The U.S. Army is the largest consumer of energy in the Department of Defense (DoD), spending over a billion dollars a year on facility energy and twice that on operational energy. October is National Energy Action Month – an opportunity to remind Soldiers that the countless missions the Army performs are not possible without resilient, efficient, and affordable sources of energy.
The Army relies on numerous critical energy resources to maintain the high level of mission readiness needed to deploy, fight, and win anytime and anywhere in the world. Assured access to energy, both at installations and in the field, is a vital component enabling the Army’s ability to execute its warfighting mission. Through sustainable energy and water systems that leverage modern technology, the Army can improve energy resilience to advance system capabilities and enable Soldiers to execute their mission reliably, while quickly overcoming unpredicted disruptions.
Advances to operational energy technology are great examples of how the Army is moving capabilities forward, giving “Soldier Power” a more literal meaning. The conformable wearable battery, a portable power unit that tucks into the tactical vest and conforms to the body, provides enough power for a three-day mission, allowing Soldiers to navigate, communicate, and designate targets. The forthcoming introduction of small expeditionary power sources will provide warfighters an additional energy source for equipment that requires less than five kilowatts. These portable generator sets will expand the ability to power many essential utilities and equipment, including maintenance tent lights, weapon and missile systems, mobile kitchen trailers, and battery charging.
Moreover, the Army has been taking steps to modernize its family of vehicles with modern energy solutions that increase capabilities for Soldiers on the battlefield. For example, the Infantry Carrier Vehicle Stryker and Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) platforms have been outfitted to provide greater electric generation outputs to meet the ever-increasing demand for vehicle internal power and increase add-on capabilities. Additionally, the Bradley Fighting Vehicle and M1 Abrams main battle tank have been upgraded with electrical generation and auxiliary power units that help reduce fuel consumption. A commercial off-the-shelf powertrain for the JLTV will increase mobility and provide onboard electric power to meet equipment add-on demands and provide 10 kilowatts of exportable power.
These innovations greatly increase our capabilities in the field. The Army continues work to make all our energy resources more resilient, efficient, and affordable. Increasing the efficiency and affordability of our energy and water infrastructure will allow the Army to better allocate resources to address priorities. Through efforts to lower costs and increase efficiency of energy and water infrastructure, such as the adoption of solar powered equipment and the reduction of bulk fuel and water positioning, the Army can make major advances to increase effectiveness while decreasing top lines. Several lines of effort are in place to accomplish this goal, including hybrid power for both tactical and non-tactical vehicles, and the adoption of multi-fuel technology in any fuel burning device, such as engines, boilers, and heaters.
The importance of modern reliable and resilient systems cannot be understated, but optimized energy usage on the part of individuals is also incredibly important. Energy conservation to help reduce the demand and strain on our systems creates flexibility and resilience while lowering reliance upon external sources. Actions can be taken every day in support of this mission. A few easy examples include: turning off the lights when you leave a room; using LED lights where possible and natural light during the day; adjusting the air conditioning or heating when you aren’t home; utilizing surge protectors to help eliminate unnecessary energy use; properly sealing windows to increase the effectiveness of air conditioning and heating; and reducing water usage. Taking steps to accomplish any of these can help support mission readiness and provide the Army the energy it needs when it needs it.
It is important for all of us, no matter where we serve, to practice responsible energy usage, reduce consumption, and promote energy awareness to ensure the U.S. Army continues to have the power to win.
The Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-4, is the Army’s headquarters staff in charge of logistics. The G-4 develops, implements and oversees Army logistics policy, plans, and programming to enable the Army to maintain the highest possible level of logistics readiness. For more information, please visit www.army.mil/G-4 and connect with us on Facebook.