email

View Comments

Leading by Example

Representatives from the Navy, the Marines, and the Army Corps of Engineers illustrate how the U.S. military is innovating to reduce its energy footprint for strategic and tactical reasons.

By Colonel Bob "Brutus" Charette, Jr. (USMC), Rear Admiral Philip Cullom (USN), Brigadier General Peter A. "Duke" DeLuca, Jonathan Powers | Workshops for Ethics in Business | October 7, 2010

Loading the player...

Right-click here to download.

DEVIN STEWART: I'm going to turn it over to Captain Jon Powers, who is the chief operating officer of the Truman National Security Project and also heavily involved with Operation Free. Some of us are wearing the pins. Thank you for the pin.

Jon, thank you so much for putting this together. This is an extraordinary event, and it's really an honor to have all of these great people who have served our country. I just want to take a moment to thank them for that. Thank you very much, sir.

JONATHAN POWERS: Thank you, Devin.

My name is Jonathan Powers. I'm the chief operating officer of the Truman National Security Project. I'm also an Iraq veteran. I spent 15 months in the 1st Armored Division in Baghdad and Najaf, Iraq.

One of the reasons today's event is called "Leadership by Example" is because it ties back to an experience I had when I first got in the military. I graduated from John Carroll University, where I was an ROTC [Reserve Officers' Training Corps] cadet. I had just gotten to my unit. I was a fresh lieutenant, and I was actually an education major. I had just learned about field artillery. And all of a sudden I was thrown in charge of a group of 40 combat soldiers and had to act like I knew what I was doing.

Luckily, I had a platoon sergeant who did.

This platoon sergeant grabbed my lapels and he dragged me around to the side of the motor pool and he said to me, "Sir, there are two types of leaders in this military. There are those that lead by rank and those that lead by example. The soldiers are going to follow those that outrank them because they have to. But they want to follow someone that sets an example, someone that sets a standard."

Unfortunately, I believe we as a country have been leading on energy by rank for too long. We're the biggest, we're the strongest, so we get what we need. We haven't begun to move into the 21st century with this issue.

But the military has begun to lead by example. We'll talk a lot about this today. They are looking at things like renewable energy. They are looking at what they can do on the battlefield and in installations, in a way that no other sector across the nation is doing.

That's one of the reasons we wanted to have this presentation.

A little bit of background on the Truman National Security Project. The Truman Project is a national security leadership institute. We have about 400 fellows across the country that have some type of national security background. Some of them are in the audience today.

Our goal is to train the next generation of national security leaders. Last summer we realized that we really should begin to reach out to more young Iraq and Afghanistan vets who are also passionate about this, and we launched something called Operation Free. Devin mentioned that there are some Operation Free pins around. You will see folks in the audience wearing them.

We launched Operation Free last August with the goal of having 100 veterans on board by the end of the year. We had 100 in two weeks, 150 at the White House two weeks later, and now we have over 700 across the country talking about this issue.

I'm going to show you a quick video that highlights some of the messaging and the work that these veterans have been doing [shows video].

One of the major talking points we have had as we have gone across the country and talked to people from Sandusky, Ohio, to Portland, Maine, is what the Defense Department is doing on clean energy, because it's groundbreaking and they are leading by example.

Military leaders, and even the CIA, have identified climate change as a threat to our national security. How is climate change a threat to our national security? It's a threat to global stability. It's both serious and urgent. Changes to the air and sea temperatures result in frequency and intensity of things like storms and droughts, whcih leads to a lack of drinking water. The problem with these changing environments is that they are happening in areas that are already fragile or destabilized, such as sub-Saharan Africa.

In military terms, climate change acts as a threat multiplier. These storms, droughts, and water problems cause things like mass migration and suffering. When it takes place in a country that has a fragile or unstable government, they can't address these challenges, and it provides opportunities for extremist groups to come in, take advantage, and even recruit the next generation of terrorists. This instability breeds insecurity.

A report from the Center for New American Security rightly points out that climate change may not be a threat that soldiers can attack and defeat, but it is likely to affect the safety and prosperity of every American, both through its effect on global stability and on our local environments.

Does climate change play a factor in what the Defense Department is doing on clean energy? It does. But what is more of a factor is the actual effect that energy has on our troops in the field. It's this concept that is driving a lot of the work that the Defense Department is doing.

On July 25, 2006, a commander in Al Anbar sent a letter. It was Marine Corps Major General Richard Zilmer. He submitted the letter to the Defense Department. He pointed out the hazards inherent in our American supply line, pointing out correctly that nearly 70 percent of our convoys are for fuel and water. It is a threat to his Marines; more importantly, it is a threat to all the troops on the ground.

If 70 percent of our convoys are for fuel and water, and the majority of our casualties that we are facing in the war zone are from these convoys, what piece of equipment do you think uses most of this fuel?

Is it Humvees? Is it tanks? No. It's our generators. It's the generators that are running the air conditioning in the tents and the computers that we need to execute our battles.

DOD [Department of Defense] began digging further in and said, for every $10 increase for a barrel of oil, it's costing the Defense Department $1.3 billion on their budget. That's the entire procurement budget for the Marines. From 2009, they saw it increase from about $30 a barrel to over $80. Imagine what that does to Defense planning when your budget is being crushed by fuel costs.

The title of this slide in particular refers to a quote from Marine General James Mattis [shows slide]. He said, "To unleash us from the tether of fuel."

The DOD recognizes the threat and is beginning to take action. Each of these leaders is going to talk a little bit about what their branches are doing.

DOD as a whole has launched an operational energy office very recently and is taking great steps to start to look at the challenges. Each branch is looking at different issues around sustainability and energy in the combat zone. They are identifying opportunities for renewables. While Washington is paralyzed from taking action to move us into this new clean economy, the military is taking action.

This is a picture from Nellis Air Force Base out in Nevada, a 70,000-solar panel installation, the largest in the country, and possibly the world [shows slide]. Unfortunately, our Air Force spokesman couldn't come today because of a personal issue. But this is a major piece of what the Air Force is focusing on.

While the military has been taking action, so have we. We have had veterans all across this country going to over 29 states and over 100 cities. We have talked to tens of thousands of Americans about these challenges. Over the last week alone, we had four tele-town halls. This means we talked to people in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan, and had over 17,000 people per call for almost an hour, who wanted to learn about these issues. This is incredible.

We had a letter signed by 33 admirals and generals. Hopefully, these gentlemen can back me up. There's not a whole lot you can get 33 admirals and generals to agree on. To get them to sign a letter is pretty exciting for us.

We have also published a report with the Pew Project on National Security, Energy, and Climate that is available in the back of the room. It highlights what the Defense Department is doing on clean energy and it really was the instigator for us putting this panel together today.

We have talked to the highest leaders in the land, which includes Senator Harry Reid. We have also had one of our veterans personally brief the President on these issues.

We have sponsored a NASCAR racing team, taking a group of veterans and retired admirals and generals out to Kansas City specifically to talk to NASCAR fans about the national security implications of our energy posture and climate change. We are hoping it has an effect. We're still raising money for it, by the way, if anyone is interested.

That hopefully lays out a little bit of the issue for you. We are hoping our military leaders can talk about what they are doing within their branches and the leadership they are showing on these issues.

The first one to speak is going to be Rear Admiral Philip Cullom, for the U.S. Navy. He is the director of Fleet Readiness. A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy with a degree in physics, he has served in numerous positions of leadership, to include commanding a carrier strike group. He is a leading advocate for this issue, both within DOD and outside. Just this last spring, he briefed our Truman fellows at our national conference. He has also been a mentor of mine through this process, where I have been learning more and more about what DOD is doing.

Sir, thank you for joining us.

PHILIP CULLOM: The first thing I would like to do, on behalf of all the panel members here, is to thank the Carnegie Council for hosting us and having this information be able to get out so that folks will know what it is the military is out there doing; and second, to Jonathan for being able to help herd the cats and gather us to get up here to New York City to be able to talk with you all.

The two questions that you are probably interested in finding out from me are, why does energy matter to the Navy, and why does clean energy matter to the Navy?

