Harnessing Veterans’ Commitment
Center for National Policy
Battlefield veterans and military commanders may seem unlikely advocates of renewable energy. But, thanks to the Center for National Policy, the nonprofit arm of the Truman National Security Project, the U.S. military is speaking out for clean energy programs on Capitol Hill and in the media. Its message: going green saves soldiers’ lives.
Military leaders are well aware that the world’s thirst for oil will almost certainly increase political instability and spark future global conflicts if it continues to grow unchecked.
Imagine you’re leading an Army platoon in one of the war zones of Iraq or Afghanistan. Every move your unit makes requires enormous amounts of fossil fuel for trucks, tanks, generators, helicopters, and jet aircraft. And every drop of that fuel has to be transported by convoys of fuel tankers traveling long distances across the desert from the nearest supply base.
Your unit can’t go long without a fresh supply of fuel, or its activities grind to a halt. But if you make the regular fuel runs you need, the convoys and their armed escort become easy targets for ISIL. Either way, reliance on fossil fuels puts soldiers in harm’s way. It’s estimated that one out of eight soldiers who died in Iraq were killed on a fuel resupply mission.
This is one reason why the Department of Defense (DOD) has been a partner in projects to develop advanced biofuels and other innovative alternative energy sources. Moreover, military leaders are well aware that the world’s thirst for oil will almost certainly increase political instability and spark future global conflicts if it continues to grow unchecked.
Despite all this, some in Congress have been pushing to slash funding for the Department of Energy’s clean energy R&D programs and prohibit the military’s involvement, using lower oil prices and rising domestic production as their rationale.
Through the Center for National Policy, military veterans and leaders are making a strong case to Congress that America’s security depends on the development of sustainable, clean-energy technologies such as distributed generation systems. To help drive its message home, the Truman Project has produced The Burden, the first documentary film on the threat that our dependence on fossil fuels poses to our troops and to national security.
Our $50,000 grant has helped support the Center’s ongoing operations in the area of renewable energy.
Why This Grant
The military is a vital partner in the push for energy innovation, and not only because the DOD is our country’s single biggest oil consumer. More than any other actor in the debate, the military has the incentive and the stature to make a compelling case for clean energy.