On July 25/06 Al-Anbar commander and U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Richard Zilmer submitted an MNF-W priority 1 request. It pointed to the hazards inherent in American supply lines, and noted that many of the supply convoys on Iraq’s roads (up to 70%, by some reports) were carrying fuel. Much of that fuel wasn’t even for vehicles, but for diesel generators used to generate power at US bases. That is still true, and Afghanistan has even more daunting logistics. By some estimates, shipping each gallon of fuel to Afghanistan requires 7 gallons of fuel for transport.
A number of Pentagon projects use alternative energy at various installations, but Zilmer’s request is believed to have been the first formal request from a front-line commander. Not to mention the first formal request that acknowledges the security dimension of alternative energy sources, in response to the growth of “systempunkt” terrorism and the non-linear battlefield. It has not been the last.
- The Need on the Ground
- Options and Considerations
- Contracts and Key Developments [updated]
- Additional Readings