This post explains how a compreshensive assessment of losses in Iraq points the way to saving lives in Afghanistan. It shows ways the military can use New Energy and live without oil. Doing so will cut down on fuel transports and reduce exposure to the devastating roadside explosives that are the biggest cause of deaths in Afghanistan. Living without oil is something the entire nation should be thinking hard about right now and the military can show the way. It is a matter of life and death in war - and in peace. Just ask a Gulf of Mexico fisherman.
(November 11, 2009: NEW ENERGY WILL SAVE MILITARY LIVES – STUDY
)Energy Security – America’s Best Defense; A study of increasing dependence on fossil fuels in wartime, and its contribution to ever higher casualty rates
November 9, 2009 (Deloitte)andPentagon could save lives by cutting fuel use-study
Andrea Shalal-Esa, November 10, 2009 (Reuters)SUMMARY
Commanders in Iraq have been saying for several years now that the military's dependence on oil is a crippling weakness that is getting U.S. troops killed.Energy Security – America’s Best Defense; A study of increasing dependence on fossil fuels in wartime, and its contribution to ever higher casualty rates
, by General Charles F. Wald (USAF Ret) and Tom Captain (Deloitte Vice Chair), documents the 175% increase in fuel consumption by the military in the decades since the Vietnam War, at a rate of 2.6% per year. It demonstrates how implementing New Energy and Energy Efficiency can reduce the numbers of convoys needed to deliver to fuel in battle theaters and other dangerous places and thereby reduce the lives lost and bodies maimed in service to feeding this nation's unnecessary oil addiction.
A key conclusion of the study is that the effort in Afghanistan could see a 124% increase in U.S. casualties through 2014 if the military does not move to New Energy and Energy Efficiency.click to enlarge COMMENTARY
The Deloitte study examined energy use by the military from World War II to the current wars in Middle Asia. The 2.6% increase in consumption per year and 175% increase since the Vietnam War has resulted in the military’s present use of 22 gallons of fuel per day per soldier due to:
1-increased mechanization of war technology,
2-increased expeditionary operations using mobility over long distances, and
3-irregular operations in rugged terrain.
The military has adopted more efficient internal combustion and jet engines and for its armored vehicles, tanks and planes, as well as nuclear power for aircraft carriers and submarines but the sheer multiplying of vehicle and operation numbers has outstripped the advances in old technologies.click to enlarge
Convoys must often traverse long distances over treacherously hostile IED- and roadside bomb-compromised ground to deliver vital fuel. Only the introduction of methods to reduce dependence on these convoys will prevent casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq from increasing 17.5% per year for a cumulative increase of 124% through 2014.
But New Energy and Energy Efficiency technologies offer the opportunity to change the game in the military’s favor. The report mentions wind and solar energies, alternative fuels from algae and biomass, the use of battery electric vehicles and experimental concepts such as fission, fusion and fuel cells. Such technologies offer the opportunity not only to save lives but to help move the world to emissions-free energy and improve the economics of the military equation as well.click to enlarge
From statistics on the military’s use of oil, the study moves to the world’s increasing dependence on oil, citing International Energy Agency predictions that world oil use will rise from today’s 85 million barrels per day to 94.4 million barrels per day in 2015 and 106.4 million barrels per day in 2030. This dependence is leading to the exhaustion of economically extractable oil reserves and driving the cost of fuel to unaffordable levels.
With its consumption of nearly 20 million barrels per day, the U.S. makes itself dependent on countries that are largely “unstable or prone to conflict” and expends enormous reserves of its blood and treasure protecting its supply. As the single biggest user of oil in the U.S., the Department of Defense (DoD) is the most vulnerable of all to the costs. In 2008, DoD spent $16 billion for 120 million barrels of oil, a million barrels every 3 days.click to enlarge
The Air Force uses the most. Weapons and war tools use an ever bigger portion. In 2008, 2.1 million barrels of fuel per month (90 million gallons) went to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Dependence on oil makes the U.S. and the U.S. military vulnerable along a specific set of “lines of communication (LOC)” at a specific set of “chokepoints:”
1-the Straits of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf (the most important chokepoint in the world because it sees 17 million barrels of oil go through every day),
2-the Strait of Malacca near Indonesia in the Indian Ocean,
3-the Suez Canal leading from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea,
4-the Panama Canal connecting the Pacific Ocean, through the Caribbean Sea, to the Atlantic Ocean,
5-Bab el-Mandeb on the West Coast of Africa, and
6-the Bosporus/Turkish Straits connecting the Mediterranean to Central Asia and Russia.click to enlarge
2008 costs due to Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), enemy attacks, rough weather, traffic accidents and pilferage: 44 trucks, 220,000 gallons of fuel. IEDs caused 43% of U.S. deaths in Iraq from July 2003 to May 2009. For much of the 2005 to 2008 period, IEDs caused more than half of all U.S. deaths in Iraq.
