The advancement of renewable energy technologies is now a vital strategic interest of the U.S. military, Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn said in a speech today.
Reducing the military’s dependence on fossil fuel sources is correlated with its ability to project power overseas, Lynn said. The secretary explained that an energy strategy must become a “fundamental part” of military planning, according to UPI.
The U.S. military’s involvement in several long-term engagements has made fuel management an important consideration in the Pentagon's war planning, Lynn noted. He also called for increased energy conservation in military operations.
The secretary highlighted the military’s recent biofuel and solar pilot projects. In March 2010, the U.S. Air Forcean A-10C Thunderbolt II fighter plane that was powered by a biofuel blend. The flight was considered a success.
The reasoning behind the test flights is obvious: The Air Force alone burns 2.4 billion gallons of jet fuel every year. It can either spend its resources on fuel or fighting wars - think of its as a 'guns and butter' argument, but affecting the military.
Marines in Afghanistan have been innovating the use of solar technologies in the Central Asian theater. One unit of Marines is now functioning on solar power that is used to charge radio batteries during long patrols, lighting for tents at night, and lowering the fuel requirements of mobile command centers.
In January, U.S. President Barack Obama signed anrequiring the military to buy only American made solar panels. Lawmakers added the provision over concerns that China unfairly subsidizes its renewable energy industries.
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