Energy Security and Energy Independence Saves Lives

The following post is by Thomas Hicks, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Energy

The Arleigh Burke-class Destroyer USS Cole (DDG 67) awaits transport on the Motor Vessel Blue Marlin after it was attacked in Aden Harbor, Yemen on October 12, 2000.

The Arleigh Burke-class Destroyer USS Cole (DDG 67) awaits transport on the Motor Vessel Blue Marlin after it was attacked in Aden Harbor, Yemen on October 12, 2000.

At the 2010 Navy Energy Forum , Rear Admiral Philip Cullom, Director Task Force Energy, reminded us of the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the USS Cole.  The attack occurred while she was waiting to be refueled with foreign petroleum in the Yemeni port of Aden.  This is an essential point to make as we in the Department of the Navy (DON) continue to strive for energy independence.  Our dependence on foreign nations for petroleum puts our Sailors and Marines lives at risk.  Further, this dependency negatively impacts our national security, our economy, and our environment.

So often we categorize saving energy as the ‘hip’ thing to do, but we need to realize the bigger picture.   Don’t be misled, turning lights off and putting your computer screen on power save makes a difference; conserving energy reduces the amount of fuel we must purchase, transport, store and protect to achieve our mission.  Ultimately, the DON emphasis on energy security and energy independence is a life saving obligation.

You may note the DON is not shy about publicizing its energy accomplishments. Last spring, we flew the Green Hornet, an F/A -18, on biofuel. Currently, India Co., 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines is using solar power for general functioning on deployment in Afghanistan.  This month in a test program, a Riverine Command Boat was powered on alternative fuel made with algae.  These initiatives are innovative and exciting. However making the link to understand why it is our duty to care about energy is our motivation; it is a livelihood issue.

Our Chairman of the, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mullen put it simply: “We cannot think about energy after we get there – wherever there may be.”    It’s our obligation to lead through innovation and make energy efficiency a part of our culture; these actions make us even better protectors of our great Nation.  Get on board, do your part to support the  Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus’ energy goals to improve energy security and increase energy independence.  With this, we save lives.