From 2005 to 2009, IEDs caused 38% of U.S. deaths in Afghanistan and the numbers are climbing with the level of activity. In July and August 2009, numbers were 50% higher than all of 2007.
The military is paying between $2 and $3 per gallon for fuel but when the cost of getting it to in-theater destinations is included, the cost is about $15 per gallon and when the cost of protecting it is included, the cost is about $45 per gallon.click to enlarge
The 2008 Energy Security Strategic Plan
from DoD’s Energy Security Task Force set 4 goals:
1-Maintain/enhance operational effectiveness while cutting total energy demand,
2-Increase strategic resilience with alternative and assured fuels and energy,
3-Enhanced operational/business effectiveness with institutional energy policies and solutions in DoD planning and business practices, and
4-Implement DoD-wide metrics with electric metering by 2012 and natural gas and steam metering by 2016.click to enlarge
The Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on DoD Energy Strategy
, subtitled “More Fight – Less Fuel,” made 5 recommendations:
1-Increase efficiency and use the full fuel cost to make every decision,
2-Reduce the risk of power interruptions on critical missions and in national infrastructure,
3-Establish DoD-wide metrics and goals,
4-Spend on New Energies and Energy Efficiencies at levels matching their high value,
5-Set policies and incentives to achieve near-term opportunities.click to enlarge
1-Turbine engine efficiency
2-UAV and generator efficiency
3-Other New Energies (such as ocean energies)click to enlarge
Alternative fuels, power generation and energy strorage
1-Synfuels, limited by the 2007 energy law to those with lower greenhouse gas emissions (GhGs) than oil,
3-algae fuels, especially those that can be refined into jet fuels,
4-tactical power systems and generators, including hybrid engines,
5-fuel cell technologies,
6-nuclear fission technologies, and
7-batteries and other energy storage technologies.click to enlarge
Using stimulus fund money and other financial resources, DoD has almost $2 billion invested in over 2,300 projects.
The Deloitte study recommendations, based on opportunities for accelerated deployment:
1-Common biofuels for aircraft and big engines, including plant and algae biofuels.
2-Hybrid electric/biofuel engines for ground transport, with built-in multiuse generators.
3-Solar technologies that are lightweight and durable for permanent and tent-like structures.
4-Engine/propulsion technologies that require the highest level of innovation.click to enlargeQUOTES
- Tom Captain, vice chair/Global and U.S. Aerospace & Defense (A&D) leader, Deloitte LLP/report co-author: “It is clear that our dependence on oil and other fossil fuels puts our fighting men and women at risk…We need to find ways to incorporate renewable energy sources to improve conservation and develop new fuels so that our soldiers are as safe as possible.”
- General Charles Wald (USAF Ret), director/senior advisor to the Aerospace & Defense Industry, Deloitte LLP/ co-author: “If the military can reduce its dependence on fossil fuels, it will help solve the strategic vulnerability that results from having such an oil-intense force…Many people in various sectors of the economy are realizing that energy efficiency, conservation and the use of alternative fuels are not just good for the environment, but good for business as well. In this case, it’s the business of protecting American lives.”click to enlarge
- From the report’s conclusion: “As has been the case throughout history, all of these technologies will be applicable far beyond military use. The entire nation is on course for a new energy future, and the DoD is committed to working with existing and new partners to lead the way…First and foremost, energy security is essential to reduce wartime casualties. With the significant numbers of U.S. soldiers supporting the transport, logistics, and deployment of fossil fuel to the front lines, there is a call to action to reduce dependence on oil in war. Energy security is America’s best defense.”