Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn, USN (ret’d) opens The Burden‘s trailer with these words:
Oil, natural gas, coal have been very good for the United States …
Key to his words: “have been”.
Rich natural resources have been key to America’s emergence, over the centuries, into a global powerhouse. Combined with (regulated) capitalism enabling best practices (mainly) to come to top, freedom of speech within a democratic society, and an open embrace of people from around the world, America’s rich fossil fuel resources were critical for U.S. development: from the coal powering Civil War railroads and steamships, to America’s oil fueling the Allies in World War II, to the natural gas fueling chemical industry advances, fossil fuels had a serious role in making America great.
However, fossil fuels have turned from a great enabler into a serious Achilles’ Heel. The risks are economic, environmental, and — on a very fundamental level — national security in nature. In a process that has taken decades to mature (with significant movement forward, by the way, during the Bush Administration), the U.S. military is (all the military services are) becoming ever more aware of the risks from dependency on fossil fuel energy sources and the opportunities that emerge from embracing energy efficiency and renewable energy (EE/RE).
These benefits range from very tactical (increased range for vehicles, ships, and aircraft), to operational (reduced requirements for fuel convoys and fuel escorts freeing up forces and creating operational flexibility), to strategic (reduced oil dependency could change the national security relationship with the Middle East). And, the benefits will come from reduced casualties, increased capabilities, reduced financial costs, and other valuable impacts.
Watch the trailer.
These are voices worth listening to. And, well, if the entire film lives up to the quality of the trailer, this is a film that truly merits watching.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed the Energy Security Coordination Act (S.B. 1409) into law today, which will direct the governor of research and planning to coordinate energy policies with the U.S. Department of Defense in order to resolve conflicts that might arise in the military’s research, development, and deployment of clean energy in California. The bill, which passed unanimously in the Senate and with only two ‘no’ votes in the Assembly, was sponsored by Operation Free, parent organization of the Truman National Security Project.
Related: Coherent discussion of Energy Smart military practices and thinking are a key path to fostering a more informed and, well, even bipartisan energy discussion. See here.