PENTAGON - Mr. J. Randall, Robinson, acting assistant secretary of the Army for Installations, energy and Environment provided the U.S. Army's perspective on the importance of Energy and Water to Warfighter Readiness, as part of a Department of Defense Energy panel at the 2017 Energy Exchange in Tampa, Florida.
The symposium was hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy Federal Energy Management Program.
During the three-day symposium, more than 2,600 attended, of which more than 700 represented the Department of Defense. The Energy Exchange is an educational and networking forum for those seeking to expand their knowledge of building operations, energy security and management in the federal sector.
On the panel, Robinson was joined by Mr. Steve Iselin, acting assistant secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations and Environment and Mr. Richard Hartley, acting assistant secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment and Energy.
With more than 350,000 buildings and 600,000 vehicles on the road, the federal government is the nation's largest energy consumer. Federal agencies have a tremendous opportunity and an obligation to reduce energy, water, and petroleum use, as well as greenhouse gas emissions in their operations.
Robinson discussed the Army's three priorities, readiness for the current fight, the future and the future fight, and talking care of the troops.
Robinson said, "Supporting the first priority of readiness is the driving force for all energy and water decisions the Army makes."
He said, "The decisions we make in Energy and Water, both in our facilities and in the operational space, directly affect readiness. The Army is laser focused on Resilience, which is the ability to anticipate, prepare for, and adapt to changing conditions and withstand, respond to, and recover rapidly from disruptions."
He said, "From the installation perspective, we know that Installation readiness is critical to warfighter readiness. The Army has 156 Installations and a totally of almost a billion square feet in building space. Those installations provide direct support to our operational warfighter in both operational requirements and as power projection platforms.
"The Army's new doctrine, 'Multi-Domain Battle' recognizes the contribution that installations make to the war fight and explicitly includes them in the battle space as part of the 'strategic support area'. Because of this, the Army's Installation efforts are focused on readiness and mission accomplishment through commodity reduction and energy and water security improvement. This includes water - Although the Army has made great strides in water conservation thus far, we need to be prepared to make capital investments in water conservation efforts as we move forward.
"With water as a cheap commodity, investment ratios for water conservation projects are low and paybacks are protracted. Still, we need to make those investments not only in the name of return on investments, but in the name of Mission Sustainability/Readiness. Without water, our missions come to a halt in short order."
On the Operational side, the Army's energy and water efforts focus on increasing capability.
"We remove a burden from Soldiers by providing them with more energy and water efficient equipment. We do this by focusing on the energy and associated systems, information, and processes required to train, move and sustain forces and systems for military operations. We provide advantages in the form of extended range and endurance, flexibility and resilience, enhanced mobility and freedom of action," Robinson said.
He gave several examples, such as the Army's Dismounted Maneuver Program, which reduces a Soldiers battery load for a 72 hour period from 9.7 lbs. to a conformal battery in the pocket of their plate carrier, providing a central way to store and use power. This battery can be recharged with a solar panel or other means, allowing for increased mobility and lethality, decreased resupply and operational interruptions.
Another operational example given was the Army's Improved Turbine Engine Program for Blackhawk and Apache helicopters, which significantly reduces fuel consumption and maintenance costs, while also increasing performance at high altitude.
"The Army expects a 13 to 25 percent reduction in fuel use relative to the current Blackhawk and Apache engines, better performance in hotter temperatures and increased altitudes, and a reduction in maintenance costs by 35 percent," Robinson said.
Robinson went on to note, the Army is integrating readiness into its energy and water policies and procedures. He also welcomed Industry input. He told the symposium assembly, "We don't have all the answers and welcome the opportunity to hear from you."
He closed by asking the group to, "Remember, the cheapest energy is the energy you don't have to produce in the first place."
Now in its third year, the Federal Energy Management Program's Energy Exchange offered and open dialogue, to help federal agencies meet and track their energy-related requirements and goals.