It’s no secret that the Department of Defense is a fuel guzzler, especially in wartime— fuel consumption at American forward operating bases has ballooned from 50 million gallons a year to 500 million gallons a year since 2004—and tactical vehicles like the Stryker, MRAP and up-armored Humvees only get five miles, three miles, and four miles per gallon, respectively.
Responding to this, the Brookings Institution’s P.W. Singer and Jerry Warner released a paper yesterday called “Fueling the “Balance”—A Defense Energy Strategy Primer” that calls for the Department of Defense to take a hard look at its energy policy in the upcoming Quadrennial Defense Review, which is due to be released next year. “The DoD should set a clear and measurable target to reduce the baseline total consumption of energy in the Department of Defense by 20 percent by 2025 and to be a net-zero energy consumer at its bases and facilities by 2030,” the eight-page report states. The authors point out that at a consumption rate of 395,000 barrels of oil a day—equivalent to the consumption rate of Greece—and with a petroleum bill of $20 billion in 2008, it’s a strategic imperative that the DoD put together an energy strategy, and soon. Not only will money be saved by moving from fossil fuels to non-petroleum energy sources and renewable energy solutions, but the strategy would “enhance mission capability, and benefit military and surrounding communities.” The reports mentions several key initiatives that the DoD has undertaken—like the Army’s purchase of 4,000 non-tactical electric vehicles for use on domestic basis, and the 140 acre solar power array that provides more than 30 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year at Nellis Air Force base in Nevada, but says that the DoD still has a long way to go to develop an overall energy strategy.