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Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn, USN (ret'd) opens The Burden's trailer with these words:

Oil, natural gas, coal have been very good for the United States ...
Key to his words: "have been".

Rich natural resources have been key to America's emergence, over the centuries, into a global powerhouse. Combined with (regulated) capitalism enabling best practices (mainly) to come to top, freedom of speech within a democratic society, and an open embrace of people from around the world, America's rich fossil fuel resources have been critical for U.S. development: from the coal powering Civil War railroads and steamships, to America's oil fueling the Allies in World War II, to the natural gas fueling chemical industry advances, fossil fuels have been serious players a serious role in making America great.

However, in face of 21st century realities, fossil fuels have been turned from a great enabler into a serious Achilles' Heel. The risks are economic, environmental, and -- on a very fundamental level -- national security in nature.  

In a process that has taken decades to mature (with significant movement forward, by the way, during the Bush Administration), the U.S. military is (all the military services are) becoming ever more aware of the risks from dependency on fossil fuel energy sources and the opportunities that emerge from embracing energy efficiency and renewable energy (EE/RE).

These benefits range from very tactical (increased range for vehicles, ships, and aircraft), to operational (reduced requirements for fuel convoys and fuel escorts freeing up forces and creating operational flexibility), to strategic (reduced oil dependency could change the national security relationship with the Middle East).  And, the benefits will come from reduced casualties, increased capabilities, reduced financial costs, and other valuable impacts.

For ever so many reasons, the U.S. military would like to turn fossil fuels into has beens ...

Watch the trailer (after the fold).

These are voices worth listening to. And, well, if the entire film lives up to the quality of the trailer, this is a film that truly merits watching.

Hat tip to Operation Free and their work on  the just signed California Energy Security Coordination Act of 2012:

Gov. Jerry Brown signed the Energy Security Coordination Act (S.B. 1409) into law today, which will direct the governor of research and planning to coordinate energy policies with the U.S. Department of Defense in order to resolve conflicts that might arise in the military’s research, development, and deployment of clean energy in California. The bill, which passed unanimously in the Senate and with only two ‘no’ votes in the Assembly, was sponsored by Operation Free, parent organization of the Truman National Security Project.
Related: Coherent discussion of Energy Smart military practices and thinking are a key path to fostering a more informed and, well, even bipartisan energy discussion.  See here.

Originally posted to A Siegel on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 02:57 PM PDT.

Also republished by DK GreenRoots, Kosowatt, and Climate Hawks.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Excellent post, thanks. (7+ / 0-)

    Interesting the support for real national security that has been provided by some in MIC, opposed by others.

    How did Supreme Court decision ACA help the 23 million still uncovered? Ask the 18,000 Doctors of PNHP -- they're not waiting, FORWARD now to pass H.R. 676, the “Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act .

    by divineorder on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 03:05:54 PM PDT

  •  That was fabulous. And like predictable and (6+ / 0-)

    defeatable idiots on battlefields the republicans keep trying to take us backwards into blind canyons where we can be destroyed even by weaker and less well armed enemies....Bravado feuled by ignorance is a killer of soldiers and of civilizations.

    That was a great video. It doesn't matter if we wait to run out or even to get down to the last filthy dregs we are going to run out... If we survive to use the last dregs.

    How can you tell when Rmoney is lying? His lips are moving. Fear is the Mind Killer

    by boophus on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 03:14:18 PM PDT

  •  I went to the site to try to find out more (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel, John Crapper

    about the bill because I didn't really understand the wording here:

    will direct the governor of research and planning to coordinate energy policies with the U.S. Department of Defense in order to resolve conflicts that might arise in the military’s research, development, and deployment of clean energy in California.
    What Governor of research and planning? Why would CA have to coordinate energy policy with the military?

    At the site however, when I tried to click on more info I got one of the errors saying site not found.

    American Television is a vast sea of stupid. -xxdr zombiexx

    by glitterscale on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 03:14:44 PM PDT

    •  It may have to do with Pendleton in S CA as Marine (0+ / 0-)


      How can you tell when Rmoney is lying? His lips are moving. Fear is the Mind Killer

      by boophus on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 03:17:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Agree -- mediocre wording. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      John Crapper, kurt

      The entire bill from Operation Free website:


      The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

      SECTION 1. This measure shall be known and may be cited as the Energy Security Coordination Act of 2013.

