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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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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.

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