The Pentagon will use $18 million to fund six military programs designed to reduce the energy demand of future expeditionary outposts, Defense Department officials said in a statement today.
The funds will support efforts to develop and rapidly transition energy technologies for the combat force to improve military capabilities, reduce energy-related casualties and lower taxpayer costs, officials said.
Congress provided resources for the programs in the 2012 Omnibus Appropriation Act.
“It’s essential that we continue to develop innovative energy solutions to advance our military missions and use our precious resources wisely,” Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said. “The department is taking the lead on this because saving energy on the battlefield means saving lives and money.”
On the battlefield, fuel can be a tactical and operational vulnerability. In Afghanistan, adversaries often target U.S. fuel supply convoys, putting troop lives and missions at risk and diverting combat forces and dollars to force protection.
“A military force that uses energy more strategically is stronger, today and in the future,” said Sharon E. Burke, assistant secretary of defense for operational energy plans and programs. “As the department reshapes the force to build a more agile, flexible military capable of responding to the full range of future challenges, the work of the six teams funded under this effort will give our troops better energy options on the battlefield.”
The funds will go to DOD-led teams representing the military services and the Energy Department.
DOD and the Small Business Administration will host an information session in March to link small businesses and entrepreneurs to the teams.
“An important objective of this fund is reaching sources of energy innovation new to the department, which are primarily small businesses,” said Andre Gudger, director of the department’s office of small business programs.
“By leveraging small businesses and entrepreneurs to accelerate energy innovation for our warfighters,” he added, “we strengthen our security, modernize our industrial base and promote economic development at the same time.”
Winning teams were chosen from submissions received after call for program proposals in June.
The assistant secretary of defense for operational energy plans and programs, a position established in 2009 to strengthen military operations’ energy security, will administer the funds.