The answer to the first question—Jon said it fairly well when he said that the cost piece is certainly always a driver. The price for our fuel that I had to pay as the Fleet Readiness head went from $1.2 billion up to $5.1 billion when a barrel of oil went from $33 a barrel to $147 a barrel. That gets a lot of people's attention. That extra $4 billion is not going to things that are necessary for warfighters at the pointy end of the spear. That certainly is a key piece of it.

But second to that—military people always like to tell stories, and I'm going to tell you a sea story. The sea story is actually quite a few years old. We'll go to the next slide and I'll let you read this as we go [shows slide].

It's from World War II. That's Admiral King, who was Chief of Naval Operations during World War II. You can see how important oil was to him. A great story for that is a strike group of ships that were down in the South China Sea were stuck in the middle of a typhoon, in the depths of the war. They were using fuel at a pretty significant rate. They got to the point where the amount of fuel that they were using was so great that their tanks were almost empty. In some cases it was so empty that their engine stopped.

When your engine stops on a ship and you're in the middle of a typhoon, that's not good, because you go beam-in to the sea, you start rocking and rolling, and I've seen rolls up to 50 degrees or so. At that point, when you are not making any way through the water, you can actually capsize. That actually happened, and we lost not only numerous ships, but we also lost scores and scores of sailors, who died as a result of that.

That's a 60-year-old example. Let me fast-forward to today. Why does energy matter today?

In the audience here is Lieutenant Damian Blasie (phonetic). He's an F-18 naval flight officer. For him, it's one more time around the boat to be able to land his F-18. On a dark, stormy night, when there is a Dutch roll and the ship is moving around, he has already boltered twice and he has one more chance to come around, an extra 4 percent of fuel means he will be able to safely land and not punch out of his aircraft. That's where it matters.

As well, when you are alongside an oiler and you are replenishing, you are not able to do much warfighting. Also some of your defenses are down a little bit. That's a period of vulnerability. If you don't have to do that as much because you have increased the length of time that you can steam or the amount that your gas will take you, then you are giving back more warfighting capability to the sailors that are out there in the operating fleet.

As you can see, in World War II it was important; it's important today. Hopefully, that's why energy matters.

Why does clean energy matter? I'm going to make the case that it does matter as we go along.

There are two task forces that the Navy has stood up, Task Force Energy, which I run, and Task Force Climate Change, which the oceanographer of the Navy runs. Originally I was asked to run both of those. I don't have enough bandwidth to cover all that. So I made a deal. The deal was that if the other admiral was going to run that task force, I would have people on his task force and he would have people on my task force. That's the way we work it, because we really do see these as two sides of the same coin, for national security purposes.

This slide shows you the energy successes [shows slide]. It mattered in World War II, and we cared about it then. We have been caring about it for a fairly long period of time. These are things that we have embarked on over the years. These are not recent. Some of these go back over a decade:

  • At China Lake, the geothermal plant there has 270 megawatts of geothermal power that goes back to the grid. That helps out businesses, it helps out California energy customers, and it helps out the Navy.


  • An energy conservation program called i-ENCON [Incentivized Energy Conservation] allows us to incentivize sailors, ships, and commands to be able to make a difference on cutting back the amount of fuel that they use. They get money back if they do the best job at it, and that money back can be used to defray costs for other things that they would otherwise have to pay for on board the ship, including welfare and recreation for the sailors themselves. That always matters to the sailor at sea, after six or seven months at sea.


  • Guantanamo Bay wind farm has 3.7 megawatts of power that helps power the base there at Guantanamo Bay.


  • Here are aviation simulators and trainers that we use that don't burn that barrel of gas [show slide]. If you don't burn that barrel, it's the barrel you save forever. The more simulators we use, the more efficient we are and the less gas we are actually expending. But it has to be for the right series of missions that you do.


  • There is a whole series of photovoltaics at our naval base in San Diego [shows slide].


Since that point of ten or 15 years' worth of work, we also got a kick-start with the Recovery Act money, which we put to very good use across a broad range of things. They are quick-win things that would start netting us some return right away and then some things that were a little bit more visionary, that would help redesign some engines for the future, and then also some things that potentially could be game changers out there.

The result of that is that we are now institutionalizing energy into our Navy program. We look at in terms of two areas: efficiencies or alternatives.

The efficiencies, on the right-hand side, whether they be afloat or ashore, are really important [shows slide]. Again, those are either the British thermal units [BTUs] of grid power that you pull, or the barrels of fuel that you use. If you can conserve those and be more efficient with them, then those are warfighting capabilities returned to the operational fleet, and it's also the barrels of fuel and carbon that doesn't get released to the atmosphere.

On the alternative side, both afloat and ashore, you can see that we want to be able to assure mobility. At the end of the day we look at it in terms of warfighting capabilities and assuring our mobility so that we have other alternatives, other than petroleum, so that we can expand and extend our tactical reach so that we can fly further, we can drive our ships longer without having to have that next drink of fuel.

Lightening our load—and I think you'll hear a little bit more from my Marine Corps counterpart on that one—is an issue that's important not only on land. We have tens of thousands of sailors that are boots-on-ground in Iraq or Afghanistan today that also have to worry about those issues, and we also have to worry about it from the standpoint of aviation, for our planes. If you can lighten the load on the plane then that plane will fly further and it won't burn as much gas for the same mission.

Finally, protecting our critical infrastructure ashore is a piece of that. If we green our footprint, we can actually end up protecting our critical infrastructure better. The two of those things go hand in hand as well.

These are things that we are embarked on for the future, whether it be flying planes—and you may know that we flew a stock F-18 Hornet on biofuels. It was part of a test program that we had. That was on Earth Day. There was no mistake as to why we flew it on Earth Day. Again, we see those issues as integrally linked.

The sources of fuel that we are looking at, as well as on the efficiency side—you can see some of the things with vehicles that benefit not only the Navy, but also the Marine Corps—many of those things were initially kick-started by the Recovery Act money.

One of the things that was actually started a while ago is an electric-drive ship, the USS Makin Island. That electric-drive ship is significantly more efficient and effective, and burns a lot less fuel than its predecessor counterparts. This is an amphibious-type ship that both sailors and Marines are embarked upon. What we found when we sailed her on her maiden voyage from the East Coast to the West Coast is that she saved somewhere in the neighborhood of $1 million to $2 million, depending on the assumptions, just for that voyage.

Think about this: When we own these ships for 40 years, how much in overall costs do we end up saving as a result of that? And we can potentially make it go further without having to look for that next drink of fuel.

Let's talk about fuel for a second. A lot of people wonder, when we go to alternative fuels, where are we going with them?

The first thing that we are doing is going to drop-in replacements, meaning that we don't want to have to change out and reinvent every engine in the Navy inventory, whether it be for a plane or a ship. If you can use the engines you already have and instead redesign the fuel, you now have a very effective and efficient way to take the Navy we have today and be able to operate it in a very quick order and a very quick timeframe transition to these new types of fuels.

That is what we are doing. We are engineering this drop-in replacement. We don't have to reinvent the logistics fleet at all. We stay with the oilers, the ships, the infrastructure, the tanks—everything we already have. It's a 50/50 mix.

You can mix it with petroleum as you need to in the early stages. Ultimately, where we would like to go is to biofuels. That's the longer-range objective. You have to start somewhere and mitigate your risks. That's why we are starting with 50/50. This is a much simpler way to get to a quicker end state, which is movement towards these biofuels. Industry is moving in a very similar direction. We're looking at working with them in that regard.

Why next-generation biofuels? I know that on the tip of your tongue many of you who are familiar with this market say, "Well, haven't I heard a lot of problems with using these kinds of fuels on board ships?"

The answer to that is, yes, there are problems with first-generation biofuels. But that's not what we're looking at. We're looking at the second- or third-generation—again, it depends on the definition—of these fuels.

The feedstocks we are using is camelina and algae. We are agnostic about what the feedstock is, to a certain extent. What we do care about is making sure that it doesn't use up massive amounts of land and water, and that it could potentially be grown on marginal land so that you are not competing against the land that is used for other forms of agriculture. This, as we call it, is the energy return on investment—you don't have to put significant amounts of energy into that process just to get the petroleum equivalent.

