As a former officer in the Air Force, a veteran of the Iraq War, and cofounder of a company that develops hybrid vehicle technologies, I have seen how the military’s commitment to developing alternative fuels, deploying renewable energy, and increasing energy efficiency furthers our national security interests and creates important economic opportunities. After reading Juliette Kayyem’s June 7 op-ed “The Pentagon is stopped from going green,” I was disheartened to learn that the Senate Armed Services Committee is opposing Defense Department initiatives aimed at curbing our military’s dependence on foreign oil.
The Pentagon has identified our reliance on conventional fuels and the logistics to deploy these fuels as long-term strategic vulnerabilities. Creating a robust, domestic supply chain for alternative fuels would reduce the military’s reliance on any fuel whose supply chain could be cut off or disrupted.
The argument that alternative fuels are too expensive and that the military is not part of the Department of Energy ignores nearly two centuries of US military investment and innovation in new energy technologies that have created enormous strategic and tactical advantages and provided broad economic benefits to society. Imagine if senators in the 1950s had denied our transition from diesel engines to nuclear-powered submarines and carriers because nuclear technology was too costly.
Finally, the military transition to alternative and renewable energy is also about saving lives. Our troops die protecting fuel convoys, and the military is demanding that we deploy renewable energy and more efficient technology to the field to reduce the number of fuel convoys that are called upon.
It’s time for our political leaders to recognize the national security implications of blocking alternative fuels and renewable energy.