      SEC. 2. The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
      (a) Climate change and oil dependence pose a threat to the health, safety, and stability of the State of California and to the national security of the United States.
      (b) About 80 percent of military convoys carry fuel. According to the United States Secretary of the Navy, for every 50 fuel convoys, one marine is killed or wounded. Approximately 3,000 United States troops and civilian contractors have been killed or wounded protecting convoys.
      (c) The State of California and the United States Department of Defense constitute two of the largest energy users in the world, with a combined annual energy expenditure of over one hundred billion dollars ($100,000,000,000). As such, the pursuit of complementary commitments to clean energy can accelerate the growth of the American clean energy economy, stimulate job creation, and mitigate the threats of climate change and oil dependence.
      (d) The United States Department of Defense is one of the largest economic drivers in the State of California, with 30 major military installations, a budget of more than fifty-six billion dollars ($56,000,000,000) and more than 236,000 uniformed and civilian personnel.
      (e) California has the largest clean energy economy in the nation, employing over 318,000 workers throughout the state in a wide variety of industries, which have substantial existing capacity, and significant unmet potential to provide products and services to
      meet the State of California’s and the United States Department of Defense’s clean energy priorities.
      (f) The United States Department of Defense, in cooperation with the United States Armed Forces, has targeted energy efficiency, the  reduction of water and petroleum consumption, and the development and deployment of alternative fuels, advanced transportation  technology and related infrastructure, and distributed generation and recharging technologies as top operational and strategic  imperatives.
      (g) To promote a cooperative and collaborative relationship between the State of California and the United States Department of Defense in advancing clean energy, it is necessary for the Office of Planning and Research to have specific responsibility in this area.

      SEC. 3. Section 65040.7 is added to the Government Code, to read:
      65040.7. (a) For purposes of this section, the following terms have the following meanings:
      (1) “Energy security and military mission goals” means federal laws, regulations, or executive orders, related to alternative fuel and vehicle technology, clean energy, energy efficiency, water and waste conservation, greenhouse gas emissions reductions, and related infrastructure, including, but not limited to, the federal laws, regulations, and executive orders, and the goals set forth therein, of the National Energy Conservation Policy Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 8201 et seq.), the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 17001 et seq.), the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 15801 et seq.), and the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (42 U.S.C. Sec.  3201 et seq.), and the goals set forth in Executive Order No. 13514, Executive Order No. 13423, and Executive Order No. 13221.
      (2) “State energy and environmental policies” includes, but is not limited to, policies involving alternative fuels and vehicle technology and related fueling infrastructure, renewable electricity generation and related transmission infrastructure, energy  efficiency and demand response, waste management, recycling, water conservation, water quality, water supply, greenhouse gas emissions reductions, and green chemistry.
      (b) A state agency that is identified by the Office of Planning Research pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) shall, when developing and implementing state energy and environmental policies, consider the direct impacts of those policies upon the United States Department of Defense’s energy security and military mission goals.
      (c) The Office of Planning and Research shall do both of the following:
      (1) Identify state agencies that develop and implement state energy and environmental policies that directly impact the United States Department of Defense’s energy security and military mission goals in the state.
      (2) Serve as a liaison to coordinate effective inclusion of the United States Department of Defense in the development and implementation of state energy and environmental policy.
      (d) This section shall not do any of the following:
      (1) Interfere with the existing authority of, or prevent, an agency or department from carrying out of its programs, projects, or responsibilities.
      (2) Limit compliance with requirements imposed under anyother law.
      (3) Authorize or require the United States Department of Defense to operate differently from any other self-generating ratepayer, or alter an existing rate structure.

      Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

      by A Siegel on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 03:18:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  because that provides a basis for... (0+ / 0-)

      .... initiatives on a national scale.

      California collaborating with the military, means the potential for innovations of the type that the military can use at other bases, and that can become standardized.  That brings down costs, and spreads out the infrastructure across the continent.  

      And that in turn provides a solid foundation for other companies to do likewise and to spread those technologies throughout the civilian sector.  

      "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

      by G2geek on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 11:09:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I was at a hearing with Senator Pavley (6+ / 0-)

    on SB 1409 earlier today. Michael Breen, head of the Truman National Security Project, explained just how vulnerable the military is to supply chain disruption. Biofuels are being tested at our local naval base, and the biofuel company tries to hire Seabees whenever possible. This is important work.

    Ice and certainty dissolve as we watch. Nothing else in politics matters. @RL_Miller

    by RLMiller on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 03:17:46 PM PDT

  •  I'd love to post this video on my FB page (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Can't figure out how to do it.  This is a powerful film that would perhaps make otherwise conservative military people understand the strategic value in alternative energy sources.

    "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win". Mohandas K. Gandhi

    by DaveinBremerton on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 06:10:38 PM PDT

    •  mouse over the video and ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ... click on the word vimeo. That will bring the video up on Vimeo's site. Copy the url and then paste that into FB. Once FB has gone out to see what the url is about it will add a "thumbnail" and description for the video to your post. You can then erase the url you pasted in and type whatever you want there. Hope that helps.

  •  Excellent diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel

    People don't realize how critical this is, or how the military could be doing so much more. Especially since funding basic research and development seems to be an unaffordable luxury to the Paul Ryan types.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 08:26:46 PM PDT

  •  Sorry I missed this diary! (0+ / 0-)

    Overlooked when it was posted

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