Second- and third-generation biofuels have a particular advantage over first-generation because they have the energy density that we need. For our prime movers, for the heavy things, whether they be planes or ships that we have to move, we need essentially the energy density of petroleum. With second- and third-generation, it comes mighty close to that. It is the ballpark of 96, 97, 93 percentage of the energy density. That is exactly where we need to be so that we can continue to get that same effective range out of the fuels that we will use as a replacement.

This is a good way for me to talk about how the secretary of the Navy's objectives and the chief of Naval Operations' objectives actually correlate extraordinarily well. The secretary of the Navy has laid out some very challenging goals for us. Fifty percent of our operational fleet will operate on some form of a clean fuel by 2020. Keep in mind that nuclear power is 28 percent, and that is a clean form of fuel.

That still gives us a great challenge that we have to meet by 2020. That turns out to be 8 million barrels of biofuel, a replacement fuel to petroleum, by 2020. This is a very challenging goal indeed. That is already built into the assumptions that we also have to have greater efficiencies, because the first and best dollar spent, whether it be ashore or afloat, tends to be in terms of saving a barrel so you don't have to replace it with something else.

We need to make these other investments so that we can able to meet the secretary's other challenges, which are both 50 percent ashore by 2020, sailing a great green fleet with a demonstration of it in 2012—and you can see what's laid out there as the objectives—and by 2016 to actually deploy that great green fleet that is powered entirely on an alternative form of fuel [shows slide].

We are doing test and certification programs right now to ensure that on every platform—ships, planes, submarines, and aircraft carriers—every form of fuel is going to be an alternative form of fuel. That's the path we are embarking on.

If you remember, the USS Constitution's nickname was what? "Old Ironsides." Why? Because the cannonballs bounced off. Why? American ingenuity about the way in which the ship was built, the fact that we knew that if we did things a little differently—changed the length versus the breadth of the ship—it would sail two knots faster. That was combat capability. You could cross the T, as they used to call it, and you could win an engagement every time, or pretty much every time.

That's what we did then, and that's what we need to do today. For many of us, our parents' generation was always known as "the Greatest Generation." And they were.

What's our generation known as? We're great consumers, aren't we? We're really good consumers. But locusts are good consumers, too. They go through the field and they eat all the seed corn. I don't think that's what our generation wants to be remembered as. We want our generation to be remembered as a great generation, hopefully the greatest generation for our grandchildren. The way to do that is to be "the Regeneration Generation."

Thank you. I hope that helps make the case for why we have to go this route and why we are embarked on the path that we are and how determined we are that we have to see this through, and we need to do it quickly, because time truly is of the essence.

You can see that we are doing a naval energy forum on the 12th and 13th. I would invite all of you to sign up and come down to Washington, D.C., to the Reagan Center, where we're going to hold it.

Thank you.

JONATHAN POWERS: One of the reasons we wanted to hold this in New York City is because the Defense Department is doing an incredible amount on the big-picture side that the admiral just talked about.

The next speaker is going to talk a lot about what they are also doing on the ground. They are breaking new ground. It's technologies that may already be out there in the private sector and may be able to help with what the DOD is doing.

It's also an opportunity, from a market perspective, for folks in New York City where a lot of our funds flow through, to realize that there is an opportunity in the clean economy, and here's a sector for it.

Our next speaker is Colonel Bob Charette. Colonel Charette is from the Marine Corps, the director of Expeditionary Energy. Born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, he enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserves in 1985 and then attended Parris Island, where, I just learned upstairs, he finally knew that people in the Marine Corps could fly. He became an officer, to fly. He has held several positions of leadership throughout his career. As director of the Expeditionary Energy Office, he is launching first-of-its-kind programs, such as the Expeditionary Forward Operating Base, which I hope he is going to talk a little bit about today.

Also, being a pilot, as we were talking about our logistics in coming up here, I mentioned taking a train, and he wasn't sure if that was going to be the best option. I'm glad to see that he took a train up here this morning and it worked out well, and that he enjoyed the walk up here from Penn Station.

Sir, thank you so much. I look forward to hearing your comments.

BOB CHARETTE: Thanks, Jon.

We're not involved in this for anything else but to make the Marine Corps more combat-effective. We do that by getting Marines off the road. Those Marines are on their way right now to Afghanistan with these solutions. We believe they will save lives and they will make us more combat-effective.

The second- and third-order effects will save money and will save the climate. You pay the Marine Corps to go out there and fight your nation's battles, and we want to make it more effective. That's where we see the advantage in using these materials and these solutions. And that's what we're doing.

It was interesting watching those Marines go through training with those things. We approached them in June after doing some study at the Experimental Forward Operating Base. You don't approach a 19-year-old Marine and say, "Hey, listen, what do you think about this solar system?" They say, "Not on our watch. Go save polar bears somewhere else."

We quickly said, "Wait a second. You have the advantage of being able to get your friends off the road, hauling that fuel out there." In some locations we actually have Marines walking fuel in Afghanistan, because even if they can't get air support, they still need that fuel for the systems. So they are actually walking it.

Once they got out to the desert, they wanted nothing to do with this. We said, "Trust us. And, oh, by the way, my career depends on it. The commandant of the Marine Corps is going to fire me. So give me a chance. I have a wife and kids. I'm not ready to leave yet."

They took the standard "critical-of-change" approach. It was a great lesson in behavior change for us. As the Marines got more used to it, they found out that it was operating and that it worked well. The interesting thing was, we had two other Marine companies. I only showed you the video of the company we gave renewable, but the other two Marine companies were fully fossil-fueled companies.

Because it was in the middle of July in Twentynine Palms, California, and it was about 130 degrees on the deck, the other companies' generators all broke, which we see quite a bit, in combat even. They improvise, they overcome, they adapt, which is the standard Marine thing to do. They used their vehicles, and they plug in things and make things work.

Our systems today on the battlefield require a lot of power. The other Marines were miserable out there in the desert, and the Marines we gave renewables to were some of the happiest Marines that had been out in the desert at Twentynine Palms in many years.

That's kind of what we're doing in the Marine Corps.

I'm Colonel Bob "Brutus" Charette. I am a serial abuser of energy. I'm an F-18 pilot and spent many years on ship. As Admiral Cullom said, I always wished I had a little more gas in my tanks. I was on my way back to flying about a year ago, and then the Commandant of the Marine Corps, a big guy with four stars, said, "Not so fast. You're going to go stand up this energy office."

I looked at him and I said, "Well, you must have a sense of humor," because all I've done for the last 25 years is waste fuel, and now it's my turn to save fuel. It takes a crook to catch a crook, I guess.

That's what I'm doing right now. It has been fascinating.

We stood up this office last year. I have gotten to learn so much from industry. We have been out in the field with industry a couple of times this year, and then watching the behavior change of the Marines as they understand that this stuff can actually not only save climate and national security, but it can also save their knickers in a fight when they don't have to be on the roads looking for fuel. That really is a big selling point.

This is what the problem is in the Marine Corps. Over the last ten years, your Marine Corps has become extremely lethal. But to get there, we started off back on September 11, 2001, with about 64 megawatts of capacity in our garage. That's generators.

When we go to the field, we have to take generators with us. There's no plug-in to anybody's power grid, so we have to produce all that in place. Back in that timeframe, we only had about 2,000 generators in the Marine Corps, anything from two kilowatts up to about a 100-kilowatt generator. The Army takes care of the big power force. When the Army comes in, they have prime power, and we plug in with the Army and we work together as a joint team.

We only focus in that area, about 2 kilowatts to 100 kilowatts. We had about 2,000 of them in 2001. Today we have over 8,000 generators in the Marine Corps, which is enough to sink an aircraft carrier just by putting all the darn generators on it.

The point is, we are up at 303 megawatts of generator power. We can power small cities now with the Marine Corps. That's not exactly positive for us. It's good in the fact that it has made us more lethal, because they have powered systems that we today would never have imagined to have on the battlefield ten years ago.

