconnaissance gear -- and unmanned vehicles, the DSB slides state. As a result, fuel makes up 70 percent of the weight of goods delivered to troops on the battlefield, according to DSB. But lugging fuel to the front lines restricts unit mobility and exposes convoy guards to enemy attacks, the briefing slides read. DSB panel members suggest several technological solutions to increase DOD systems' and vehicles' energy efficiency. For ground vehicles, these include the use of lighter, more resilient materials, and hybrid and electric engines. Fixed-wing aircraft would be more energy efficient when built with a blended wing body design -- an aircraft shape combining the traditional tube form with that of a flying wing, according to the briefing slides. DSB task force members also point out ways for conserving energy in DOD's fleet of 164,000 noncombat support vehicles, dubbed nontactical vehicles in military-speak. For example, DOD officials could use compact cars instead of gas-guzzling sport utility vehicles when possible, according to the slides. DSB task force members are sharply critical of the military's practice of refurbishing large stocks of vehicles and equipment worn from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the panel's briefing slides. The process, known as 'reset' in military jargon, is expected to cost the military tens of billions of dollars. Money budgeted for resetting often decades-old military equipment 'locks in' money that could otherwise be spent on exploiting new research and development toward more energy efficiency, the briefing slides read. 'Shouldn't we be far more aggressive and innovative and actively pursue current and near-term technologies, at least in part?' panel members asked. 'Reset, as now envisioned, needs 'serious reconsideration'' from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, they wrote. Linton Wells, a former Pentagon official and now a distinguished research professor and force transformation chair at the National Defense University, said Pentagon financial planners should start accounting for the cost of fuel differently. 'If gasoline is assumed to be $3 per gallon that's fine, except that when you deliver it by midair refueling'it's actually $40 per gallon,' Wells told FCW this week. Pricing fuel this way could have a big effect on some DOD programs, Wells said. 'The decision to re-engine an aircraft that might make no sense at $3 per gallon could make enormous sense at $40 per gallon,' he said.

NEXT STORY: Editorial: Time for a fresh start

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.