Source: EVE Online
The Centre for a New American Security recently released its vision for the energy future facing the U.S. Department of Defense. In Fueling the Future: Preparing the Department of Defense for a Post-Petroleum Era, authors Christine Parthemore and John Nagl provide a concise, pragmatic look at the risks energy poses for U.S. security .....
"Reducing dependence on petroleum will help ensure the long-term ability of the military to carry out its assigned missions — and help ensure the security of the nation ....
- Heavy dependence on large fuel supplies can increase operational vulnerabilities and make fuel supply infrastructure a more valuable target.
- Every dollar increase in the price of petroleum costs DOD up to 130 million additional dollars. Rising global demand, for instance in China, is increasing the strategic importance of petroleum in ways that could be detrimental to U.S. interests.
- Countries such as Iran and Venezuela could have the largest remaining reserves in a few decades if current production rates hold – and will gain leverage as a result.
- High levels of petroleum consumption are contributing to the changing climate, which can bring destabilizing effects and trigger new security challenges."
...... and the challenges of moving to a non-petroleum fueled armed services.
"To ready America’s armed forces for tomorrow’s challenges, DOD should ensure that it can operate all of its systems on non-petroleum fuels by 2040. ..... Some estimates indicate that the current global reserve-to-production (R/P) ratio – how fast the world will produce all currently known recoverable petroleum reserves at the current rate of production – is less than 50 years. ..... Ensuring that DOD can operate on non-petroleum fuels 30 years from today is a conservative hedge against prevailing economic, political and environmental trends, conditions and constraints."
To address the challenge, they propose 12 principles:
- Set a common energy goal of "managing a smooth transition beyond petroleum over the next 30 years".
- Establish a clear set of guidelines that help the services and the private sector to understand what sorts of fuels, infrastructure and efficiency technologies will be needed.
- Plan for an uncertain future.
- Demand new fuels for old vehicles.
- continue to increase alternative fuel use at domestic bases.
- Invest for maximum impact - factoring distribution and infrastructure into decisions about where to invest.
- Save energy, keep the change - addressing the incentives and dis-incentives built into current budgeting rules and norms.
- Understand that energy is not free.
- Promote a shared understanding of the the DOD's energy future with Congress, the Executive Branch and private companies.
- engage allies in the energy transition.
- streamline energy management.
- Plan for the worst.
Whats most interesting for the principles is that they could equally be applied to the country as a whole, guiding the U.S. to a less risky future based on a substantially reduced appetite for petroleum fuels.
The authors do not appear to even hint at a broader application of the principles they enunciate. However, given a government even partly focused on governing for the long haul (versus whatever the focus is now - its beyond my understanding) these would be national principles. I wonder what Tom Friedman would have to say about that?