Fossil Fuels Critical for National Defense

Make no mistake, war and combat operations are wasteful.

The objective is to win with the fewest possible casualties, not save money or material.

During peacetime it’s important to save money while maintaining a powerful military, but the objective isn’t to save money, it’s to have a powerful military capable of winning any war or eliminate any threat the United States confronts.

Deterrence is an important mission, but potential adversaries only recognize military strength. Weakness begets unnecessary confrontations.

Today, we have emerging situations in the South China Sea and in the Baltic nations, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, where any sign of weakness might invite an unnecessary confrontation.

Fossil fuels are critical to ensuring that the military can win.

Attempting to substitute biofuels and other alternatives for fossil fuels threatens the military’s ability to win, while wasting money on needless research and development of alternative fuels.

Biofuels for the military are a luxury we cannot afford.

The president’s executive orders have mandated that Federal Agencies, including the Department of Defense, adopt the use of renewables. While this mandate is limited to facilities in the United States, the money spent unnecessarily by the DOD to meet the mandate detracts from DOD’s ability to fund important military operations, manpower and equipment.

Executive Orders have mandated prescribed amounts of electricity and energy be provided by renewables, but includes the option of allowing agencies to buy renewable energy certificates (RECs) in-lieu of obtaining renewable energy or installing renewable generating equipment on site.

Power generation from natural gas is far cheaper than using alternatives. Buying RECs uses DOD dollars that are badly needed to bolster the United States military.

Executive Order 13514 resulted in establishing the Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan (SSPP) by the Department of Defense.

Executive Order 13653 said, “building on these efforts, each agency shall develop or continue to develop, implement, and update comprehensive plans that integrate consideration of climate change into agency operations and overall mission objectives and submit those plans to CEQ and OMB for review.”

DOD’s 2014 Climate Change Adaption Roadmap embodies many of these Executive Order requirements.

What’s more important, winning a war or cutting CO2 emissions?

In its recently published Chinese Military Strategy white paper, China makes no mention of CO2 and global warming. It declares that China’s military mission is to:

“Adhere to the principle of the CPC’s absolute leadership, uphold combat effectiveness as the sole and fundamental standard, [with a people’s military] that can fight and win.” (Emphasis added.)

China understands the military’s mission, and doesn’t burden it with defending against climate change.

In the United States, Congress debates the military’s share of the budget, while money that should be available for the military is being used to cut CO2 emissions.

Secretary of the Navy Mabus established goals for the Navy and Marine Corps requiring that half of all naval energy needs be supplied by alternative sources.

What is the purpose of such a requirement when there are plentiful sources of fossil fuels available for the navy’s ships and air arm? The price of oil fluctuates, but surely there is a better way to control costs than to spend money on developing high cost biofuels.

Headline from U.S. Navy Web Site
Headline from U.S. Navy Web Site

Biofuels cannot be produced in sufficient quantities to supply the Navy’s ships, so why waste time and money on Mabus’ pet project, a carrier strike group powered only by biofuels and nuclear energy, a so-called Great Green Fleet? Even if biofuels could be produced in quantity, it would add complexity to distributing fuel to Navy ships around the world.

Yet, deliveries of biofuels will start in 2015, involving DOD’s single largest bulk fuels acquisition program valued in excess of $3.5 billion.

Here is what RAND, an independent research organization, concluded about whether DOD should spend money on alternative fuels.

The RAND report opens with the following statement:

“Over the past few years, the U.S. Department of Defense has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on the development, testing, and certification of alternative fuels that can substitute for petroleum-derived fuels used by the Army, Navy and Marine Corps, and Air Force in their tactical weapon systems.”
(Emphasis added.)

The Rand report went on to say, “Within the United States, the prospects for commercial production of alternative fuels that have military applications remain highly uncertain, especially over the next decade.”

Obviously, the prospects for alternative fuel availability overseas is virtually nil.

Here is their conclusion found on page 83:

“Findings on Military Use of Alternative Fuels”

“There is no direct benefit to the Department of Defense or the services from using alternative fuels rather than petroleum-derived fuels.”

Diverting the attention of the military from being prepared to defend the United States from any foreign enemy, by having it spend time and money attempting to cut CO2 emissions, is a terrible policy, and could be tragic if the military is unable to win any war in which the United States becomes engaged.

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0 Replies to “Fossil Fuels Critical for National Defense”

  1. It’s one thing for my boat to break down in the middle of a lake because of ethanol related problems another thing for a billion dollar destroyer protecting aircraft carriers of the South China Sea to break down because of biofuel related issues.

    • Thanks. Great comment.
      The other point is that getting biofuels to the fleet complicate the logistics problem. Having been involved with underway replenishment, I know that the oilers have limited space, and adding yet another fuel makes things more complicated.

  2. Not mentioned in any of the various “benefits” of getting rid of fossil fuels is the impact that the elimination of coal and soon, the elimination of oil as a heating fuel will have major economic impacts on the working poor and the very poor. My wife is a tax preparer at tax time. She works in the poorer section of town. At least half of her clients are getting Earned Income Credit. Many are retired and only have Social Security, and what money they saved for retirement or from insurance. They live in the same 1500 sq ft house they bought 50 (?) years ago. Many (most) complain about the $300 monthly heating bill (Gas in our area).

    The Obama Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) did NOTHING for them. The few that got it got only a higher efficiency gas furnace. PERIOD. These homes were never insulated when built and still are not insulated and there are no plans to insulate them. I live in a 3000 sq ft house and my heat and cooling (heat pump with over 18 in of insulation in attic) has never been over $100 for a month. Average is less than $75. Their gas bill should be less than $50 a month and even less if an annual even payment plan is set up. When coal goes away, Gas is going to go up at least 25%, and more when they outlaw Oil for heat. The poor are going to suffer even more. I guarantee more will die from freezing/cold weather than “climate Change” just in the USA

  3. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #183 | Watts Up With That?

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