WASHINGTON – The U.S. Army plans for a microgrid to be installed on all of its installations by 2035. They also plan to field fully electric tactical vehicles in 2050. They also plan to ensure that all operational and strategic exercises and simulations take into account climate change risks and threats by 2028.
These are just some of the goals that the service has set out in its new climate strategy published February 8.
The climate strategy is important in order to address climate change and the threats it poses. Paul Farnan was the Army’s acting secretary for installations energy, environment and communications and spoke to Defense News on February 7.
The Army’s mission remains unchanged: to fight and win the wars of this nation. However, this strategy is going to increase that capability by increasing the force’s capabilities, he said.
The strategy recognizes that the service must adapt to operate in harsher environments and protect itself from increased global instability.
The strategy stated that climate effects will have a significant impact on Army activities for the foreseeable future. This will result in increased deployments of crisis troops, displacement of individuals and communities, and disruptions to supply chains and logistics. The Army must be prepared for possible consequences, including energy and water shortages, damage to infrastructure, displacement of and disruptions in operations, supply chains and logistics; and the potential for imperiled. [s]Older health due to exposure to airborne irritants such as dust and smoke, disease vectors and extreme temperatures.
The strategy outlines three end-state goals that will help the Army become a resilient and sustainable force on the ground. The first goal is to reduce Army’s net greenhouse gases pollution by 50% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels. The second goal is to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by zero by 2050. The third goal is to account for security implications of climate changes in strategy, planning acquisition, supply chain and programming.
The Army outlines three lines of effort to reach its climate strategy goals.
The first initiative will adapt infrastructure to make them more resilient and sustainable, as well as adapt natural environments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The second line will be focused on increasing operational capabilities while reducing sustainment costs and making the service more resilient in its acquisition and logistic enterprises.
The third line focuses upon preparing a force to operate in a changing climate.
The Army has over 130 installations all around the world. The report stated that installations are a key part of the Army’s efforts to improve its climate response capabilities and to support the people and communities they serve.
The Army plans to have a microgrid installed on every installation by 2035. However, it also wants to have on-site, zero-carbon pollution power generation for critical missions at all installations by 2040. Installations will be 100% carbon-free by 2030.
The strategy also stated that the Army must have a resilient supply of energy and water under all conditions. It also noted recent achievements such as upgrading a water treatment facility at Fort Irwin in California and setting up a 2.1 megawatt solar field at Fort Knox in Kentucky.
The strategy states that the service has completed or begun 950 renewable energy projects to provide power for the Army, and has 25 microgrid projects planned and planned through 2024.
The service plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2032 in all its buildings, but it also aims to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions completely by 2045.
The Army will have an all-electric light-duty, non tactical vehicle fleet on installations by 2027 and an all-electric non-tactical vehicle vehicle fleet by 2030.
The Army increased its hybrid vehicle inventory by almost 3,000 over three years. This has saved the Army an estimated $50 million in fleet cost and cut fossil fuel consumption of more than 13,000,000 gallons per year, as well as greenhouse gas emissions per kilometer by more than 11%.
The strategy stated that the Army will invest in more charging stations than 470 this year.
The document said that the service will include climate change mitigation in land-management decisions and incorporate the most recent climate and environmental science into stationing and construction decisions.
Logistics and acquisition
The strategy acknowledges that the Army deploys with a long, large logistics tail.
The strategy is designed to improve operational capabilities and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The strategy stated that the Army can better position themselves for future conflict by better deploying and staging combat force across the globe, optimizing supply networks and creating flexibility for Defense Industrial Base.
The service will modernize its existing platforms with mature electrification technology. It will first field purpose-built hybrid-drive tactical vehicles in 2035. Next, it will transition to fully electric tactical vehicles in 2050. This will include charging capability to support all-electric fleets.
Strategy pointed out that the Army’s current sustainment demands are largely derived from its tactical vehicle fleet. The service tried to reduce fossil fuel consumption. It demonstrated tactical vehicle electrification kit on some platforms. This resulted in a decrease of fuel consumption of about 25% and an increase in onboard electric output.
According to the strategy, the Army plans to develop a prototype for an electric light reconnaissance vehicle. It is expected to enter testing in September 2023.
The service is also working on integrating hybrid electric technologies into existing and future platforms. Oshkosh recently revealed its hybrid electric version the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle.
Army Futures Command and Army Materiel Command are working together in a Power Transfer Cohort, to develop and test technology that could allow the Army to transition to electric vehicles.
The document stated that the service will use predictive logistic to make faster and more precise decisions. It will also establish policies that standardize contingency bases to reduce field requirements.
The strategy also stated the Army’s desire to reduce operational energy consumption and water usage by 2035 and achieve zero carbon pollution in contingency basing by 2020.
The strategy stated that electric service is a key component in contingency basing. However, the Army’s heavy reliance upon fossil fuels for electricity is hindering it and increasing risk and cost.
The Army and industry are working together on deployable power generation. The Army has already deployed the Advanced Medium Mobile Power Source family generators in 2013.
These generators must be deployed in a microgrid system that is paired with battery storage to maximize their potential, according to the strategy. The technology is available and improving every year. The Army will work to acquire, implement, or help advance this technology.
The Army will buy green construction materials and choose materials that emit less carbon. The strategy also states that the service will analyze all Tier 1 suppliers to determine climate change risks and vulnerabilities by 2025. It will then develop policies and contracts to ensure that the supply chains are resilient by 2028.
The Army Materiel Commands continuous supply chain optimization analysis is just one of many strategic-level initiatives that aim to increase resilience and decrease vulnerability.
The service is also working to implement a revised energy key performance parameter, and pursuing net zero greenhouse gas emissions from all procurements until 2050.
The strategy stated that the Army must train its people and prepare a force capable of operating in a changing climate while also maintaining its ability to win in combat. This requires changes in the Army’s training of its units and headquarters.
The service will begin publishing lessons and best practices on climate change every two years starting in 2024. By 2028, it will also update its instruction programs to include climate change topics.
The Army hopes to increase the number of civilians and soldiers serving in strategic headquarters with advanced credentials on climate change issues by 2035. All Army strategic and operational exercises and simulations that deal with climate change will be included by 2028.
The Army plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2028 in all of its training efforts.
The document stated that the service had begun to integrate climate literacy into training. This effort aims for a better understanding of the Army’s impact on climate change and its influence on the planet.
How to move forward
Farnan stated that the Army Climate Action Plan will be available soon. The strategy details what will happen, but the action plan will show how to do it, Farnan stated.
He said that this is a long-term strategy and we don’t have all the details mapped out yet. However, we are making some room in the future. [five-year budget plan]This is why. There will be climate-specific efforts, but I’d also add that just because they aren’t tagged climate doesn’t mean they don’t apply.
He added that the Army’s ongoing modernization projects will directly affect the climate strategy.
The Army is looking for additional ways to pay for this strategy.
He stated that they were looking beyond appropriated funds to find partnerships.
We have the energy savings performance agreements that we work with the energy companies. They invest in efficiency on our base, and we use the savings for that purpose. These improvements are available without the need to make upfront investments.
He explained that the Army, for instance, will take large tracts of land at bases and lease them out to local utilities or energy services companies to build something like a solar array. The array would be connected to the grid and power the base as well as the local community.
Farnan said it was a win-win.
Jen Judson, a Defense News journalist, is an award-winning journalist who covers land warfare. She has also worked with Politico, Inside Defense, and other publications. She holds a Master of Journalism from Boston University and Bachelor of Arts from Kenyon College.