The Other Operational Power: Electricity on the Battlefield

  • Lieutenant Colonel Derek K. Jansen

The U.S. Army’s propensity to solve tactical problems through advances in high-technology solutions has created an increased requirement for electricity on the battlefield. For example, the largest portion of fuel used by a Stryker Brigade Combat Team in the tactical environment (36%) is used to generate electrical power in support of technology solutions, which is more fuel than used to supply ground vehicles or aviation. Congress, concerned with the strategic vulnerability of fuel supplies, has mandated the Army and other services reduce fuel requirements through efficiencies and the development of alternative energy sources. The U.S. Army has responded by increasing the energy efficiency of systems and platforms but has not addressed the doctrine or training shortfalls, which contribute to the lack of awareness among leaders and Soldiers of how wasted electricity could affect operations, budgets and lives.