Fire for Effect: Calling for a More Potent Energy System
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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The United States and its allies depend heavily on energy for their way of life and key capabilities in warfare. The current energy system has served us well for nearly 100 years, but is now shifting out of our favor and is creating strategic liabilities and tactical vulnerabilities. Our leaders are becoming increasingly concerned about these issues, but most of the attention is focused on alternative sources for the civilian economy. Some of these alternatives may not be suitable for expeditionary military forces deployed in distant theaters of war. This inquiry employed a confluence of technical and logistical analysis with an assessment of the strategic and political environment. This study not only examines what is technically and physically possible, but examines the way the energy is used, where it comes from, how the military distributes it, and how that impacts the range of desirable choices. These conditions create an opportunity for the military to fundamentally change the way it uses energy and make comprehensive changes to the way we sustain deployed forces. Rather than merely introducing an adequate substitute for oil, or using less of it, we should transcend our current energy system and unshackle our forces from the lethargic, vulnerable logistics infrastructure. Renewable power generation systems could immediately alleviate the largest single fuel burden for deployed ground forces, particularly remote outposts. Meanwhile mobile, tactical nuclear power generation could provide for all other ground energy needs, such as electrically powered or hybrid ground vehicles. This would eliminate bulk fuel requirements for ground systems, while water recycling and use of local resources would alleviate bulk liquid distribution requirements. This would reduce or eliminate our reliance on predictable lines of communication associated with delivering fuel to the last mile, facilitate greater resilience, operational flexibility, agility, innovation and save lives.
- Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies
- Electric Power Production and Distribution