FORT BRAGG, N.C. (Oct. 3, 2012) - Commanders and command sergeants major from throughout U.S. Army Forces Command heard about operational energy from an expert on the subject during the U.S. Army Forces Command Commander's Forum held at Marshall Hall Tuesday.

The chief of the Army Operational Energy Office, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-4, Col. Paul Roege, explained what the concepts of operational energy means to FORSCOM.

"The reason that we talk about operational energy is because energy is at the heart of a lot of the capabilities that give us the maneuverability, freedom of movement, the ability to communicate, shoot, [and] move -- all of those things that we depend upon to prevail in operations," said Roege.

Roege told the audience energy has been a priority for the Secretary of the Army and the Army Chief of Staff for at least two years, and anticipates the Sergeant Major of the Army will discuss operational energy during the Association of the United States Army annual meeting and exposition, which will be held in Washington D.C. Oct. 22 & 24.

Addressing a misinterpretation regarding operational energy, Roege told the FORSCOM leaders that "energy informed operations" is not only about using less energy; it's about using energy to provide the greatest net operational benefit.

There are three primary challenges in the operational energy strategy:

-SITUATIONAL AWARENESS: Give Soldiers and leaders the capability to manage energy status, resources and performance. Soldiers and leaders need the capability to be situationally aware and to manage the energy.

"If you're going to use energy to the greatest net operational benefit, you need to know what you have, how are you going to use it, and where do you get more," said Roege.

-REDUCE THE ENERGY FOOTPRINT: The second significant challenge is the need to significantly reduce the [energy] footprint. The objective is for Soldiers to remain aware of their impact on the environment and to use resources efficiently, but not necessarily to scrimp.

-IMPLEMENTING, LEVERAGING ENERGY ALTERNATIVES: The last big challenge in the operational energy strategy is to change the current reliance on traditional energy sources and creating an energy use environment that enhances flexibility and resilience by developing alternative energy sources and getting the technology into the hands of Soldiers. For example, using solar panels and ensuring future vehicles use fuel that is not petroleum-based.

"Alternatives become a risk reduction and a flexibility factor, not just something that reduces how much fuel that you use," said Roege.

Since FORSCOM's mission is to prepare conventional forces to provide a sustained flow of trained and ready land power to Combatant Commanders, Roege asked the leaders to think about energy as they prepare Soldiers for a variety of environments and climates, the equipment that they'll need, as well as the training and deployment process so that Soldiers can move quickly and effectively onto their objective.

"You need to have people who understand how they use energy, just like they keep their cell phone going all day. They come up with a [plan] to charge it. It needs to be a natural part of their OPTEMPO (operational tempo) to achieve the energy sorts of capabilities they need for mission command on the move because they're going to be operating in a more mobile, dynamic environment."

The FORSCOM Commanders Forum, held semi-annually, is an opportunity for commanders, senior enlisted leaders, members of the FORSCOM staff and select representatives from other Army commands and organizations to meet and exchange ideas and information to better lead, man, train, equip, maintain and resource FORSCOM units to ensure they are prepared to support geographic combatant commanders, at home and abroad.