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Army Operational Energy

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

What is it?

Operational Energy is the energy required to train, move, and sustain military forces and weapons platforms for military operations. This includes the energy used by tactical power systems, generators, and weapons systems, and the energy associated with energy-related systems, information, and processes.

What has the Army done/is doing?

Energy is a key enabler for all military activities. The operation of every combat vehicle, weapons system, and electronic device in the Army’s inventory depends on access to a reliable supply of energy. Historically, supplies of fuel and water have comprised as much as 80 percent of the weight of ground resupply convoys, and Soldiers regularly carry 15 pounds of batteries for a 72-hour patrol.

The Army’s future force, however, will be expected to operate with a high degree of dispersion in a complex and lethal battlespace, for up to seven days semi-independently from their source of supply, and at the end of long and contested strategic lines of communication.

A future war against a peer or near-peer enemy will require a fundamental reduction in demand for fuel in order to extend operational reach, reduce mission risk, and improve unit readiness.

Reducing demand for operational energy will require both material and non-material solutions. The Army’s budgetary investments – more than $1 billion in 2018 – seek to maximize the effects of operational energy use, striking the right balance between capability and consumption. Army material improvements aim to reduce overall consumption where possible, while still ensuring the combat vehicles have the horsepower and the electrical power necessary to complete their mission.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned?

Energy cuts across each of the Army’s six modernization priorities. As the Army develops the equipment for the future force, providing units with the ability to generate, store, and distribute energy on the battlefield is a key priority. Army scientists and engineers are working to develop new technologies and materials that enable this capability.

Why is this important to the Army?

The entire Army must be energy aware and take action for installation and operational energy security and resilience. Operational energy is a critical enabler of military capability, but the Army’s reliance on liquid fuel has been a constraint on operations and a vulnerability since the adoption of motorized vehicles. Enhancing the Army’s operational energy resilience is critical to mission success.

Through materiel improvements and behavior modification, the Army can reduce demand while maintaining overmatch, improve the effectiveness and efficiency of its combat systems, and improve commanders’ ability to make energy-informed decisions.


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