Military Goes Green at USS Midway Museum
The best defense against an IED (Improvised Explosive Device)? Don’t be there. If we can take some of those trucks off the road, we can reduce the exposure of the troops to those explosives.
-Colonel Dan Nolan (US Army, Retired; Former Chief of CINC’s Action Group, Founder/CEO of Sabot 6, Inc.)
Colonel Nolan’s primary argument for “greening” the U.S. Military isn’t focused on the improvements that can be made to air quality, the lowered expenses for taxpayers, or the ways it will improve the military’s reputation. The Army veteran acknowledges those benefits but he says that it’s essentially "about saving lives.”
About five years ago, Nolan went into Iraq and Afghanistan and saw that many casualties were coming from convoys that were carrying lots of fuel. 70 percent of the supplies were food and water.“We thought, there’s not a lot we can do about water, but what can we do about fuel?” As the founder and CEO of Sabot 6, Inc., a company focused on recommending energy savings technologies as well as alternative and renewable energy power generation capabilities to the Department of Defense, Nolan has led a number of initiatives – internationally and at domestic bases – to reduce American dependence on fossil fuels. He’s also served as a consultant to elected officials and to current presidential candidate Mitt Romney, helping public leaders to understand energy conservation from a national security perspective. Tuesday night, Nolan will bring his expertise to an audience at the USS Midway as part of an event presented by the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center called “The Military Goes Green.” While it’s easy for Nolan to rattle off statistics and policy decisions related to the quest to reduce the “Carbon Bootprint,” Nolan says that it hasn’t always been the easiest to change mindsets in a community that’s not typically known for Prius cars and Veganism. Sometimes it takes a one-on-one discussion with a leader. “Once I was in a mess hall at Camp Victory (in Iraq) and while I was talking to this Colonel, I pick up a bottle of Gatorade. I ask the Colonel what it cost him. He says, ‘oh, you Washington guys and your dollars and cents’ – not that I even live in Washington—but I say no, ‘What does it cost in blood? What does it cost you in combat power to protect the supply lines coming up here?’ You have to ask them what it really costs in terms of the group’s ability to achieve its mission.”
Nolan explains that 300,000 barrels of oil per day go to power the operational military, making the DoD the single largest consumer of energy in the country. If the DoD can use its buying power to drive the cost down of more environmental solutions, if it invests in wind turbines and solar panels and provides funds for the R & D to improve them, it will lower the cost to other consumers. “The last 10 years, one percent of the population has fought the wars for this country. That one percent can move the country in terms of how they think about energy. We can no longer be dependent on a commodity we can’t control.” To learn more about the measures different branches within the U.S. Military are taking to go green, attend the evening discussion aboard the USS Midway. The event is free but advance registration is required. The Military Goes Green:Cutting Back on Fossil Fuel to Save Lives and Billions of DollarsTuesday, December 6, 20116:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.USS Midway, Hangar Bay One910 North Harbor DriveSan Diego, CA 92101