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The U.S. Military Goes Green

The Department of Defense is placing a new emphasis on improving energy efficiency.

The goals are to improve national energy security, enhance battlefield capability, and control costs.

On that last point, anyone would be excused for being skeptical about DoD’s sincerity when it comes to saving money, but the real concern is price risk. The military’s over-dependence on petroleum makes it vulnerable to sudden price spikes that could constrain military options.

The U.S. Air Force recently conducted its first test of powering an aircraft (an A-10 Thunderbolt) solely with a bio-fuel blend.

What’s most striking about the DoD strategy is its emphasis on behavior change. The military has figured out that big energy efficiencies are possible at low or no cost simply by changing the way people use fuel and power.

Integrating energy efficiency into the military’s potent training system is expected to have two major outcomes. First, the military itself will become more energy efficient. Second, the society at large will become more energy efficient over time as the effect of the military’s culture change spreads across the broader culture.

The strategy is described in a presentation from the 2009 conference on Behavior, Energy and Climate Change (BECC).

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