Thanks very much, Ash.
It’s a pleasure and a privilege to join Ash and Sherri here. And Christine Fox, Dorothy Robyn, and the Department’s leaders in Installations, Environmental and Energy issues.
On behalf of Secretary Gates, it is my honor to participate in the 49th Annual Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards.
Today, as Ash indicated, we celebrate the achievements of nine award winners who have conserved and sustained natural resources entrusted to the Department of Defense. Their innovative programs were chosen from among hundreds of others at DoD installations throughout the United States and overseas.
The work of our award winners is part of a wider effort within the Administration to address the impact of environmental issues on national security.
As the President has reiterated time and again, this Administration is committed to curbing greenhouse-gas emissions, to using renewable energy sources, and to promoting sustainable environmental stewardship.
At DoD, we are already doing our part. For the first time, Secretary Gates included climate change and energy as a major part of the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review. Crafting a strategic approach to energy is key to our overall national security. It informs how we run our daily operations, in theater and at home.
The Department is America's single largest consumer of energy. In total, we account for just about 1% of the nation’s total energy use. But even this amount is significant. We use more than 300,000 barrels of oil a day and spend billions of dollars each year on electricity and gasoline.
As a Department, we have a responsibility to demand greater energy efficiency from ourselves and from those we do business with.
Becoming energy efficient is not merely good environmental policy. It will also make us more effective warfighters. In theater, energy can be a matter of life and death; of mission success or failure.
Our operations in Afghanistan and Iraq have a long logistical tail. More than 70 percent of convoys in Afghanistan are used for either fuel or water. We haul these supplies on roads laced with IEDs and prone to ambush. The greater our energy needs, the more troops and contractors we put at risk supporting combat operations.
In fact, when you take the total cost of fuel and add the additional cost of transporting and protecting it, you find that its real cost can be orders of magnitude greater than the cost at the pump.
Becoming more energy efficient in theater saves lives as well as resources.
So as Ash Carter has described, we are making sure that energy efficiency is a part of our acquisition process. Calculating the fully burdened cost of fuel used by potential weapons systems—including the costs of securely transporting it to a war zone—is now a mandatory part of their evaluation.
We are also making our fixed installations more energy efficient.
Over the past three years we have tripled our investment to energy technology from 400 million dollars to $1.2 billion annually. And this investment is yielding results. We have reduced energy consumption at fixed installations by over 10 percent. And nearly 5 percent of electricity at U.S. bases now comes from renewable sources.
Through our efforts, the Department has become an environmental leader.
As President Obama noted in his Nobel Laureate address last December, quote: "It's not merely scientists and environmental activists who call for swift and forceful action; it's military leaders in my own country and others who understand our common security hangs in the balance."
Of course, environmental stewardship is not just a matter of policy. It is about what we do every day.
Today’s award recipients have each shown how environmental stewardship can be more concrete. They have helped protect prehistoric archeological sites at a National Guard Training Facility and cleaned up environmental contaminants at an Air Force base.
Their successes serve as examples as we continue incorporating environmental considerations into acquisition, force planning, and the development of requirements.
It is now my pleasure to welcome Sherri Goodman to the podium.
As Ash indicated, Sherri’s been a leader in environmental policy for a long time. She served as Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Environmental Security and now is General Counsel at the Center for Naval Analysis. She leads outside groups who are helping us think through the difficult problems that we face in the environmental arena.
Please join me in welcoming Sherri Goodman.