However, they have made us now critically dependent on fuel and we're starting to look like a second land Army. We have a great land Army. We don't need a second land Army. We're soldiers from the sea. We work with the Navy. We work in the inter-domain space, the sea-land interface, and we need to be light. That's what it's all about for us, being able to power all the stuff we have learned in the last ten years in combat, but then to be able to bring it back to sea and power it in a sustainable way.

It takes a couple of things. We call it the triad. It takes behavior change, it takes increasing the efficiencies of the systems, and it creates renewable and sustainable energy. We are attacking all three sides of that triangle simultaneously, and sometimes repeatedly, especially the behavior side. That has been the most challenging.

When we went to Afghanistan last year with a similar-size unit, we ended up taking about 36 megawatts of power. That's twice what we planned to go to war with. So that's an issue.

Then, we increased the size of our force in Afghanistan with the surge. In just Afghanistan we are up to 64 megawatts. What does that mean? We can power Camp Pendleton, one of our major Marine bases, twice over with the amount of generated power that we have on the field today.

What does that mean? That means that we are burning about 200,000 gallons of fuel right now in Afghanistan every day. That's not a lot for the Army or the Navy or the Air Force, but the Marines are hauling the stuff around and walking some of it in streets like in Marjah in Afghanistan where they can't get air support. So it's critically important to us.

What does that mean? We are burning about eight gallons per Marine per day. That means each Marine is carrying about eight gallons—not literally, but when you take it in the aggregate.

What does it mean in the end? As I mentioned, the Marine Corps has gotten heavier. We like to think of expeditionary force as fast, lethal, and austere. That's what you pay us for. That's what you expect of your Marine Corps, and that's what we endeavor to be. Today we are heavy on the lethal—because we are a more lethal Marine Corps in the last ten years—but we're a little less on the austere and the fast.

We have to lighten our load. We have to get ourselves back aboard naval shipping, and we have to be prepared for the next one. We have to reduce our footprint. We have to change the behavior of the Marine Corps. We have to get back to our Spartan roots.

We have settled in a little bit in Iraq and Afghanistan, because that's what we have been asked to do. We need to start thinking about the next fight and also the fight we're in, which we'll talk about a little more. We also have to think about getting back to our naval character. That's what you pay us for and that's what we intend to do.

This is an Army study that was done [shows slide]. I will bring up the Marine numbers here in a second, but this is the Army study, the Sustain the Mission Project. These are Afghanistan numbers from 2003 to 2007, which includes some Army contractors [shows slide].

These are Army numbers—one killed or wounded for every 24 fuel convoys, one killed or wounded for every 21 water convoys [shows slide].

There are some assumptions in that report. We just did a three-month study, from March to June, and this is what were finding right now in the Marine Corps. We had 299 water and fuel convoys, basically three per day, in Afghanistan. We had six wounded in action during that time. Ten percent of our casualties came from hauling fuel and water, which are liquid logistics. We just recently had one Marine, unfortunately, killed in action hauling around fuel and water.

That's what we think about. That's what keeps us up at night.

This is how we're going to go about it. This is our long-term strategy [shows slide]. This strategy is going into three-star staffing right now, meaning the last level before it goes to the Commandant for signature.

We've been working on this since about March. We have had stakeholders throughout the Marine Corps, the Navy, the Air Force, and the Army helping us write this thing. We call it our base-to-battlefield strategy. That's where we want to go. We have eight gallons today of fossil fuel. By 2025, we want to go to 50 percent of that required for combat operations. I have the little buckets of green.

Whatever Admiral Cullom comes up with for biofuel, we want to work with our brethren in the Navy and make sure it works in our gear. We'll let the Navy figure out what that fuel is. We'll just make sure it works in our gear. But we want to have 50 percent of that reduced. We want only to bring mobility fuels to the battlefield in the future.

We don't see at this time, in 2025—kind of the target we're setting for ourselves—that hydrogen or some other thing is going to replace a liquid fuel. Just the energy density that we have is 42.8 millijoules per kilowatt per pound in JP-8. That's what we use in our airplanes and everything else. That's what we have to have, and we don't see that coming from anything but a liquid source.

We understand and recognize that liquid fuels will be on the battlefield. What our hope is, is that we're using less of it and that those systems are more efficient.

We have this strategy going on right now that I just mentioned. It's going to go to the commandant for signature. Since we have a commandant change, it will probably be signed by the next commandant.

We're backing up that purple diagram in there with a requirements document. We in the military can't buy anything. We can't just go, "Hey, we want to go to Walmart and buy whatever." At certain levels, we have done that.

We've gone to Home Depot to do some experimentation. But it's a very small dollar amount. We can talk about that later. When we're talking about making major programs in the military, we have to have a requirements document.

The middle diagram is the requirements document we are working on [shows slide]. That's due out in December. We're going to have a strategy, a requirements document, so we can actually put our money where our mouth is. Then we want to drive S&T [science and technology]—DOT-MIL PF [doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leader development, facilities and personnel] is the way we look at things in the military—to change material and non-material solutions. Non-material solutions are behavior, education, training, doctrine, where as material is going out and buying new things.

The commandant of the Marine Corps a couple of years ago came out with this vision and strategy for 2025. This is nested with the Naval Operations' plans. This is nested with the secretary of the Navy's plans and the president's plans.

We are building the energy strategy, which is draft, in the middle there [shows slide]. We have a couple of key goals that we need to do in the bases and stations to achieve the Commandant's plans. Finally, we have the how-to-do-it. That's the requirements document. That's the important thing, because this is how we communicate to the world, to industry, and to others about how to help us solve our own problem. This is where we go through the process.

Right now that capabilities document is going to go into final staffing here. Right now we have 29 gaps, meaning that there are 29 things right now that we know about that we cannot currently do on our own to get to where we want to go. We are going to have a bunch of experts come together in October and try to figure out a way ahead.

That's the long-term plan. This is the Experimental Forward Operating Base [shows slide]. It was something where the Commandant of the Marine Corps said we were not only going to stand up an office, but this is really a joint effort.

The Marine Corps Warfighting Lab is leading this thing. Our office is kind of the operations office for the Experimental Forward Operating Base. The Office of Naval Research [ONR] has done some tremendous work on it. We work with the Navy expeditionary team. They're in on this. The Power Surety Task Force of the OSD [Office of the Secretary of Defense] is in on this. This is really a holistic approach.

It's really something when you can take a bunch of military warfighters, put them at the table with contracting officers, with our finance people and our lawyers—and you can move out really quickly, especially if they are all focused. We basically went from nothing in November of last year to deploying trained Marines to combat with renewable systems in less than a year. That's because we put together a multifunctional team and said we were going to do something about it. Actually, the commandant of the Marine Corps said we were going to do something about it, and we moved out quickly.

So that's where we are today.

We spent about $3.5 million. You saw the results of that. That was on the filmstrip. It has been a fascinating, quick journey for us in the Marine Corps as we move out. We hope that these solutions will save lives and make them more effective.

I got kicked in the head over this picture [shows slide of Afghan house with solar panel]. I was in Afghanistan in the winter with the assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, who is now going through the confirmation process. This is right outside of Marjah. This is right before the assault on Marjah. We went over there to peek over the walls to get a look at Marjah. The assistant commandant was touring the battlefield and he wanted to get down to Marjah. He kicks me and then he goes, "Hey, Brutus, that Afghan farmer has more solar than the entire United States Marine Corps. What are you doing about it?"

So on October 2nd when the gear shows up, we will now have beaten the Afghans in this.

That's all I have. Thank you.

JONATHAN POWERS:
Leading by example—the Marines are really moving out on this.

One of the things that got us talking about this forum right here was, my colleague Jim Morin and I went to visit the Forward Operating Base down at Quantico, Virginia, when it was first set up. There were some great technologies in there, but there were also a lot of technologies that someone hooked to the back of their pickup truck and drove in to show the Marines.

We said, "What if they set this up in Silicon Valley and got them engaged in this? What if they set this up in Central Park and got people in New York City engaged in these new technologies?"

They have been leading the way, going out and talking about this around the country. But we want to help spread that message.

