Below is a blog post about energy security by Michael Aimone, Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Installations and Mission Support, Headquarters U.S. Air Force. In light of the upcoming Earth Day, as well as the overall ongoing news about energy concerns, Mr. Aimone wants to open up a discussion about energy security. Following this blog post, and the interest of readers, we may look for a place to keep the energy discussion going.
“On the Definition of Energy Security” by Mike Aimone
The purpose of this blog post is to open a dialogue on the definition of the term “Energy Security”. Google the term “energy security,” and you’ll get 92 million hits. Say energy security (ES) to five different people, and I bet you’ll get 10 different answers!
Is ES achieved by U.S. Naval oil tanker convoys through the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf? Or the piracy concerns off the horn of Africa? Or possibly the implications of a blockade within the Strait of Malacca? You can see there is a strong tie between National Security and Energy Security.
Some say the current financial debacle is somewhat tied to the high oil prices over the past three years. Some suggest that ES is achieved by energy independence, though others will point out that crude oil prices are fungible in the worldwide economy, and even if the U.S. had significant domestic resources available to meet domestic needs, prices would have risen to the worldwide price standard. That is, there is a strong tie between Economic Security and Energy Security.
I think most people have accepted the fact that global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are climbing, and with that the effect on climate change. Certainly manmade GHGs are rising as the developing nations expand their middle class expansion through industrialization. Imagine a China or India with a greatly expanded automobile sector. That is, there is a strong tie between Environmental Security and Energy Security.
The Office of the Secretary of Defense is working to create an Energy Security definition for the Department of Defense. One working definition is
DoD Facilities energy security encompasses sufficiency, surety, and sustainability. Above all, energy security means having adequate power to conduct critical missions for the duration of that mission (sufficiency).
Secondarily, and leading to sufficiency, is ensuring resilient energy supplies that are accessible when needed (surety). Finally, the energy supplies must present the lowest life cycle cost, while considering all statutory and executive order requirements, as well as the impact to mission, community, and environment (sustainability).
I look forward to hearing your comments about this working definition.
In addition to the comments we’ve received, a reader posed the following question:
Q: Does the OSD interest in the energy security definition stem from Al Shaffer?
A: (from Mike Aimone.) Energy issues, and the interest in the term “energy security” in OSD is
shared by functionally between DDR&E for weapon systems, I&E for installations & ground (non tactical) transportation, and HD&ASA for issues associated with energy systems Critical Infrastructure Protection. All these organizations share common interest in what I am seeking by defining, for the department, the term energy security. Mr. Shaffer is just one of those interested parties, though Mr. Lally in I&E also helped draft the definition on the blog.