Udall, Peters Introduce Bill to Streamline Military Energy Programs, Strengthen Combat Effectiveness, Save Taxpayer Dollars
U.S. Senator Mark Udall and Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) introduced today the updated, bicameral Department of Defense Energy Security Act of 2014 (DODESA), which will help the U.S. Department of Defense reduce energy use, boost combat effectiveness and speed up the development of advanced military technologies.
By encouraging the development of more efficient systems to cut fuel consumption, reduce costs and limit the number of troops in harm's way, DODESA aims to put into action the words of former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen: "Saving energy saves lives." For example, more than 3,000 men and women in uniform have been killed or wounded since Sept. 11, 2001, in attacks on fuel convoys in Afghanistan. Last year, the Defense Department spent $14.8 billion on fuel for operational missions.
"Our men and women in uniform understand that energy security is national security - and reducing fuel consumption and energy costs can save lives. This common-sense legislation is a silver buckshot approach to help the Pentagon cut waste, reduce energy costs, and allow our military to bring more combat power to the fight," Udall said. "I have been proud to lead efforts on the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee and the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources to update our nation's energy policy. This proposal brings that same approach to our military and will reduce the very real costs of war for troops, strengthen military effectiveness and save taxpayer money."
"San Diego is leading the way toward finding and implementing innovative ways to bring renewable energy into our military and civilian portfolios," Peters said. "Reducing our fuel consumption is a national security imperative, and as we shift our military focus increasingly toward the Pacific, we must give the military the tools necessary to protect our troops and increase self-sufficiency — a focus that should apply at to our ships, planes, and tanks, as well as our bases here at home. This bill is good for the military, good for the environment, and good for American taxpayers."
Udall and Peters unveiled their proposal today at the U.S. Capitol with Truman Project and Center for National Policy Executive Director Michael Breen. Breen highlighted key findings of two policy papers recently published by the Center for National Policy's Defense Energy program specifically recommending several of the DODESA provisions.
"The provisions of this legislation are critically important because our military faces considerable energy challenges," Breen said. "Our military is the largest institutional consumer of energy in the world, projected to purchase more than 100 million barrels of fuel in Fiscal Year 2014 alone. With our military positioning greater force structure in U.S. Pacific Command, the largest expanse of sea and sky in the world, our fuel burden will only increase. Meanwhile, our military's domestic installations remain tethered to our fragile electric grid, putting our bases at risk of prolonged disruptions."
Udall and Peters' bill, DODESA 2014, will:
- Create a pilot program for using private-sector capital funding to increase the efficiency of mobile assets such as ships and deployable equipment, while allowing the Pentagon to reap long-term savings.
- Streamline efforts across the service branches and reduce redundancy by establishing a central database for new energy projects.
- Lighten the load for troops by creating a Warrior Power executive agent to focus the development of troop-portable power generation systems.
- Continue funding for more fuel efficient tactical vehicles.
- Help military installations continue to function in the event of a major power outage following a natural disaster or an attack on the electrical grid.
- Authorize investments in infrastructure on military installations for alternative fuel vehicles, including those running on natural gas.
- Reinvest savings realized from smart energy programs into other energy-reduction programs, creating a virtuous cycle.
Udall originally teamed with former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords to introduce DODESA in 2010 and he has since introduced the bill with updated provisions. Udall has successfully included provisions of his past DODESA bills in the annual National Defense Authorization Acts, including establishing interim Defense Department energy efficiency benchmarks, requiring and standardizing the qualifications and training requirements for military energy managers, and requiring the military to capture and assess its operational energy usage.
Click HERE to read a one-page summary of the bill.