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Army General: Saving Energy Will Save Lives

Improving energy efficiency in military operations will save the lives of our brave troops overseas.

"Until the Defense Department develops battlefield policies recognizing that energy efficiency contributes to military effectiveness," writes retired Army brigadier general Steven M. Anderson in The New York Times, "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 I've said here over and over again—and as others, much more qualified than I have also said—the military and national security argument for clean energy and energy efficiency should not be ignored.

Anderson makes the very strong and clear case for making broad energy efficiency efforts—like insulating structures in extreme climates like Iraq—in the field, and throughout the entire Department of Defense's operations.

The benefits of "an across-the-board Pentagon efficiency mandate?"

First, it would save many lives: there are casualties in one out of every 24 fuel supply convoys in Afghanistan; 47 drivers were killed there last year. It would save money; it costs taxpayers about $66 million a day for air-conditioning in the war zones.

It would also reduce opportunities for the enemy. Some soldiers jokingly call the fuel trucks “Taliban targets,” and for good reason — they are a high-payoff quarry for insurgents using nothing but homemade bombs. In addition, having fewer fuel shipments would allow NATO to take highly trained troops off convoy duty and use them in combat or, even better, send them home.


The seems like the biggest of no brainers. We want to protect our troops, so the Pentagon has to get serious about cutting our reliance—in the field, and at home—on oil.

I recommend Anderson's whole Op-ed as a must read.

Photo: Operation Free

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