I heard Secretary Hammack tell you I’m an armor officer by background which
means that I was probably among—I’d have to check whether I’m right about this
with the Navy, but I was probably among the most energy consumptive hogs that
ever walked the face—you know the M1 tank, two gallons to the mile. You know the
So. Thank you Katherine for that kind introduction. And to you
and Secretary Burke and Dr. Robyn for leading the efforts here to encourage us
to think differently about energy and how energy relates to our security.
As a student of literature and history, I feel obliged to note that 160
years ago today, Herman Melville’s classic, Moby Dick, was first introduced to
No, you’re not in the wrong place and I’m not here to give
you a lecture about the nuances Herman Melville’s work, Moby Dick. So what
connection does your presence here today have to this great American novel?
In a word, energy. Ishmael, Captain Ahab and the crew of the fictional
ship Pequod were part of a global industry largely dedicated to one thing – the
pursuit of a critical source of energy … and at that time, of course, whale oil.
And 160 years later, some things just haven’t changed. We’re still
engaged in a nearly, in a seemingly endless energy and quest for the pursuit of
So, let me make this point up front: improving our energy
security directly translates to improving our national security.
be essential to keeping our military the most effective, the finest fighting
force in the world. And, it is inherent to our responsibilities as good stewards
of the nation’s resources. Without improving our energy security, we are not
merely standing still as a military or as a Nation, we are falling behind.
As a division commander in Iraq, energy management determined my ability
to maneuver operationally. And having spent decades living and working on
military installations, I know full well the powerful impact that conservation
can have on our bottom line.
The Department’s “energy culture” has
changed markedly, dramatically really, since I was a young Army armor officer
and that’s a very good thing.
Today Americans are more energy conscious
in our homes and at work and so too are we in our military. But, we can and must
do even better – particularly in pushing progress out to the field, to the
flightline and into the fleet.
Today’s warfighters require more energy
than at any time in the past and that requirement is not likely to decline.
During World War II, supporting one soldier on the battlefield took one
gallon of fuel per day. Today, we use over 22 gallons per day, per soldier.
We’re also more expeditionary than ever. These energy needs require a vast yet
vulnerable supply chain that our enemies target.
But to enhance our
energy security, we must look beyond vulnerabilities and instead, focus on and
view energy as an opportunity.
And the opportunity is vast. Energy spans
every activity and corner of the department.
In the air, jet fuel
equates to on-station and loiter time. At sea, marine fuel consumption rates
impact operating and transit speeds. On the ground, energy requirements often
drive how long soldiers can stay out on patrol and how many resupply convoys we
have to put at risk on the road to support them.
I’ll give you one
example of that. For a 72-hour mission, today’s infantry platoon carries 400
pounds of batteries to power their equipment – night vision devices,
communication gear, global positioning systems and flash lights … 400 pounds of
batteries per platoon – that’s per 30 men – for a 72-hour mission.
some have observed only jokingly, if you want to find a US Army patrol in
Afghanistan, simply follow the trail of batteries and you will eventually come
Now, that platoon is also more capable than ever. That’s a
good thing. I don’t want them to ever have to face a fair fight.
need to lighten the energy load of each warfighter—and the physical weight and
resupply that it entails.
Fortunately, some new technologies that Sharon
and others have championed are already making a difference. They include solar
panels, micro grid systems and high capacity batteries. I will do everything I
can as Chairman to support these innovations, and to get the right emerging
technologies into our troops’ hands as soon as possible.
fundamentally we know that saving energy saves lives. In Afghanistan, fewer
supply convoys will directly relate to fewer casualties. And it’s not only about
defense, meaning defense of operations. Units with greater range and agility,
with more warriors engaged in the mission rather than resupply, will ultimately
result in “more tooth, and less tail.” That’s great news for us and even worse
news to our adversaries.
This is why I am committed to the goals set
forth in the Department’s first-ever Operational Energy Strategy—goals that
include reducing energy demand at all levels of our forces while increasing the
resilience and operational effectiveness of our equipment and our soldiers.
As Chairman, I’m particularly focused on looking beyond current
requirements to what the force will need to look like in about a decade. Some of
you have heard me speak about Joint Force 2020. Well, in the coming months, you
will hear me talking even more about Joint Force 2020 … and energy efficiency
and energy availability must be part of that equation.
making progress as I’ve said. We’ve designed more fuel efficient Ground Combat
Vehicles; installed hybrid systems on some Naval ships; and invested in fuel
cells to provide backup power to military installations and I know the Army is
running a pilot on three installations right now to get at a net zero baseline
for energy consumption.
These are important steps. But, as I said, more
must be done. And it must be done not as individual services, but must be done
jointly. And I’m counting on the people in this room to get it done.
of those people is Lieutenant General Brooks Bash, my Director of Logistics on
the Joint Staff. And I don’t know where you are Brooks, but would you stand up
so we can see you and hold you accountable for whatever we do in the future.
[laughter] Let’s give Brooks a round of applause. [applause]
actually, I haven’t been Chairman long enough to have given each of my directors
their sort of marching orders so this is an opportunity for me to do that and
Brooks, you now know how much I care about the future of energy in the Joint
force and I’ll be counting on you as my point man in this arena.
Finally, let me touch on the budgetary realities we face. Secretary
Panetta has very been clear that we must scrutinize every single area of our
operations. Nothing is off the table and that includes investment and wise
investment in energy and technology.
Yet energy advances are unique in
the opportunities they afford. Traditionally, we must spend money to increase
capability. Here, we may have the opportunity to increase capability and save
money, at least that is what we ought to aspire.
Systems that pay for
themselves in days or weeks or months delight both the warfighter and the
comptroller. There are some energy wins out there right now and we need to go
What you’re doing here today is vitally important for our
future. Whenever our forces go into harm’s way, they must have the best tools
possible. And improving our energy security can help us do that and we really
don’t have the time to waste.
So I thank you for your presence here
today, for your participation and I look forward to the outcomes, deliverables
and implementation of the best of ideas as we go forward. Thank you very much.