Military officials ask Congress to invest more in energy security at bases

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The Pentagon recently asked Congress for special funding to boost energy-grid security at several military installations.

Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine officials met with Senate staffers recently to lay out the Pentagon’s needs for energy-security improvements. Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Energy and Sustainability Richard Kidd said the Army is working to fulfill its energy efficiency and renewable-energy goals, but that more needs to be done to fortify military grids.

Measures to ensure military-installation security may not be the most cost-effective solutions, but Kidd said the goal is security, not frugality.

 "Their return for the country is a ... security return," Kidd said. "What the (Defense Department) gets paid to do is security."

Kidd said the Army needs to make several different investments to achieve that, such as military microgrids with on-site power-generation abilities.

"Congress asks the military to do more for energy security, and all services are doing a great job of incorporating energy security as part of other efforts, such as renewables, or performance contracting or test and evaluation programs," Kidd said. "But very few times are we getting the kind of security that we need to protect against current threats at the scale required to ensure mission success for an entire installation.”

The point Pentagon officials hoped to get across to the Senate is that Congress should look at appropriating funds for military energy security not with a view toward cost-benefit analysis, but instead with the attitude of investing wisely in military capability and homeland security.

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