Tag Archives: energy

Abundance and Utility

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For Military Operations, Liquid Fuels Remain a Solid Choice over Natural Gas

By Bret Strogen and Patrick Lobner

Military energy strategists often recount the British Royal Navy’s decision in the early twentieth century to convert ships from coal to oil fuel. This transition improved their capability by reducing fuel handling personnel, increasing ship speed, and doubling travel range, though it required expensive testing and retrofitting of ships with new engines, and introduced risks by relying on a less familiar fuel that would need to be sourced internationally (whereas British coal was plentiful).(1) In hindsight a smart and inevitable decision, at the time many experts argued against the shift. Today, similar to the Royal Navy’s decision point a hundred years ago, any shift away from liquid fuels must undergo intense scrutiny to ensure such a transition increases the U.S. military’s capability.

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Recharging the Force

USE ME leadart web

Energy Harvesting and the Future of Warfighter Power

By George Jagels

The growing power demands for modern warfare, in which batteries for radios, GPS receivers, computers, and optics, among other devices, compete for rucksack space with water and ammunition, are forcing the U.S. military to rethink how it powers the warfighter. A reliable source of renewable energy could allow for fewer batteries clogging an already heavy rucksack. This would reduce both the numbers and variety of batteries carried, as rechargeable units could do most of the work. The result could be a more resilient force less dependent on complicated logistics and, consequently, engaging in fewer dangerous resupply operations.

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USMC Energy: Extending the Corps’ Reach

NEW HEADSHOT USE MEColCaley

A conversation with the Director of the USMC’s Expeditionary Energy Office

Colonel Jim Caley served in a number of logistics leadership roles during the 1990s, including deployments to Somalia and the Republic of Korea. After serving as the Operations Officer and Executive Officer for Brigade Service Support Group-1 at Camp Pendleton, Col. Caley deployed as the Executive Officer of Combat Service Support Group-11 to Kuwait and Iraq. After attending the School of Advanced Warfare and serving again in Korea, in June 2006 Col. Caley became the Commanding Officer, Combat Logistics Battalion 13, and deployed to Iraq with 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit. He then spent a year at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces and was assigned to the Pakistan Afghanistan Coordination Cell on the Joint Staff. In July of 2011, Col. Caley took command of Combat Logistics Regiment 1, 1st Marine Logistics Group at Camp Pendleton. In July of 2013, he was reassigned to Marine Corps headquarters as the Director of Expeditionary Energy.

Interview by DoD P&E Editor George Jagels

DoD P&E: In broad terms, what is the purpose of the Expeditionary Energy Office (E2O)? 

Col. Caley: Our job is to lead the Marine Corps’ energy innovation. The USMC has a great history of innovation—whether it’s the development of amphibious operations or close air support. The Corps has been really good at transforming itself when we needed to. E2O finds really cool innovations that give our forces more operational reach and make our Marines more effective. That may be an intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) platform that doesn’t take any gas, hybrid power systems that require half the fuel of current versions, or guiding the development of fuel-efficient armored vehicles.

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The Institutional Advantage: Building an Energy-informed Military

Asst Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Sharon Burke

Asst Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Sharon Burke

We interviewed Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Plans and Programs Sharon Burke in October 2013. Clearly passionate about the subject and deeply engaged in making energy a priority in planning, Ms. Burke discussed a wide range of problems and solutions that the Pentagon is addressing to make sure the lessons learned from the past 13 years are applied to future operations.

DoD PEP: Please describe your office’s background and basic functions.

Ms. Burke: Operational energy is the energy used to move, train, and sustain military forces. This comes out to about three-quarters of the energy the Department uses in any given year. Last year, this cost about $16 billion. One-quarter is facilities, or installation, energy used to heat, cool, and light buildings. This is not an inconsequential bill for us; we’re a big business, and it’s a variable cost, so we manage using a variety of methods. In this space, we must also comply with laws, executive orders, regulations, and so forth, whereas operational energy is generally exempt from these regulations because it is so closely tied to military operations.
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New Magazines Are Up

Take a look at our latest editions of Armor & Mobility and DoD Power, Energy & Propulsion at our website and issuu.com. These appeared as a “flipbook” double issue and went out to subscribers of both magazines. See features on Blue Force Tracking, vehicle ID, biofuels, and austere power. We also interviewed two luminaries in the maneuver warfare and operational energy field, respectively, BG David Bassett and Asst. Sec. Sharon Burke.

November A&M

November A&M


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Electrons to the Lowest Echelon

The Army and USMC Get Power to Dismounted Troops

By George Jagels

Over the past ten years, American warfighters have become increasingly technologically advanced. More and more soldiers and Marines carry GPS, smartphones, networked radios, nightvision systems, and laptops. These devices give Americans an edge on the battlefield few can match; from long-distances to the darkest night, U.S. personnel talk to and see each other remarkably well. Through this interconnectedness and awareness, the dismounted squad, which the Army has been focusing on beefing up, might be able to achieve a major goal: supremacy over adversaries in the same way U.S. armor and air branches face no peer competitors.

This equipment, however, does not come “free.” With more power, so to speak, comes more responsibility—much of which literally ends up on the backs of soldiers and Marines. Though their capabilities are improved, the overall weight carried by warfighters changed little during the last decade (the soldier humps about 16 pounds of batteries, according to the Army). As a result, the DoD must strive for a near perfect balance: lower weight and greater capability.

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Operational Energy by the Numbers

Take a look at the DoD’s energy use by the numbers. Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Plans and Programs Sharon Burke has worked diligently over the past few years to make energy a greater consideration in acquisition and strategy. (Graphic courtesy of OASD OEPP)

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TDM’s Brief Retech Recap

In support of DoD Power, Energy & Propulsion, our magazine focusing on the military’s operational energy needs, Tactical Defense Media headed to RETECH 2013. Held annually in the DC area, RETECH works hard to inform the renewables industry on federal government and military energy requirements that they can fill. Here’s a short list of some comments we found interesting.

USAF Perspective

In the conference’s opening session, Douglas Tucker, Senior Facilities Energy Engineer, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment and Logistics, discussed the USAF’s requirements. He reinforced the idea that efficiency is critical—particularly in forward-deployed bases—while noting that in CONUS facilities are so diverse that one renewable energy standard for the whole service is very difficult to achieve. Moreover, he said, renewable energy must be “cost competitive and reliable.”

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