PENTAGON, Washington DC (May 16, 2013) -- The Army has established a new policy for 'Operational Energy,' which is focused on improving the Army's capabilities through better use of energy.
The policy memorandum, signed April 30 by the 21st Secretary of the U.S. Army, the Hon. John McHugh, describes Operational Energy as the energy and associated systems, information and processes required to train, move and sustain forces and systems for military operations.
The memorandum directs the Assistant Secretaries, Army Staff, Army Commands, Army Service Component Commands, and Direct Reporting Units to find ways to improve energy performance through techniques, behaviors, and organizational culture; integrate operational energy considerations into planning, requirements development, acquisition, construction, operations, research, development, technology and evaluation, reporting, and management programs; coordinate energy-related plans, budgets and activities; and track, manage and report operational energy performance and usage.
McHugh writes, "Army operational energy is a critical enabler for the range of military operational capabilities from the individual Soldier to strategic levels." As such, "The Army will manage energy to provide the greatest operational benefit and assure access to sufficient energy supplies." He emphasized, "Leaders and individuals at all levels must understand how energy contributes to their respective operational roles and consider it in planning decisions and daily behaviors."
The policy directs all levels of command to understand how energy supports their mission; assigns responsibilities for integrating operational energy into existing policy, strategies and regulations; and ensures operational energy is accounted for within the Army's energy consumption totals.
The Secretary also directed Department of the Army Headquarters level Secretariat and Staff offices to review their functional policies, guidance, Army Regulations and associated tasks within the Army Campaign Plan, and within 180 days address updates and deficiencies within normal review processes and timeframes and coordinate those changes.
The Army's focus on enhancing mission effectiveness through Army Power and Energy advancements, which includes Operational Energy, has been ongoing for several years. On several occasions, McHugh has noted, "We need to develop more energy-efficient technologies that provide operational flexibility and take enormous weight off the back of our Soldiers."
The Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment will provide oversight and be supported by the Army Deputy Chief of Staff, G-4, who will synchronize activities across the Army
The intent is to establish an energy informed culture through education, training and awareness programs which value energy as a resource that enables enhanced capabilities, such as agility, endurance, flexibility, and resilience, and thus lowers the operational risk.
The Hon. Katherine Hammack, the assistant secretary of the Army for installations, energy and environment, who provides oversight and establishes Army policy and guidance for operational energy, said the Army is enhancing mission effectiveness through an energy-informed culture, "It's really all about ensuring all of our Soldiers have energy at the right place and the right time to do their mission while at the same time reducing risk and vulnerability. The Army's ability to accomplish the mission on a global scale depends upon secure, uninterrupted access to power and energy."
During a recent visit to West Point, NY, Lt. Gen. Raymond V. Mason, Department of the Army deputy chief of staff for logistics, told cadets the Army's push to develop energy-efficient technologies and train its Soldiers to be energy-conscious is all about warfighters. "This focus on operational energy is not about, necessarily, trying to save fuel," Mason said. "It's about making (Soldiers) more combat-effective and reducing (their) risk."
"This issue of culture change and getting down to a grassroots level of change, I think, is value-based. You will take care of what you value," Mason said.
Creating a culture change requires training future leaders, refocusing current leaders, and creating an understanding of why it is important.
At the United States Military Academy, West Point, The Core Interdisciplinary Team has introduced an institutional program to inject energy-related topics into 16 core courses--stretching across several disciplines. Cadets will receive initial exposure to energy security topics and challenges within courses like chemistry, math and information technology. Exposure will lead to application the following year in math, physics, environmental engineering, economics and political science courses.
Earlier this year, ALARACT 042/2013, provided initial guidance across the Army on establishing an Energy Informed Culture as a key component of Army operational capabilities, readiness and sustainability. It began a synchronized campaign of capability and performance initiatives, business process changes and information operations aimed at achieving an enduring Energy Informed Culture across the total Army, no later than calendar year 2020. The purpose of the effort is to provide an enduring, total Army capability to utilize energy to the greatest benefit, and to ensure a sustainable force. The ALARACT likewise noted that in order to meet growing and diversifying operational demands and resource constraints, the Army must understand and balance energy attributes such as efficiency, reliability, flexibility, compactness and quality, along with associated resource demands, in order to achieve the greatest net benefit in the context of mission and situation.
In her opening comments at an Army Operational Energy Roundtable at the U.S. Army War College last May, Hammack said, "Understanding where and how we use energy can have a dramatic impact on energy consumption and, if anything, can have a positive impact on the fight. We need to think about energy conservation as a way to enhance mission effectiveness."
During the same two-day event, Richard Kidd, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for energy and sustainability noted, "It is a significant challenge for the Army to make energy a consideration in all that we do." However, he said, "We need to add momentum to the process of institutionalizing this positive change across the Army."