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Immediate Release

Readout of Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks' Roundtable Meeting With West Point Cadets on Climate & Resilience

Pentagon Spokesman Eric Pahon provided the following readout:

Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks met via Zoom today with cadets and a newly-commissioned second lieutenant from the Sustainable Infrastructure, Resilience, and Climate Consortium (SIRCC) program at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point (USMA).

Today's meeting was a precursor to her visit to USMA next week to deliver an address highlighting the impact climate change will have on military operations, and how energy resilience and sustainability efforts improve readiness and advance Department of Defense priorities. While at the academy, she will also meet with administrators, faculty, and cadets to discuss a broad range of issues.

During the meeting, Deputy Secretary Hicks thanked the nine cadets and lieutenant for their commitment to service and discussed the SIRCC program and how future Army leaders might approach the challenge of sustainability, resilience, and future climate-related issues.

SIRCC is a partnership between West Point and the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment (ASA [IE&E]) to educate future Army leaders on how sustainability and resilience can increase force readiness while addressing the threats of climate change.

The Consortium enables resourcing to leverage the intellectual capacity of USMA faculty, staff, and cadets to conduct research to address resilience- and climate-related challenges facing the Army and the nation, while establishing a sustainability, resilience, and climate community of interest that helps USMA remain competitive in attracting and retaining talent.

During academic years 2020-2022, ASA (IE&E) provided funding to support cadet capstone projects to address real world issues facing the Army. Beginning in September 2022, ASA (IE&E) committed to funding nearly $750,000 per year to launch and support SIRCC.

This past year's project focused on challenges associated with electrifying tactical and medium- and heavy-duty non-tactical vehicles.

Academic year 2023-2024 projects will support USMA and ASA (IE&E)'s effort to make West Point 100% energy resilient using carbon-pollution free electricity. There will be six projects next year, which include:

  • Resilient West Point: Water, Food, and Waste: Cadets will assess whether a microturbine which uses the gasses from decaying food scraps, fats, oils and grease (FOG) and wastewater sludge at West Points waste treatment plant can produce enough electrical energy and be reliable enough to create a net-energy-positive condition at the plant. They will then assess whether the net-positive energy the plant produces can be harnessed into a microgrid to power the "North Dock" area.
  • Resilient West Point: Electricity, Heat, and Transportation: This project will assess the feasibility to upgrade West Point electricity, heat, and transportation infrastructure to improve resilience, reduce costs, and improve the environmental footprint of the installation. Cadets will assess the technical and financial feasibility of achieving the goals of increasing resilience, reducing costs, and reducing emissions.
  • Battlefield Energy Awareness: Cadets will collaborate with the Army Research Laboratory to use Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Techniques to study where energy is wasted on the battlefield at all levels, to assess where operational efficiency and combat effectiveness can be improved, and survivability can be increased as a result of reduced exposure.

In addition to her visit to West Point, Deputy Secretary Hicks will meet with New York City recruiters from all services to learn more about the challenges and opportunities they are facing and seeing in the current recruiting climate.