I'm an Army guy and when I was stationed in Baghdad as a platoon leader we were right in the heart of the city, living in one of Uday Hussein's old palaces. We got mortared pretty much on a nightly basis, if not a couple of times a night. As more Iraqis began to come around our base and get to know us and work with us, we noticed that mortars got closer and closer to our fuel tanks. Every night our fuel trucks had to get moved, because they became the number-one target of what the mortars were coming in to hit, which, for me, was a pretty eye-opening experience.

The next speaker has spent a lot of time over in Iraq, Brigadier General Peter DeLuca. He is a fellow ROTC graduate. Before the position he is in today, he led the 20th Engineer Brigade in combat in Iraq. I just asked him at lunch upstairs what year he was in Iraq, and he said, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2009. Is that right?

PETER DELUCA:
2003, 2004, 2007, and 2008.

JONATHAN POWERS: So quite a bit of time he spent over there.

Currently, he oversees planning, design, and construction of projects to support the military, protect America's water resources, and restore and enhance the environment along the Atlantic Coast. He's stationed right here around New York City. While the Navy and the Marines are focused on operational energy, the Army has a large domestic energy footprint and is beginning to look at that at their bases.

I'm going to let Brigadier General Peter DeLuca take it from there. Thank you so much for joining us.

PETER DELUCA: Thank you. On behalf of Dr. Katherine Hammack, the assistant secretary of the Army for installations and environment, we're pleased to be invited. I'm proud to represent her.

As a bonus, because you called on someone from the United States Army Corps of Engineers [USACE], I get to represent the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, Jo-Ellen Darcy. The issues of energy and the environment, including climate change, are clearly driving our processes and responses on the civil works side, which include flood risk management, coastal storm damage protection, hydropower—20 percent of the hydropower in America comes from a Corps of Engineers facility, which a lot of people don't realize—water supply, and, of course, environmental restoration and remediation, which in this region is a significant activity.

USACE is an operating agency of the Army. We provide the military construction that supports the base ops of the Army in the CONUS [contiguous United States] and abroad. This division is one of nine. We do all the work from Virginia through Maine and Europe and Africa.

We also do a number of national functions for the Army, including the privatized housing and lodging, enhanced-use leasing, which you'll hear a little bit about later, and classified construction and real property management around the world for the Corps of Engineers, from this division. We do a lot of work for the State Department in Africa, for PEPFAR [U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief] and the Millennium Challenge, as well as humanitarian assistance programs for EUCOM [United States European Command] and and AFRICOM [United States African Command] on the continent.

We have been given a number of tasks, both by policy and by law. In this case we'll focus on the policy. The Army is a component of DOD. DOD has set some pretty serious goals as a result of the EPACT [Energy Politcy Act] of 2005 and the EIAS [Energy Independence and Security Act] of 2007. We want to speak in these terms. There's a great deal of activity inside the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, if you look in the blue box at the four specific issues [see slide].

In the security assistance program, we are quite active. My European district is working in 20 different countries in Europe and Africa in support of operations for CJSOTF [Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force] in North Africa, as well as in support of the humanitarian programs that I mentioned earlier. We also are working military assistance programs with a variety of countries, including Israel, which is considering a relocation of a significant portion of their military into the Negev Desert. For that reason, we're going to host a delegation and visit some of the sites where we're doing work in America to show them what we might offer them. For military aid, they have called upon the services of the Corps in the past and they like the quality they get. They have therefore continued to expand that relationship with us.

In terms of defense acquisition, we play a great role there. In energy security and climate change you will see that we play a great role as well.

This is an example of the sources of legislation and executive orders, OST [Office of Science and Technology?] policies, and Army policies, that are driving the goals that we have set for the Army Corps of Engineers, as the agency that delivers construction to them. It's not just the facilities construction in America or in theater, but it's also expeditionary power.

My Philadelphia district controls the expeditionary power contracting around the world for OIF [Operation Iraqi Freedom] and OEF [Operation Enduring Freedom]. You are probably drawing power for some of your guys on the contracts put in place by my Philadelphia team.

We have set a lot of goals. The timeframe for those goals to elapse starts somewhere around 2015. I'm a brigadier general, and I got there because when people tell me to do something, I have done it. I'm trying to do these energy goals that the DOD has been told to execute, which is a 30 percent reduction from 2004 energy consumption levels by 2015. As I came into this job I have become very worried about it. We have a lot of new construction. This region has over half the Army BRAC [Base Closure and Realignment Commssion] program.

We'll never get there by just new construction alone. We have to address central utility plants and other things. That is something that we are not seeing requirements for in adequate amounts from our client. Our main client is the assistant chief of staff for installation management and the installation management commander, who controls what the Army is doing.

We also have some expeditionary energy-reduction activities that are going on, both Corps-sponsored and in the field Army.

Lastly, on the civil works side, we are involved in energy reductions and soon to be in greenhouse gas and carbon reductions. We are working on parts of the project activity and the lifecycle management of projects and how they behave under climate-change scenarios.

We have centers at the USACE headquarters that focus on sustainable design. We have established in the last 15 months, while I've been in this job, a sustainable engineering center here in the North Atlantic Division. We are in the lead in certain areas within the Army, certainly, and with industry partners in the country. So that's very exciting.

Everything in BRAC is LEED [Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design] Silver standard, and we have several facilities that are going for LEED Gold. It's not the end-all-and-be-all, for those who are acquainted with LEED. LEED 2.2 for new construction is better than the recent 2009 version, where 15 percent of your credits must come from energy-reduction features. We're trying to get after a standard that's even higher than LEED, working with our IMCOM [U.S. Army Installation Management Command] customer, who really will tell us what those standards are going to be, but we do have the opportunity to shape that.

There is a lot of activity happening. There are 66 projects around the country that are employing renewable energy right now. If you look at the upper right-hand corner picture, that's a picture of a solar array at Fort Drum [shows slide]. The reality of Fort Drum is that the main source of power for all the facilities there is geothermal, and it has been since the 1980s. The coal-fired power plant that exists in Fort Drum actually provides no power to Fort Drum. It sells it to the local community. We would like to get all our Army installations in such a position.

The other one I would like to highlight is Fort Irwin in California, on the lower left-hand side of the screen [shows slide]. That is a very unique project, because it is truly a partnership with industry, under a program called the Enhanced-Use Lease System, which allows bases to take terrain that is not in use for military purposes at the base, but is owned by DOD, and you are allowed to lease it to private business, which makes improvements, and for a period of time, they can achieve revenues through use of that land and improvements.

At the end of the period of the lease, the improvements and everything else return to the Army's ownership, DOD's ownership. In the meantime, there is a stream of revenue payments to the garrison that they cannot get through the budgeting process.

At Fort Irwin, we have an enhanced-use lease in place where a private developer is putting in a solar photovoltaic array that will take Fort Irwin off the grid and it will be self-sufficient in its power. I suspect when that is nearing completion, we will find the demand for this kind of enhanced-use lease across the Army exploding. We are already reorganizing our teams in this division to be able to meet that additional demand.

We kind of built our bases, and even our overseas presence, part by part, maximizing the perceived benefit of each part individually. That has resulted in the energy consumption posture that the Army is in. We recognize that what we have to get at is sort of a systems engineering approach—smart cities, if you will.

IBM is looking at smart cities management for energy use, among other things. We have to take a similar approach. We are studying what's going on with cities and states around the country, as well as some of the private industry initiatives, to try to get a way to address this. Those discussions about central utility plants are a part of that that I mentioned earlier.

We have the ultimate goal, obviously, of net zero energy for individual facilities, as well as installations. This is a very challenging thing. Of course, by the end of FY12 [Financial Year of 2012], we have the goal of five installations that are designated to become net zero energy by 2021. That's not a lot, but these are pilots. We'll learn a lot from those pilots. We are already learning from some of our renewable features.

We have put solar photovoltaic arrays in a variety of places around the Northeast region, most recently at Sea Girt National Training Center. Just the two facilities they have for solar power, which are not extremely large, in New Jersey, which is not the sunniest state in the union, will reduce their carbon consumption by 7 million pounds over the next 30 years. That's the equivalent of planting 1,000 trees or driving 9 million fewer miles on New Jersey highways.

