The DOD Energy Security Act of 2010
U.S. Congreswoman Gabrielle Giffords (Rep) announced on 12 May 2010 the introduction of landmark legislation, the Department of Defense Energy Security Act, to dramatically overhaul the type and quantity of fuel used by the Department of Defense. The bill has four broad goals: Reduce the reliance on oil in the battlefield; Task the Department to plan holistically for their energy use; Decrease electricity consumption at facilities around the world; and Increase the self-reliance of bases by increasing the development of on-site renewable electricity. (see also the Bill Diagram).
The Department of Defense Energy Security Act of 2010 (DoDESA) addresses DoD energy supply and use. DoDESA decreases consumption by facilities and by tactical and non-tactical vehicles (by Increasing the procurement of electric, hybrid, and high efficiency non-tactical vehicles; Integrating hybrid drive into tactical vehicles; Accelerating the production of biofuels for aviation that do not require new fuel infrastructure) and increases the use of renewable electricity sources to relieve the Department’s reliance on external electrical sources.
Additionally, DoDESA sets overarching policies to implement sustainable acquisition practices, sets new DoD Energy Performance Goals, and requires DoD to develop an Energy Performance Plan and an implementation assessment for accomplishing their goal of deriving 25% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2025.
Her proposals are general very good. Especially the ones related to contractors. But in some areas the ambition, however appropriate, is out of reality.
What is not sound to me is the deadline for conversion. Under § 2922c-1 (Conversion of Department of Defense nontactical motor vehicle fleet to motor vehicles using electric or hybrid propulsion systems) it is added that “Not later than September 30, 2015, the Secretary of each military department and the head of each defense agency shall convert the fleet of non-tactical motor vehicles of the department or defense agency that is powered by petroleum-derived fuel to motor vehicles using—(1) electric propulsion; (2) hybrid propulsion; or (3) an alternative propulsion system with at least a 30 percent net increase in energy efficiency per vehicle over the conventional propulsion system.”
This is simply impossible. Perhaps she didn’t look carefully the number of fleet vehicle inventory. How do you convert 194,700 vehicles in the next 5 years to run on alternative fuel? See page 75 of Federal Fleet Vehicle report FY2009.
Why so much focus on electric drive and why to ignore compressed natural gas? Similarly, testing and certification plan to develop and put into operational use of biofuel derived from materials that do not compete with foodstocks for use as aviation fuel by September 30, 2016 is not realistic at all. In fact, the Bill should include a sentence something like “transporting a person with at least 10 times heavier car is insane.”
Another mission impossible in that Bill is the wording under SEC.12 IMPLEMENTATION. It reads “(b) APPLICABILITY.—This Act and the amendments made by this Act shall apply with respect to the activities, personnel, resources, and facilities of the Department of Defense that are located within the United States as well as those facilities, regardless of whether permanent or temporary, that are located outside the United States.” The problem is the last 7 words. This Bill in its current form cannot be applied to DOD facilities (at least to the ones in Afghanistan and Iraq) outside the US.
Another weak point of the Bill is that it does not stress the importance of energy management, supervision and oversight. Indeed these words do not even appear in the text. Oversight, especially energy related contracts and contractors as well as fuel management are extremely important issues.
For instance, in Semiannual Report to the Congress (April 1. 2009-September 30, 2009) by Department of Defense Inspector General it is stated that “The DoD IG has recognized fuels as an area subject to theft and abuse in DoD operations. Recently, some of the most significant fuel losses in Southwest Asia were caused by theft either before the tankers reached U.S. military bases or once on base…..The DoD IG identified fuel theft in Iraq and Afghanistan, which resulted in six convictions and identified over $40 million in stolen fuel. One DoD IG investigation determined that three DoD contractors in Afghanistan accepted bribes from truck drivers in return for falsified documents confirming delivery of fuel.”
The DoD Inspector General is examining a series of contracts to the International Oil Trading Company for the delivery of fuel through Jordan to U.S. troops in Iraq. According to Defense Energy Support Center Factbook FY2009, that company was awarded 1.179 BILLION DOLLARS worth contract in 2009. The same company was given another billion dollars in previous years. Who is the owner that company? Harry Sargeant, the finance chairman of the Republican Party of Florida. Maybe he didn’t do anything wrong. My question is: why does the DESC have to use middleman for buying fuel? If Congreswoman Gabrielle Giffords wants her Bill really to be novelty, she should try to change how DoD makes business.
By the way, does anyone know why Defense Energy Support Center did take out the most useful part of the Factbook (Highlights/Accomplishments in the fiscal year)? That section always appeared at the end of each Factbook until 2009.