Tag Archives: energy security

Powering the Pivot

RIMPAC 2014 PHOTOEX

Operational Energy in the Asia-Pacific Theater

The U.S. military will confront different operational energy challenges as large numbers of forces transition from Central Command towards the Pacific region. To explain these changes, DoD Power & Energy Editor George Jagels spoke with Dr. Stacy Closson, who recently co-authored a report for the Center for National Policy entitled “Rebalance to Asia: Implications for U.S. Military Energy Use.”

Dr. Closson is an Assistant Professor at the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce and formerly worked in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. She is a Truman National Security Fellow and was named by the Atlantic Council an Emerging Leader of Environmental and Energy Policy.

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Do Biofuels Further National Security?

In what could be a brutal twist of irony, the New England Complex Systems Institute (NECSI) claimed in a recent report that U.S. biofuel subsidies, partly aimed at augmenting national security, are helping to stoke instability in countries considered vital to American security. According to the institute’s modeling, the rise in prices in 2011—which spurred food riots in Egypt and elsewhere—can partly be blamed on corn ethanol subsidies causing a redistribution of American maize from exports to fuel production, causing the price of food to climb. Their quantitative observations “suggest that protests may reflect not only long-standing political failings of governments, but also the sudden desperate straits of vulnerable populations. If food prices remain high, there is likely to be persistent and increasing global social disruption.”

Though biofuel amounts to a small proportion of DoD energy outlays (about 7 percent), its financial feasibility will be determined by whether the market grows and costs come down. But that exact market growth could make the Middle East more unstable, precipitating national security risks and a rise in the price of oil biofuels were supposed to help protect against in the long run.

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