So it doesn't have to be gargantuan to have a huge impact, when multiplied across, say, every parking lot in the DOD which you can put a pole barn over and put solar arrays on. We think we have a way to get at this, and 25 installations by 2030, is one of the goals that the Army has set for us.

I am in search of net zero pilot projects in this region. I need to go to a big project to get enough buffer that people will not be afraid of what they perceive as the additional costs.

We have requirements coming up in this region to build the Cyber Command campus in Maryland. They will be a huge energy consumer, so we will be negotiating with that client to try to get them to buy into as much net zero capability as we can get them to so that they have a campus that is self-sufficient and is able to be operational 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, because Cyber Command is going to be required and called upon without any sorts of breaks.

The other is on the civil works side. We have a large project in the works, which is that we are setting up offices and government structures for the Virginia Port Authority, which wants to build the greenest port in the world. It will double the capability of Norfolk and Hampton Roads to receive dry cargo. We each have a component of the project for the creation of a new port system there, which will be over a $1 billion project. I'm hoping that we can convince them, given their own stated objectives to be the greenest harbor in the world, to put in some of the features that are perceived as experimental and are perceived, sometimes incorrectly, as adding costs.

We have a general figure, that these kinds of things are going to add costs to our dollar amount. If you want to get to energy reductions of between 30 and 60 percent and water supply reductions of 30 percent, then you are going to pay 10 percent more. That so far has proven to be true for the BRAC program. We know that with clever design and more experience, we will get to the point where we can add these features without adding any costs, bringing them in at the same price.

The other thing that we hope we can do is get to a point where we do lifecycle management. I'll talk a little bit more about that later.

Something we are doing in the field that is similar to what the U.S. Marine Corps briefed, in some ways, is using solar arrays better. There are also simple things, like coating tents and other structures that require huge environmental control unit support, so that they reduce the HVAC [Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning] demand and significantly reduce the power-generation demands. It sounds simple, and it is, but it actually works.

In addition, we want to use some of those things that have gotten us into trouble in the past, like refuse and garbage burning that has led to some claims of illness and other things by soldiers called upon to carry out those tasks. We want to try to use that as a resource and turn it into energy. There are several systems that are being tested right now in theater.

The other thing I wanted to highlight here, which sounds very simple—and it is—is solar-powered security lights. These made a tremendous difference in the Battle of Baghdad, when there was a national grid that was not reliable 24 hours a day. This lighting changed environments just as much as the security walls and the access-control points put in place by the coalition forces and the Iraqi Army.

Every time I drive around the U.S. and New York City, frankly, I look around and say, just think how many fewer million barrels of oil per month we would need in this country if every streetlight in America was a solar light. It would be phenomenal.

The Army Corps of Engineers, as a result of guidance from DOD and the Army, has put together a strategic sustainability performance plan. I want to highlight it, because it addresses both civil works and military sides.

There are ten goals:

 

  1. 23 percent reduction for greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.


  2. 5 percent Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.


  3. Develop and maintain a comprehensive greenhouse gas inventory, which is an issue in terms of how we inventory that and what we are counting and what credit regime will be in place that encourages the right sorts of behaviors.


  4. We're going to implement the guiding principles for federal leadership in high-performance and sustainable buildings.


  5. Engage in regionally and locally sustainable planning efforts, which is happening in every state of the 14 in this region.


  6. Improve water-use efficiency management.


  7. Prevent pollution and waste.


  8. Improve sustainable acquisition practices.


  9. Improve electronic stewardship practices.


  10. Energy-efficient data centers. The Corps itself is changing its data centers. We do host some of the DOD supercomputing centers as well, which we are changing the energy supply for.



One of the pieces of this that we are putting together in the region is asking Congress to change the authorizations for some of our projects. Our projects, especially on the civil works side, are authorized to do certain things, and that's all we are allowed to do.

Initially, many of the dams in this region were put in place for flood risk management. That's what they are authorized to do. Later, congressional legislation allowed them to be used for recreation, and in some cases, for water supply. We would keep voids and we rent voids to various authorities, and they can store water there, for water supply.

The advances in low-head power in the last decade have been significant, and I want to try to be enabled by legislation and by policy within the Army to apply low-head power to all the reservoirs that we own in this region. It's not a lot, but it will certainly power our own requirements to operate those facilities and some portion of the local demand in the area.

There is tremendous private industry interest in this. We are starting to negotiate with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission so that we can do this and require the people who are receiving a benefit from it to do some things for the government to maintain the constructed feature itself. I say that because in this region our features are approaching the end of their design life.

Lifecycle management: We do not do lifecycle management in the apportionment of capital investments in the government in general and in the Army in particular. We need to get to the point where we are going to do that.

Sea-level rise and climate change responses will drive us to that. Here's why. It would be nice to consider the lifecycle cost of a facility as an upfront cost and use that as a cost comparison. Suddenly some of that 10 percent increase in energy-reduction requirements will appear to be quite good investments over the lifecycle of the building. Sometimes we do not pay for features right up front that we might like to have because we're trying to stretch the dollar farther to get more facilities that soldiers need.

In response to climate change, instead of a 50-year lifespan for a coastal storm damage protection feature, water supply feature or flood risk management feature, we have to put in decision points during the life of that 50-year project to come back and do adaptive management. We plan currently against three sea-level-rise scenarios, based on the 2007 IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] scenarios. We evaluate the performance of our new features under each of those scenarios.

We don't always invest the full amount up front to deal with a high-sea-level-rise scenario, but we have decision points in the life of the project where we have to come back and evaluate what's going to be augmented or changed about the project. If we can do that on the civil works side, there's no reason we can't do it on the military side. I hope that we will be driven to do that.

Sea-level rise is the first part of climate change that we are responding to, because it has the most obvious and modelable effects for us. It plays into two of the requirements from Congress that we have in terms of flood risk management, coastal storm damage protection, and navigation. It also does affect our environmental restoration projects. We want to put in features that are going to behave well under each of the three scenarios. There is a lot of research that we are sponsoring in our own seven laboratories, as well as with academia, to see how nonstructural protection features will behave under the various sea-level-rise regimes.

The piece that we are also investigating now, in collaboration with the states and academia, is what is happening to the frequency and intensity of storms, and what that means for how our features must behave and operated. Many of our features are operated, and our operation regimes, some of which are computerized, but most of which are manual, have to be adjusted to adjust to the increasing amount of water that's coming in to the watershed in a much smaller period of time. Aside from the urbanization changes in this region that have changed the way our projects behave, these will require adaptive management in the future.

The last highlight I want to say is that we do support the combatant commanders with the water-planning resources, even though they don't do civil works. We have done a Sava River study to support EUCOM and we are doing water-planning activities to encourage multistate cooperation in Africa, for Africa Command.

I'm going to end it there. I appreciate your time and attention. Thank you.

JONATHAN POWERS: So why does this matter to you? Why does this matter to everyday American citizens across this country? There are three areas to look at.

  1. One is, it's affecting our troops on the ground. By doing things like adding extra insulation to our tents, we are saving the amount of fuel our generators are using when air conditioning isn't escaping out of them. We are keeping convoys off the road and literally saving lives and extending our combat capability.


  2. It matters for your security here at home. When our bases in places like Tampa, Florida, that runs Central Command—when it's connected to a central grid, like any other office building, and that central grid goes down and our bases aren't able to sustain themselves, who is going to be running those two wars that we are fighting right now in places like Iraq and Afghanistan—or one war now, technically, in Afghanistan.


  3. It matters for moving ahead with our own economy. I talked to my wife this morning, who is up in Albany, and the only way she could get from her hotel to the conference she was going to is because a little thing in her car that told her where to go and told her where to turn. It was a GPS system. That came out of the military. A lot of you guys got invitations to come today through your email, which came out of the Internet, which again came from work done by the military.



There is a real potential here to look at these new clean technologies and to help move this country into a clean economy. We are talking about a major recession that we are either coming out of or still in the midst of. One of our veterans was just in China at a conference. He said no other country that was at this conference was debating what was going on with climate change. They were talking about how they were going to take advantage of the clean energy economy to create jobs, create wealth, and move ahead. That's where we need to get to. The military has been leading by example on this.

