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Print 21 comment(s) - last by SlyNine.. on Jun 24 at 11:57 AM

New strategy will mark the first time an effort has been made by the military to consider energy consumption

The U.S. military is starting to look at new ways to handle the need for energy on the battlefield and in its operations. Power requirements for weapons and equipment like radios and night vision gear is often one of the limiting factors on how long a patrol can stay in the field and the distance a campaign can move from fresh supplies.

The Pentagon has now unveiled a new strategy that looks to make formal plans for the military to manage the use of energy on the battlefield. The new strategy will also consider energy needs when acquiring new weapons. This is the first time that the DoD has looked to change how energy is used in military operations.

Sharon Burke, assistant secretary of defense for operational energy plans and programs said during a taping of a program called this Week in Defense News, "It's become clear in the current operations that there are risks and costs we're taking on that we don't need to be taking on."

The new strategy made its way to Capitol Hill this week reports Defense News. The strategy calls for not only reductions in the need for energy in the field but for the expansion and securing of our energy supply and the building of energy into future forces. The strategy also asks that the DoD components document the projected energy consumption in current and planned operations with the individual services and combatant commands gathering the raw data.

The strategy reads, "To build and sustain this 21st century military force, particularly in an era of fiscal duress, the Department of Defense must use its resources wisely, and that includes our energy resources."

The strategy claims that right now the DoD tends to treat energy as a commodity. The strategy document reads, "[the DoD] tends to treat energy as a commodity that will always be readily available, regardless of the strategic, operational, and tactical costs."

The military is making adjustments and using tech to reduce the need for fuel and batteries in the field. Already, Marines operating in Afghanistan are using solar panels to help power their electric hardware. The strategy paper also notes that the DoD doesn't even have a set standard for batteries in radios. Needing only one type of battery would make life in the field easier.



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Logistics
By zzatz on 6/15/2011 4:29:46 PM , Rating: 2
"Good generals study tactics. Great generals study logistics."

This, and variations on it ("Amateurs study tactics, professionals study logistics.") have been attributed to many noted leaders. If those who work at the Pentagon aren't looking at energy requirements, they aren't doing their jobs.




RE: Logistics
By Reclaimer77 on 6/15/2011 5:08:23 PM , Rating: 1
No. Safety of our troops and being provided the BEST weapons and equipment should be top priority. The problem with environmentalist and conservationists, is that human lives are NOT their top priority.

This sends a disturbing message to our troops and military in my opinion.


RE: Logistics
By kattanna on 6/15/2011 5:36:23 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The problem with environmentalist and conservationists, is that human lives are NOT their top priority.


sadly, that is all too true.


RE: Logistics
By zzatz on 6/15/2011 6:38:43 PM , Rating: 5
You're seeing a conflict that exists only in your mind.

The troops are safest when they don't run out of supplies. Beans and bullets is an old saying, this is just the updated version with modern terms, including the amount of energy needed to keep the troops supplied with working weapons.

A rifle without bullets is useless. Unless you expect our troops to hit our enemies over the head.

Napoleon set out for Moscow with the largest army, the best weapons, and most highly motivated soldiers. Nearly all of them died. Most were not killed by the enemy. They died because the logistics failed. They ran out of food, winter clothing, and ammo.

Ignoring logistics endangers troops. The Pentagon is not run by tree-huggers; they care about fuel consumption because higher consumption puts soldiers at risk. Higher fuel consumption risks leaving the front line without supplies. Higher consumption puts more troops at risk running convoys. Improved logistics is a purely military consideration, as can be seen by anyone not completely blinded by partisan dogma.


RE: Logistics
By phantom505 on 6/15/2011 9:13:08 PM , Rating: 2
Tell that to Donald Rumsfeld.

So what if our troops have to pay for their own body armor. Better than taxpayers paying for it.


RE: Logistics
By zzatz on 6/15/2011 11:05:46 PM , Rating: 2
That has nothing to do with including energy consumption in logistics requirements, and everything to do with Rumsfeld's poor management. The troops didn't lack body armor because it used energy, they lacked body armor because the Pentagon failed to buy it.

I don't get you guys. The Pentagon sometimes does the right thing, and sometimes they screw up. Why blame their screw ups on unrelated things they get right?

What is it that you don't like about flashlights that last longer on a set of batteries? What's wrong with including battery life as *one* of the factors in buying laptops and radios? What do you have against aircraft that can loiter over a target and support ground forces longer? Those are cases where better energy efficiency provides better performance, and you don't want that better performance because someone told you that Greenpeace is in favor of energy efficiency? Should you stop eating vegetables because PETA is in favor of eating vegetables? Greenpeace and PETA are full of idiots, but even idiots can get some things right.


RE: Logistics
By Reclaimer77 on 6/16/11, Rating: 0
RE: Logistics
By SlyNine on 6/16/2011 10:49:32 AM , Rating: 2
So all you're worried about is effectiveness when it works....

What the pentagon is saying, and the other guy you replied to is that's not enough. You need to consider the duration of its effectiveness. Since energy is limited IT HAS TO BE CONSIDERED IN LOGISTICS. Whether you're afraid that might make lights alittle dimmer is besides the point. I'd rather have a dimmer light that lasts as long as I need it.

