Report links national security to energy independence

A report released today links national security to energy independence and says the U.S. Department of Defense stands the best chance of guiding development of alternative sources of power and defusing the growing threat caused by relying on other countries for fuel.

"America's current energy posture undermines our economic security and constitutes a serious and urgent threat to our national security," said officials of CNA, a not-for-profit research and analysis firm based in Alexandria, Va. that released the report.

The Defense Department is uniquely positioned to spur clean energy innovation "because of its size, the considerable amount of energy it consumes and its extensive experience in technological innovation," says the report, issued by CNA's Military Advisory Board. "DoD is in a position to help drive this change -- for itself and the nation as a whole."

CNA says the board is made up of 15 top-ranking admirals and generals.

The report, Powering America's Economy: Energy Innovation at the Crossroads of National Security, says that without a strong economy, the United States has neither a strong defense, nor effective international influence.

"We need to remain competitive in the world as we move toward a future of green, sustainable energy," said Gen. Charles F. "Chuck" Wald, USAF (Ret.), in a statement. "The biggest motivation to do it is national security."

The report draws similarities of the race to get a man into space back in the 1960s between the U.S. and USSR. It lists China, Spain, Germany and even the United Arab Emirates as pushing forward with greater gusto and success than the United States in the realm of green energy innovation. Failure to develop its own technology would again require the U.S. to depend on foreign nations to meet future energy needs, the report says.

U.S. military might could eliminate that concern. "Numerous widely adopted technologies, including the jet engine, gas turbines, solid-state electronics, and the Internet were pioneered by the United States military," the report said.

The report also said the Defense Department should partner with the U.S. Department of Energy for that agency's "robust research and development capability for energy technologies and vast knowledge base."

Gen. Gordon Sullivan (Ret.), chairman of CNA's Military Advisory Board, said, "The DoD-DoE partnership, which has been successful in the past, could be instrumental in the move away from fossil fuels if there is a willingness to empower this team to seek clean, renewable, and economical sources of power for domestic use."

The report said the U.S. government "should take bold and aggressive action to support clean energy technology innovation and significantly decrease the nation's dependence on fossil fuels."

The CNA Military Advisory Board also produced the 2007 report "National Security and the Threat of Climate Change" and the 2009 report "Powering America's Defense: Energy and the Risks to National Security." Its roster includes retired 2-, 3- and 4-star flag and general officers from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, National Guard and Reserve. The board includes a former Army Chief of Staff, commanders of U.S. forces in global regions, and leaders in logistics, procurement, research and development, engineering, nuclear energy and ocean management.

The San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization is a nonprofit dedicated to improving our region's quality of life by increasing its production and use of clean and alternative energy. The SJVCEO works with cities and counties and public and private organizations to demonstrate the benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy throughout the eight-county region of the San Joaquin Valley.