Army transforms for future sustainability of Soldiers, installations

| October 20, 2011 | 0 Comments

Rob McIlvaine
Army News Service

WASHINGTON — To ready itself for the future, the Army is transforming installations and housing, as well as its use of fuel, water and energy.

The Army’s focus on energy is changing, and people are now realizing they have a stake in contributing to the success of the Army, said Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, during a panel discussion at the 2011 Association of the U.S. Army’s Annual Meeting and Exposition, here, Oct. 12.

Hammack’s office develops Army energy use management programs.

“This (personal stake) is certainly apparent in theater, where if we reduce the amount of energy we use, this means fewer convoys, and fewer convoys means fewer casualties, so it has a direct impact on the Soldier,” she said.

Hammack also said that with budget tightening, better management of energy use on military installations stateside means freeing up money to do other things.

Energy security also plays a role in managing how the Army uses energy on its installations, she said. If the civilian power grid goes out on an Army installation, the Army can make enough of its own energy to sustain the mission there. Not being able to do so presents a security vulnerability, so the Army is looking at renewable energy sources to prevent such vulnerabilities.

“We have an energy initiative task force that was recently stood up to help bring renewable energy onto our bases,” Hammack said. “We’re working with (the) private sector to bring about $7 billion worth of investment (in energy projects) on Army bases, so if power goes out, the base is able to function.

“We have to manage the water that we use and that we re-use, and inject it back into the local aquifers, so that we’re not depleting clean water reservoirs, because right now, 98 percent of the water on this planet is nonpotable,” Hammack explained.

The goal is noble and green, she added, but more importantly, it helps the Army and it helps the warfighter.

“Only two percent (of the world’s water) is fresh water and of that two percent, only one percent is easily accessible,” Hammack said. “So, if we don’t appropriately manage our water resources, that is going to be a restriction on us, and a restriction on our ability to perform our primary mission.”

Additionally, in operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, water must often be transported by convoy, and those convoys put Soldiers’ lives at risk. More efficient use of water, Hammack said, means less usage overall, fewer convoys and fewer lives lost.


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Category: Army News Service, News

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