Questions and Answers

QUESTION: Thank you all for being here. I'm Ben Schwartz. I'm with Scuderi Group. We have developed a highly efficient, low-polluting engine, and we are already in conversations with the military. I'm sure we'll be helpful to you going forward.

That's not my question. That is by way of introduction.

I was pleased to hear Colonel Charette describe the framing of this as an issue of national security. As we understand, all of the sides of the political spectrum do not agree on this phenomenon, on whence it derives, et cetera.

I'm wondering, to the extent that you need civilian permission to undertake some of the energy-efficiency efforts that you are undertaking, how it's framed, and how it's received on the different sides of the political spectrum.

PHILIP CULLOM: Maybe I won't address it from the political side, but let me just say that you can see a common theme that ran through all three of our comments. It's true whether it's on the infrastructure and installation side or the operational side of all of our services. The Air Force we can say has very similar issues to our services.

Bottom line: It's about combat capability. And that's the reason that we are into this issue. I made the case for it pretty well, too. Colonel Charette did. General DeLuca talked about it from the standpoint of combat support.

You can't launch anything that we do if it doesn't start from an installation at the very beginning. That even includes how we enable what we do. Many of our bases draw power from the grid, so you have to have a reliable grid that goes along with that, too.

At the end of the day, that's the thing that makes this a necessary thing for us to do as military services, no matter what the political discussion is about. It doesn't matter. This is, as Colonel Charette posed it, true whether it be for the Marine out there in the field, at the forward operating base, the soldier that's out there, or the Navy Seabee [Construction Battalion] that's out there building the base for the Marines to come to.

At the end of the day, this is about those soldiers', sailors', airmen's, and Marines' lives, and there is no cost for that that—it's priceless. The value of that is priceless. The reason we do this is for them.

BOB CHARETTE:
You were talking about political leadership, if I was reading you right in your question.

The support has been tremendous. One of the things I told the Commandant when we started really embarking on this is that my concern is that people are going to over-expect, because there has been so much support. I don't get involved in politics, but it's a reality of Washington, D.C. We just stood up in the Department of Defense and based on the National Defense Authorization Act of 2009 we set up a new director of operational energy plans and programs, Ms. Sharon E. Burke. She is now in charge. I just met with her yesterday, and she is an excellent human being. She knows what's going on. She's really dedicated to moving forward.

My concern now is folks expecting too much of us. We are trying to scale technology into combat that typically wasn't originally designed for combat. We are trying to make sure that we manage expectations. We're very cautiously optimistic about what I showed you today. But you never know when you put it into combat situations.

We get a lot of support politically and financially. We are fully funded. We have no problems with any of that. The thing is, can we do it on the timeline that is good for everybody's different expectations.

JONATHAN POWERS: And from a political perspective, one of the reasons our Operation Free program has been so successful is because we have been able to talk across the aisle on this. You talk about this as a national security issue.

If you look at the report that the Truman Project wrote with Pew, the opening of the report is from retired Republican Senator John Warner. This is something that covers the spectrum when we talk about this from a national security perspective.

PETER DELUCA: I would just like to highlight that the Energy Policy Act of 2005, and the goals in there, and the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 were passed in the previous administration, from a different party. Nothing about those has been watered down, only enhanced, by policies put in place by the new administration. It does seem to be on the receiving end of directives, something that is a bipartisan consensus, on the importance to national security.

I suspect that even the more controversial aspects of the EPACT of 2005, which did exempt some of the domestic hydrocarbon producers from certain provisions of the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act, were in part driven by a desire to find domestic substitutes for international hydrocarbon supplies, in the short term.

QUESTION: My name is Andrew Castellano. I am president and founder of the Earthshine Foundation, which is a private-family foundation that primarily has a focus in environment, including climate change.

My question for you: You mentioned that your primary focus is protecting your soldiers right now and making them more effective. Another way to protect soldiers is to prevent wars from breaking out in the first place in the future.

Many of us believe that the catastrophic effects of climate change, as you mentioned before, are going to destabilize regions and cause more wars. Even if the military reduced its energy consumption to zero, if the civilian world does nothing, we are still going to have catastrophic climate change.

My question is, it seems like you are in many cases using existing technologies that have already been commercialized, such as solar panels. In what cases are you doing things that can spill over and help the civilian world? The example that was just provided was GPS and Internet. What things are you doing? How do you think you're going to help the civilian world in terms of either new technologies or even just leading by example in terms of behavioral change?

PHILIP CULLOM:
You actually bring up two different points embedded in your comment and question.

The first is the preventing-war piece. That's actually part of the naval strategy that we have for the 21st century. It is a cooperative strategy that we call the 70/80/90 rule, which acknowledges and recognizes that 70 percent of the earth's surface is covered with water, 80 percent of people live within 100 miles of a coast, littoral areas and regions, and 90 percent of all the goods in the world travel on the ocean, of which 80-something percent of energy actually also moves on the ocean.

That's why the Navy and the Marine Corps have been integrally looking at this issue. One of the major pieces of that was the whole issue of preventing war. This is one of the reasons why the secretary of defense's office, and the Navy and Marine Corps team have looked at energy futures and have looked at things about where the areas are that we need to worry about, and why.

We are inextricably kind of drawn to the Arctic and to the South China Sea as areas that are particularly important. We look at those areas and understand how we ensure that resource competition does not become something that is an issue that creates conflict as a result.

You ask another, much more direct operational question, which is, what are we doing that really is breaking the mold on this? This is where the services actually have worked together quite well, trying to de-conflict and avoid duplication of effort. Even though some of our presentations showed things like, "Well, gosh, isn't the Army doing something fairly similar to the Marine Corps?" the reality is that we have tried to de-conflict this. We do a lot of talking across all the services, so we are avoiding that duplication of effort.

The Navy, for instance, leads the cross-functional fuels team. One of the reasons why we are looking at biofuels is that the Air Force has pursued another path as well. We're trying to champion one while they look at another. At the same time, we are trying to get the best mix at the end of the day.

We are pretty certain that we can't make a market, if you will. Overall, the Department of Defense only represents 2 percent of the energy usage in the country.

Can we do something that is significant? Yes. Be early adopters of things that are very promising. That's where DARPA [Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency], ARPA-E [Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy], the Office of Naval Research, and the other research laboratories from all the services come in and try to kick-start some very intriguing and interesting technologies. We are tracking all of those things to see which are the most important in the 2030, 2040 timeframe, and to look at the things that will get us to the reduction in the barrels of fuel.

We are looking at five billion barrels that we have to be able to cut out of our energy usage. This is one of the reasons why we're going to be building in the Navy—turning destroyers, if you will, into hybrids. We are going to be putting motors on those things so that they will be a part of that great green fleet. That's going to be in the next couple of years.

You may say that is kind of conventional technology. It isn't in the maritime environment. We will be championing and leading something that really has not been done up to this point.

What does it do for us? Eighty-five hundred barrels per ship per year, as a pretty conservative estimate. That's meaningful.

That's just one of many. I can go down a whole path of others. The biofuels piece—we need industry to do a piece of it. What we're doing is the test and certification protocol so we have that market, and then we are hoping to help, working with industry, to be able to see the development of those things. ARPA-E and DARPA are doing a great job of looking at a range of different alternatives, and we are staying very connected with them so that we become the first end users of those. That's how you champion something, as an early adopter.

JONATHAN POWERS:
I'm going to steal Colonel Charette's comment. When they had the second forward operating base, they brought in technologies that aren't on the market. They were looking at what we can do to get these things moving.

BOB CHARETTE:
Yes. Back in the 1950s, the Navy built the first computer down here in New York City, for figuring out torpedo angles. It wasn't until the 1980s that everybody else caught up with what the Navy had started.

The Internet in the 1960s was in UCLA, back up on the coasts. It was done by the Defense Department for nuclear communications in the 1960s. It wasn't until the 1990s that it was commercially adopted.

The Navy is paving the way in biofuels. I was at a conference last week in Stowe, Vermont, for the kickoff of the next generation of solar.

We're peeking at things, probably, that the commercial world won't see economics in for 30 years. But we're there. We can put that money at risk, for a lot of reasons. And it's a good investment.

