The Modern Military

The Department of Defense has been leading technologies that are influencing how our military does business and how military contractors and private sector companies are helping.

Now and planning for the future, the Army is ahead of the game. Sample projects from FY2013 budget. For more information on the military, please see Winning Hearts & Minds in this issue of our magazine with the same title.

The Modern Army: Rapid Fielding Initiatives 

The Department has used rapid fielding initiatives to realize near-term operational energy gains at the tactical edge, and continues to address emerging warfighter energy requirements and fuel efficiency needs with both materiel and non-materiel solutions. Initiatives in FY 2013 included: 

  • Operation Dynamo I/II: Safe, efficient, and reliable power equipment to 57 sites. Increased reliability and safety, and reduced logistical demands. In addition, training to ensure application of lessons learned.
  • Army Soldier Power: Reduce soldier load to increase mobility and endurance for dismounted operations. Equipment includes the power management, integrated data systems, wearable batteries, and modular universal battery chargers.
  • Contingency Base Demand Data Collection: Collection of detailed electrical power demand data at contingency bases in Afghanistan. Tasked with improving power system designs, inform and validate base camp models, and increase accuracy in power demand predictions. 
  • Army’s Rapid Equipping Force: Energy assessment to assist Special Operations Forces experiencing significant power, water, and fuel supply constraints. Integrate with host nation electrical and fuel generator power sources, and use renewable power generation and energy storage to reduce fuel consumption and dependency on host nation services. 
  • Air Force Mission Index Flying: Onboard mission indexing system allowing strategic airlift and tanker air-crew to optimize fuel consumption and other flying operations. Business case analysis savings of $7.7M in O&M fuel costs in FY2013.
  • Mobility Air Forces Cost Avoidance Tankering: System enabled ‘tankering,’ or the ferrying of additional lower cost fuel from a base outside Afghanistan for use on follow-on mission legs in lieu of buying higher cost fuel in Afghanistan. Operational support for this effort is resulting in millions of dollars in cost avoidance across DoD energy accounts. 
  • Naval Aviation Energy Conservation Program: Air ENCON promotes fuel conservation including creating a more efficient F-18 in-flight refueling plan, reducing tanker loiter time for the carrier air wing, and truck refueling for fixed wing aircraft by shutting aircraft down to refuel using trucks vice refueling. 
  • Navy Shipboard Energy Efficient Technologies: Increase energy performance, including energy dashboard that provides real-time ship-wide monitoring, computing the power use and operating conditions of ship systems; stern flaps that saved enough fuel to power the equivalent of five additional steaming days per year; and optimizing air/fuel mixture to improve boiler efficiency, adding three extra steaming days per year. 
  • Replenishment at Sea Planner: A software tool that optimizes underway resupply of Navy ships, minimizing the distances combat support ships and combatants must travel to conduct underway replenishment. 
  • USMC Experimental Forward Operating Base: Annual demonstration that brings together energy stakeholders from across the Marine Corps and DoD to evaluate and accelerate deployment of commercial technologies that reduce battlefield energy and water requirements. The latest demonstration in May 2013 focused on hybrid power systems that will redefine how the Marine Corps powers the future force and could yield up to 50 percent fuel savings and up to 80 percent reduced generator run time. 

The Modern Army: the Future

In addition to supporting current operations, the Department continued to integrate operational energy into future force development. Through the promotion of innovation, coordination of alternative fuels activities, partnerships with DOE, and improvements to requirements and acquisition processes, the Department will continue to improve the energy performance of the future force. 

  • Operational Energy Capability Improvement Fund: funded programs on reducing the energy load of expeditionary outposts, generating energy from waste, and collecting data on operational energy use. 15 shelter systems deployed to Kuwait showed a 50% reduction in power consumption. Super Containerized Living Units demonstrated a 54% reduction in energy use while significantly improving living conditions. 
  • Actively encourage the participation of small business and non-traditional innovators in solving broad operational energy problems: Focus on Tactical Microgrid Standards, Energy Efficient Outpost Modeling, Soldier and Small Unit Operational Energy, and Engineered Surfaces and Coatings for Drag Reduction.
  • Alternative Fuel Initiatives: Qualified new alternative fuels from two production processes in 50-50 blends for use in tactical/combat vehicles, tactical generator sets, and other deployable assets. Aim is to form collaborations with public and private sector to catalyze a domestic capability to produce cost-competitive, advanced drop-in renewable fuels at commercial scale. 
  • Cooperation with the Department of Energy: Led to more than 20 joint initiatives. DOE and Army co-funded 38 advanced vehicles projects, including advanced batteries, power electronics, and better lubricants.
  • Operational Energy in Force Development: Across all wargames, operational energy constraints and opportunities gained more visibility in game play, adjudication, and lessons learned. Aim is to better understand how energy demand on the battlefield affects warfighting, and to identify possible changes or trade-offs in future platforms, concepts of operations, and force structure that improves effectiveness, capabilities, and cost.