Not having a bright enough light is a failure in logistics. Not having a light that lasts long enough is also a failure in logistics. You got to have the right combo of the two and unless you AT LEAST consider energy requirements you can never get that combination right.


RE: Logistics
By Reclaimer77 on 6/16/2011 12:00:26 PM , Rating: 1
I can tell that you don't know anyone that's ever been in the military or have ever listened to someone who was.

quote:
Not having a bright enough light is a failure in logistics. Not having a light that lasts long enough is also a failure in logistics.


Umm wrong, so wrong. If my light isn't bright enough, I'm screwed. Because THOSE are the lights we are issued, it's not like I can go to the nearest store and pick up a better one. If my light doesn't last "long enough", I am issued spare batteries or can procure them from Supply if needed.

Every single time the military has tried to be more "efficient" with supplies, it translates into our soldiers having to make due with less. And that's no different just because we're talking energy instead of bullets.


RE: Logistics
By kingius on 6/17/2011 10:38:15 AM , Rating: 2
Making do with less is what wins wars!!!!

When the battle is lost, when communication has been eradicated, when the enemy is at your gates and battering them down, being able to turn ANYTHING into a weapon is what will keep you alive. Having a torch with no power is almost as bad as having no torch at all - and in many circumstances IS WORSE.

Your soldiers should be tactically smart, adaptable and able to turn any situation into an advantage. THAT is what will make them turn defeat into victory.


RE: Logistics
By SlyNine on 6/24/2011 11:57:15 AM , Rating: 2
I'm a 3rd generation military brat and my dad was a marine.

And nothing you said there discounts my points on logistics, Yes it is a failure of logistics to not issue lights that are bright enough.

Take logic 101. Ad hominem attack, and slippery slope fallacy is all I see here.


RE: Logistics
By Murloc on 6/16/2011 5:54:46 AM , Rating: 2
lol what are you babbling about?
this is not about being green.
Best weapons and equipment are already being provided, what has to change is that energy needs have to go in the plans. This way you can plan how much energy you need to produce on the field, how long they can stay out etc.
Having standardized batteries for radios doesn't cost more money and is useful.


Already exist?
By Raiders12 on 6/15/2011 1:48:59 PM , Rating: 2
Isn't the Navy already experimenting with Biofuel from algae for small ships? The solar panels have already been mentioned. I believe British forces are developing a hybrid/EV fighting vehicle. Also the Germans and Israelis have Hydrogen powered ships. This is either old news, or just us lagging behind other developed nations. Either way, at least we're trying.




RE: Already exist?
By theArchMichael on 6/15/2011 2:10:23 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah I read that stuff on here to. I think this article is more about the Pentagon making it a general policy to apply energy usage considerations against all future purchases and programs.


RE: Already exist?
By Smartless on 6/15/2011 3:00:23 PM , Rating: 2
I agree. I remember an article talking about how soldiers need to carry several pounds of batteries for some of their gear. Not all the soldiers mind you. Heck, the related articles talk about flexible solar panels for marines.

In any case, its nice for them to talk rules but geez some genius is gonna have to design it.


RE: Already exist?
By Bad-Karma on 6/16/2011 3:41:10 AM , Rating: 2
Last time I was in Central Asia in early 07, my gear and pack was almost 125 pounds. A good chunk of that was just simple spare batteries for about 12 different items, none of which were interchangeable. I had several sets for the laptop ,GPS, night vision, flashlight, weapon light, weapon laser aim point,etc..and also two different tactical radios (because neither set could talk to all the services).

And all that was at a rapid forward deployed command post. Think about the poor guy in the field lugging around even more than that for weeks on end, it's hard on the knees.

If the Pentagon would get us a lightweight unified power/charging source then the troops would love them for it.


RE: Already exist?
By FITCamaro on 6/15/2011 3:13:52 PM , Rating: 1
We've had nuclear powered ships for decades. If there's one thing the US is at the front at, its military technology.


RE: Already exist?
By Bad-Karma on 6/16/2011 3:37:38 AM , Rating: 2
True, but also unfortunately is that nuclear power vessels are a very small portion of the surface fleet. Over the years I've worked liaison to them several times. One of the things that always struck me was just how much of the fleet is actually cargo, oilers and replenishment vessels.

But then I've also taken to noticing the huge logistic trains that all of the services need to employ. It is really mind boggling just wrapping your head around the enormity of what has to take place just to field a single unit, let alone an entire force. Getting energy to the troops, whether it be fuel or food, is a nightmare.

Fortunately it is something the American military does better than anybody else.


RE: Already exist?
By kattanna on 6/15/2011 3:48:01 PM , Rating: 2
maybe they are leading up to making solar powered laser rifles for our night fighting troops?


RE: Already exist?
By Bad-Karma on 6/16/2011 3:45:33 AM , Rating: 2
How about screen door for submarines to cut down on power consumption by the air-conditioning units.


Charging
By Chaosforce on 6/15/2011 7:58:53 PM , Rating: 2
"We can't expect users to use common sense. That would eliminate the need for all sorts of legislation, committees, oversight and lawyers." -- Christopher Jennings

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