To answer your second point, we put 35,000 Marines on the street every year. We hope they will be early adopters in society.

QUESTION: Robert James. I'm a businessman in New York and ex-Navy.

I have three comments on the points that you talked about and a question about each of them.

Renewables is the first one. No renewable makes any economic sense per unit of energy without subsidy, usually heavy subsidy. So the question is, have you looked at the subsidy and whether it makes sense?

Second, oil prices: Over several years, oil did go to $130 a barrel. That was for a few days. For a couple of years after that, it went from $20 to $40 a barrel. The real price of oil since World War I has averaged around $70. It hasn't changed. The question is, are oil prices really a major problem?

Third is security. Sixty percent of the oil that the United States gets is from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. A hundred percent of the gas that we get is from North America. Saudi Arabia is the third-largest—Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, all the rest of them there. These people have been our absolute allies since World War II. They'd better be our allies; we're sending them $130 billion worth of equipment over the next three years.

One other thing on security. Since World War I, no country, except Japan and Germany, has failed to get oil, as long as they could pay for it.

So the question is, do we really have an oil problem, or a security problem?

PETER DELUCA: First, I would just say that not all of the alternative energy features have subsidies to them. If you look at that simple Sea Girt photovoltaic array that I may have mentioned for the New Jersey National Guard Training Center, it has a payback period of ten years. Solar is attractive to us because it generates power during the day. We can use it efficiently.

We do have issues with alternative sources like wind, because a lot of it is generated at night. The efficiency losses during the storage have caused problems for us that create issues of payback periods that are quite long.

We can do this and have payback periods that are ten years or less, with no subsidy, for features and facilities on the combat support side.

On your other comments, I'm just going to respond by saying something that we were talking about at lunch. I have 27 years in the Army, and 22 of those years were spent directly or indirectly working on securing international hydrocarbon supplies for this country. Our country has paid a gigantic price, an unspecified tax in blood and treasure, over certainly my generation. I don't think my career is unique in that era. I suspect these two will tell you something similar. Perhaps we should count those costs up front in the price of oil and gas. Then the comparisons might look a little more favorable.

I'll just leave it at that.

BOB CHARETTE:
I don't want to be argumentative, but going into the future looking in the rearview mirror is probably not a successful business proposition.

When we first got called to load up on our airplanes in the summer of 1990, I couldn't spell Kuwait. Where's Iraq? I couldn't find it on a map. Then I spent the next 25 years of my life living in the Middle East.

Obviously, yes, we have allies. But we're not the only ones that use oil. Our allies do. Japan is a huge user. They also own a lot of our debt. The Chinese are throughout the world looking for sources of energy and resources. They could be a disruptor. I was in Liberia at the beginning of the year, and there are more Chinese restaurants in Liberia than any other kind of restaurant. If you go into the Amazon, there are Chinese. They're trying to find resources. We could potentially not have anything to do with the conflict, but we are the nation's 911 force.

These disruptions may not be due to us. They may be due to somebody else having a resource issue, as the admiral said, where folks are living in distressed areas. Eighty percent of the world's population is projected to be in the coastal areas. That's not because the jobs are out on the farms. It's because of where the jobs are.

These are disruptors. They need energy in states all throughout the world. It has nothing to do with America. But guess who's ending up cleaning up the mess that they may create? We may be there, with young men and women.

You have the price of oil, but it's what that oil does for folks. If you look at the cost of oil rise, a lot of it is due to the Chinese and Indian demand over the last couple of years, as they rise as rising powers. These are some things that could challenge America around the world.

It's the status quo. You have to start looking in the future at what the world is going to look like in 2025. What are we going to do about it? That's why we have to do something today.

PHILIP CULLOM:
You asked ten questions that were somehow embedded in three. I'll just try to hit high points of a couple of those.

The first is that you said no renewables without a subsidy. I would actually say there may be some very important key exceptions to that.

Island nations—if you look Hawaii, Guam, Diego Garcia, Guantanamo Bay—the price of a renewable is much cheaper than the delivered price of being able to get that tanker or that barge that is towed in there to deliver that fuel.

That's one of the issues that Hawaii is wrestling with right now. That makes it a terribly attractive place to try out and look at some of these things.

You are absolutely correct with regard to some other parts of the country. Certainly on the infrastructure side, the best dollar spent is used to stop wasting so much energy or electricity.

I oftentimes show—and for the purpose of brevity, did not today—two slides, one of which is the world at night today and then the world at night in 2030, which we got from industry sources. It didn't come from anything the Department of Defense did. It's terribly poignant.

What it shows you, first, is that the world at night today is all the wasted energy, because it's energy that's going up and not down, to just barely eliminate what you really need.

The second thing is, where is the growth out to 2030? That kind of gets to Colonel Charette's point about making sure we are not driving in the rearview mirror, because you run off the road that way.

But you look at what is going to change the most, and it is those countries like China and India, Eastern Europe, Africa, the southern portions of Africa, and much of South America. Japan changes color dramatically and becomes very, very bright, as do a number of other places that you might not really expect. We, the United States, in particular, don't change nearly as much.

That is going to force a whole other series of dynamics that is part of the argument. People say there's always more; we're going to find more. You're right. You probably will find a lot more. We have just recently found some. The Brazilians found quite a large resource not too terribly long ago. All those add to the barrels that are out there and available.

The important thing in that is that when the cheapest barrels get to a point where they can only pump at certain rates, then what you are really competing against is that marginal barrel. That marginal barrel in very deep water is much, much more expensive. In that case, that's where renewables, at some point, will become much more important.

The second thing is critical infrastructure protection. That may be a good place where renewables can have a part, to be able to give us resiliency from a pretty fragile grid, as most people would call it. That's something worth strongly looking at.

Another aspect: The Holy Grail on many sources of alternative power is power storage. That's one the nation has to work on, to help solve that problem, because that will help level the playing field dramatically, even without subsidies.

On the last point, with regard to other nations and the world events and security, I was just recently in Peru for a conference that SOUTHCOM [United States Southern Command] hosted, with all nations in South America. It's very interesting to see how things are changing down there and how a nation like Chile is looking at their energy demands and needs, and the fact that hydroelectric power that once could be counted on as being incredibly cheap and inexpensive power is going to become much more expensive.

They are going to have a lot harder time because there are not near as many glaciers down there, even today. I was very struck by how different South America looks even from the last time I was down there, in 1989, versus when I was down there in 2010. It's pretty profound.

The bottom line is, that's going to impact what energy is available at what price. Then that causes this very different series of dynamics. And the crystal ball is pretty cloudy. The further out you go, the more you shake that crystal ball, it's pretty gray. That's part of what you pay the military for, is to be prepared; to start thinking out to that point and start action on many things now.

JONATHAN POWERS: Thank you for those answers. Just a quick comment before I close out.

You talk about subsidies. If you want to look at the actual subsidies we're spending to support oil, the energy security premium we pay could significantly drive up that cost. That's not estimated in what we look at.

One of the last points. We talk about this a lot on the road. This isn't from the Truman Project or Operation Free. This is from a former CIA director, Jim Woolsey, and from Richard Holbrooke, currently overseas in Pakistan and Afghanistan. It's oil money that's funding the bullets that are going in the weapons that are being shot at our soldiers in places like Afghanistan today. It's literally funding groups like al Qaeda and the Taliban. In Jim Woolsey's terms, we are funding, for the first time since the Civil War, both sides of the war that we're fighting. So it definitely is a security issue.

Thank you, gentlemen, so much for your comments. Thank you to Devin and the Carnegie Council for hosting. We hope that this has been an educational dialogue, and we hope to continue the dialogue. For those on the Web, you can go to the Trumanproject.org or Operationfree.net to learn more about the work we're doing.

Please engage the military. Talk to your friends about what they're doing. As I said, leading by example is the way we can continue to move forward, to find the energy solutions that we need.

Thank you very much.

Read More: Conservation, Democracy, Development, Economy, Energy, Environment, Finance, Governance, Innovation, Jobs, Science, Security, Sustainability, Technology, Transportation, War, Afghanistan, Iraq, United States, Americas, Middle East

blog comments powered by Disqus