The United States Military relies heavily on fossil fuels to operate and execute its missions, creating a vulnerability that our enemies are keenly aware of. In fact, Osama Bin Laden once said, "[Oil] is the umbilical cord and lifeline of the crusader community… Focus your operations on oil, especially in Iraq and the Gulf area, since this will cause them to die off." While crudely stated, the comment reveals an undeniable threat to our national security.

To address this significant national security issue, on behalf of Representative Gabrielle Giffords, House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith introduced the Department of Defense Energy Security Act of 2011.  The bill is designed to move the Department of Defense forward on energy security by reducing its dependence on fossil fuels.

“Representative Giffords has been a leader on this issue and it is an honor to introduce this important piece of legislation on her behalf,” said Ranking Member Smith. “Since joining the House Armed Services Committee, Representative Giffords has understood that our military’s overreliance on fossil fuels represents one of our great vulnerabilities and she has worked tirelessly to address this shortfall. While she has been successful in including a number of proposals in the committee’s annual defense authorization bill in the past, this legislation represents a comprehensive approach. I applaud her for her hard work and dedication to this issue.”

“Our enemies are critically aware of our reliance on oil, and they are using it to their advantage,” the Congresswoman said at a press conference last year to introduce a similar piece of legislation. “Instead of fighting the enemy, thousands of service members are dedicated to securing supply lines so that fuel can reach forward operating bases and far-reaching outposts.” 

The Department of Defense Energy Security Act of 2011 (DODESA), developed by the office of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Sen. Mark Udall, builds on the DOD’s efforts and systemically addresses DOD energy security.

DODESA decreases the consumption of petroleum by: 

·         Creating a Joint Contingency Base Resource Security Pilot Project to coordinate technology development across the services.

·         Studying the integration of high-efficiency propulsion systems into tactical vehicles.

·         Designating a DOD executive agent for alternative fuel development.

·         Extending long-term contracting authority for the procurement of alternative fuels.

·         Increasing the procurement of electric, hybrid and high efficiency non-tactical vehicles.

DODESA reduces our reliance on the grid by:

·         Funding the Installation Energy Test Bed Initiative.

·         Enhancing energy-management and monitoring practices.

·         Creating a plan for development of renewable projects and defining renewable electricity standards.

·         Robustly funding the Energy Conservation Investment Program, which retrofits our oldest buildings with smart lighting, insulated windows and efficient climate control systems.

·         Adopting enhanced energy-efficiency standards for military buildings.

·         Studying the energy security of renewable development and the societal impacts associated with enhanced energy security on military installations.

In order to prevent any degradation in our military’s ability to defeat our enemies, DODESA includes exemptions for fuel use in major combat operations and permits the Secretary of Defense to waive any requirements that hamper their ability to accomplish their mission or maintain our national security.

For additional information on DODESA visit
Congresswoman Giffords website.