Operational Energy - Energy Informed Operations

Thursday February 16, 2012

What is it?

Operational Energy (OE) is the energy and associated systems, information and processes required to train, move and sustain forces and systems for military operations. It is a key element supporting operational capabilities and performance. OE performance does not just mean using less energy; rather, using energy to our greatest benefit through "energy-informed operations."

Why is this important to the Army?

Energy is at the heart of Army capabilities and can enhance or limit strategic reach, endurance and sustainment alternatives. Considering energy up-front in our plans and decisions will strengthen execution and better utilize resources. To be successful, OE strategies must be embedded into planning, acquisition, training, behaviors, and execution.

What has the Army done?

The Army has improved its operational performance and reduced the amount of resources needed to secure fuel convoys by fielding systems such as efficient shelters, deployable solar panels, and tactical power "microgrids." Over the past year, the 1-16 Infantry Battalion improved performance of their small units in mountainous areas of Afghanistan using flexible Soldier power networks with solar recharging capability. The 173rd Infantry Brigade is currently equipping, training, and developing energy-informed tactics, techniques and procedures, in preparation for their next deployment. The Army is developing new solutions in our laboratories and refining them in testbeds such as Fort Bliss, Texas, Fort Devens, Mass., and Kuwait. In November 2011, the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-4 stood up the Army Operational Energy Office with the vision to serve to coordinate and integrate all OE initiatives and actions across the Army.

What is planned for the future?

The Army will soon issue an Initial Capabilities Document that identifies the energy-related capabilities needed in the operational force. We will embed changes to doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership, personnel and facilities across the Army enterprise. The 2012 Army Campaign Plan identifies improving OE performance as a major objective. In the future, the Army will equip and train all deploying formations with advanced power-management solutions and train leaders and Soldiers in their impact and application. These solutions are designed to extend a unit's range, endurance and flexibility, and incorporate OE into the way we think about operations. More technologies are being tested with the Brigade Modernization Command this spring. Those that show military utility will be used to equip our future formations. Everyone member of the Army team plays a role in innovating, learning and advancing Army energy capabilities.

Resources:

STAND-TO!: Army Operational Energy Strategy
Related article: Army Leaders meet to discuss future of operational energy Army.Mil: Army Energy news

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