2011 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: Thu, 13 Jan 2011 16:16:49 -0800 (PST)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] ENERGY: Efficiency needed in the field
Save Energy, Save Our Troops

Opinion by STEVEN M. ANDERSON, Brigadier General, U.S. Army, Retired
New York Times
January 12, 2011

Arlington, Va.

A NATO oil tanker truck was blown up by insurgents at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border last week, and while no one was injured, the incident temporarily closed the Khyber Pass, the main supply artery for Western troops in the Afghan theater. This has become an all-too-routine occurrence; in the last nine years some 1,000 Americans have been killed on fuel-related missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Until the Defense Department develops battlefield policies recognizing that energy efficiency contributes to military effectiveness, more blood will be shed, billions of dollars will be wasted, our enemies will have thousands of vulnerable fuel trucks for targets and our commanders will continue to be distracted by the task of overseeing fuel convoys.

As the military's senior logistician in Iraq for 15 months in 2006 and 2007, I tracked the tremendous amounts of fuel needed to power the generators providing electricity for air-conditioning and other essential uses in shelters hastily constructed of canvas, plywood and sheet metal. Today our troops in Afghanistan are furiously building more of the same. Nine years into that war, they are living more or less as Alexander the Great's men did 23 centuries ago - in often dangerous and always inefficient tents and shacks.

For many in the military, improving the situation isn't a priority. "To hell with efficiency, effectiveness is all I care about," a finger-wagging superior once told me in Iraq. But keeping our bases and units supplied with fuel endangers not just the lives of many soldiers manning the tanker convoys, it also drains $24 billion a year from the Pentagon budget. The solution: a Defense Department policy requiring all structures in the combat zone be energy-efficient.


For the entire column, see


Lenny Siegel
Executive Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
a project of the Pacific Studies Center
278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918

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