Reform

Energy Action Month Puts Spotlight on DOD Efforts

Oct. 1, 2019

Energy is an essential enabler of military capability, and the Defense Department depends on energy-resilient forces and facilities to achieve its mission.

In fiscal year 2018, DOD consumed more than 85 million barrels of fuel to power ships, aircraft, combat vehicles and contingency bases at a cost of nearly $9.2 billion. In the same year, at more than 500 military installations worldwide, DOD spent $3.4 billion on energy to power more than 585,000 facilities and 160,000 nontactical vehicles.

October marks Energy Action Month. Here are some things you may not know about why energy is important to DOD:

Solar panels provide shade for vehicles in a large parking lot.
Panel Perspective
Solar photovoltaic panels provide clean and renewable energy as part of the overall energy program at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., March 25, 2019. The program includes a nearly complete microgrid that will be able to support the air station national defense mission during any natural or manmade power interruption.
Photo By: Curtis Hill, Marine Corps
VIRIN: 190325-M-EQ418-1001Y

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Energy is a critical element to sustaining the force.

The National Defense Strategy says the homeland is no longer a sanctuary, and every domain — air, land, sea, space, and cyberspace — is contested. The operational environment is changing, and energy's role as a critical enabler of military capability is growing.

In support of the National Defense Strategy, two of the priorities for sustainment are to create and sustain resilient installations and prepare the battlefield for 2025. These align with the critical efforts DOD is executing to achieve its mission.

An overhead view of a large pole barn structure topped by two smokestacks. A water tower and other buildings are in the background.
Plant View
The Marine Corps opened a new combined heat and power plant at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island. The $91 million energy savings performance contract project also financed other infrastructure upgrades and energy resilience measures using the savings generated by traditional energy conservation measures.
Photo By: Courtesy
VIRIN: 190625-M-EX296-003
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DOD works to ensure resilient and secure energy for its forces and facilities.

People may assume the energy required to do their jobs will always be there at the flick of a switch or squeeze of a pump, but every mission, every exercise, every troop movement and every piece of equipment requires fuel or power. As weapons platforms become more lethal and missions change, the demand for resilient and secure energy grows to ensure sustainment of those systems.

A green flatbed tow vehicle with “Fuel Cell Electric” written on the windshield pulls a large military transport jet.
Tow Tractor
A hydrogen fuel cell-powered U-30 Aircraft Tow Tractor tows a KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the Hawaii Air National Guard’s 203rd Air Refueling Squadron at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, July 18, 2019. The Air Force Research Laboratory conducted the demonstration on behalf of the Hawaii Center for Advanced Transportation Technologies. This was the first demonstration on a large Air Force aircraft using the hydrogen fuel cell equipment. The project is a proof-of-concept demonstration to validate hydrogen fuel vehicle technologies in supporting Air Force mission requirements.
Photo By: Hawaii Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. Alison Bruce-Maldonado
VIRIN: 190718-Z-SB407-0011

From new engines that give aircraft up to 30% more range and depot infrastructure modernization that reduces energy costs, to improved fuel distribution that can ensure troops have the fuel they need and the use of alternative financing for installation projects that sustain the mission through energy resilience, DOD is increasing warfighter capabilities through innovative technologies and smart energy use.

Workers in personal protective gear assemble a pipe inside a trench dug in a snowy field.
Conduit Line
An electrical crew assembles a conduit line for the new solar array being installed at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Dec. 14, 2018. The new array will increase the amount of renewable solar energy on base and provide an additional asset that will be incorporated into future microgrid planning.
Photo By: R. Nial Bradshaw, Air Force
VIRIN: 181214-F-OD616-0001
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DOD's energy resilience efforts focus on an "all hazards" approach.

Multidomain battles will require a significant amount of fuel and power, and that increased demand comes with increased risk. DOD must anticipate attacks on its critical energy infrastructure and worldwide energy logistics forces. The department's energy resilience efforts address risks from an "all hazards" approach, ensuring that resilient, secure energy is available to support critical missions regardless of the threat, including weather, natural events or direct attack.

Workers in personal protective gear carry large metal brackets while building solar panels in a snowy field.
Snow and Solar
A crew works on installing the rack system for a new solar array at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Dec. 12, 2018. The fixed 25-degree angle of the system will provide maximum production to the base during peak electrical consumption periods.
Photo By: R. Nial Bradshaw, Air Force
VIRIN: 181214-F-OD616-0002