In this weekend's New York Times, Annie Snider of Greenwire wrote Energy Concerns Could Make Panetta First Green DOD Chief
The article addresses the fact that today's military is fuel intensive. Furthermore, many of the deaths in both wars have been troops protecting fuel supply lines, more than 3,000 of those in Afghanistan alone.
Panetta has been hired to cut money from the military budget. Current active duty officers, including former Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Mike McMullen, keep putting military benefits on the table, particularly health care for retirees. Would it be possible to find a large chunk of savings by changing how we think about and use fuel in the US Military?
In the article Snider points out:
At the same time, fuel costs are hitting the department's budget hard -- in 2008, when oil prices reached record highs, the Pentagon spent about $20 billion on fuel alone. Every $10 increase in the price of a barrel of crude costs the department an extra $1.3 billion.
Convincing commanders in the field to start looking for less energy intense solutions won't be an easy deal. Currently, those commanders don't pay directly for their fuel usage, so their is little incentive to 'go green.' This really is a case of making changes at the top. Secretary Panetta will need to educate his senior officers on the true costs of gas and oil.
Can it be done?
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