Nope. We are not going to be attacked by hostile plant food, no matter what some greenie has been smoking. Nor does the nation need defending from bats and birds by installing aerial cuisinarts to mince them on the wing. What the military needs is a well-developed domestic energy supply and that means drilling, fracking and mining the abundant resources available close at hand. It does not include pond scum or any other variety of “biofuel” and it certainly doesn’t include waiting for the wind to fill the navy’s sails or the sun to shine for the army to fight their tanks.
The military’s FY2013 budget is playing out to be a hot-bed of debate over the role of government in supporting clean energy innovation.Both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate Armed Services Committee passed Department of Defense (DOD) budgets that bans the department from developing or purchasing advanced alternative energy fuels that cost more than traditional fossil fuels. While most of the resulting media focus has been on weighing the possible advantages associated with biofuel use relative to its cost, too little attention has been paid to the important role the DOD can play as a technology-first adopter.
The ban came about in large part due to controversy over the U.S. Navy’s investments in advanced biofuel RD&D, which ITIF has previously covered. The Navy’s efforts are primarily centered on making the service less vulnerable to oil price fluctuations and potential disruptions in oil supplies, which also falls under the DOD’s broader goal of developing more energy efficient, non-fossil-fuel fuels and technologies in order to increase war capabilities. As Navy Secretary Ray Mabus claimed last year, the Navy is pursuing alternative energy sources “primarily for one reason: it makes us better warfighters.” Nevertheless, as biofuels have been procured by the Navy at prices significantly higher than regular fuel, cost has been the primary concern of policy critics.
“In a tough budget climate for the Defense Department, we need every dollar to protect our troops on the battlefield with energy technologies that reduce fuel demand and save lives,” Senator John McCain commented on the Senate Armed Service Committee vote. “Spending $26 per gallon of biofuel is not consistent with that goal.”