2009 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: Tue, 26 May 2009 10:57:57 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: Re: [CPEO-MEF] ENERGY: New CNA report on Energy Security
Last week I posted the press release for "Powering America's Defense," the powerful new report on climate security from Sherri Wasserman Goodman and CNA's Military Advisory Board. See http://www.cna.org/nationalsecurity/energy/ to download a copy.

The report contains a solid list of findings and recommendations, but I would like to call attention to its strategic perspective:

"The Military Advisory Board calls on the Department of Defense (DoD) to take a leadership role - for government and the nation - in transforming America's energy posture. The DoD is the nation's single largest consumer of energy, and is seriously compromised by the nation's current energy posture. By addressing its own energy security needs, DoD can stimulate the market for new energy technologies and vehicle efficiencies. In policy and technology areas that would benefit the Department's operational capabilities, the Department's historical role as a technological innovator and incubator should be harnessed to benefit the nation as a whole."

I suppose that there are still people in the military who are skeptical. The purpose of the United States military, they feel, is to prepare for and to fight wars. The Generals and Admirals who authored the report by no means reject the Defense Department's war-fighting missions, but clearly they see the military's overall goal as protecting the United States: its land and resources, its people, and its institutions. And in an era when climate change is emerging as the number one threat to the United States, they are willing to rise to the occasion.

I know many people on the other side, who think the U.S. military is too ready to go to war. They believe, as I do, that our preparedness makes it easy for our political leadership to seek military solutions to problems that require more comprehensive approaches. Particularly aware of the legacy of contamination created by the rise of the U.S. military industrial complex, they mistrust any effort to enlist the military in the fight against climate change. That view, too, is shortsighted. As the CNA report demonstrates, there are many from the military-industrial-complex who understand the threat of climate change. It is possible to work with the Defense Department to address climate change while challenging the current wars and other military campaigns.

Nominally, the Department of Energy is responsible for leading the fight for energy security, and nominally the Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for addressing the release of greenhouse gases.

But the Defense Department is the single largest user of energy and emitter of greenhouse gases in the United State. It owns and manages tens of millions of acres. It owns or leases tens (hundreds?) of thousands of housing units. It is among the largest sponsors of scientific research.

With the potential to make a huge difference simply by changing the way it uses and generates energy, the Defense Department is poised to take a leadership role in the battle for climate security. That should encouraged.



Lenny Siegel
Executive Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
a project of the Pacific Studies Center
278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918

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