The Washington Post

CAP’s Dan Weiss: House threatens DoD’s clean energy progress

In a report released today, Daniel J. Weiss of the Center for American Progress suggests that although the Department of Defense has made significant progress in moving away from its sole dependence on fossil fuels, the House Armed Service Committee’s National Defense Authorization Act, H.R. 1540, would severely undercut these efforts.

Weiss argues that Section 844 of the NDAA would permit the military to use alternative fuels that actually produce more pollution than conventional fuels--a move that exacerbates global warming and risks U.S. security, according to Weiss.

As for the commitment the Armed Services have made:

The Navy is now working to make its goals a reality. Last year the Navy tested an F/A-18 fighter jet on a biofuels blend at supersonic speeds, and since then it has successfully tested helicopters and combat boats. The USS Makin Island also employs a hybrid electric drive that cuts fossil-fuel use. It will reduce the ship’s lifetime fuel costs by at least $250 million at today’s prices.

The Air Force consumes the most energy of any of the services, and uses more than 2 billion gallons of aviation fuel each year. It, too, has committed to increase its use of cleaner fuels so that by 2016 it would “acquire 50% of domestic aviation fuel requirements via an alternative fuel blend.” It is “testing and certifying alternative aviation fuels to help improve energy security posture by providing domestic alternatives to foreign oil.” The Air Force reports that it is “on track to certify fleet on synthetic fuel blend by early 2011.”


The Army uses less energy than the Navy or Air Force—only one-fifth of the energy consumed by the Department of Defense. It is focusing on using more fuel-efficient vehicles as well as exploring clean alternative fuels.

H.R. 1540 is up for debate in the House over the next several days.

Read the full analysis of “The House Wants to Slow the Military’s Clean Energy March

Allen McDuffee writes about politics and policy and covered think tanks for The Washington Post from 2011 to 2013. He freelances and hosts a podcast at and is currently working on a book about the influence of think tanks in Washington.

Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read

Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Video curated for you.