Tuesday House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (WA-9) joined Lieutenant General John Castellaw (USMC, ret.) on a press conference call to discuss the energy provisions in the House of Representatives’ Defense Authorization and to urge the Senate to support the Department of Defense’s energy innovation programs.
Last week, the House passed the National Defense Authorization Act which included provisions that would chain the military to oil by making it all but impossible for the Department of Defense to buy clean fuels.
On the call, Lt. Gen. John Castellaw said, “Our dependence on oil creates strategic operational and tactical risk for our service men and women. It also makes our military subject to price and supply shocks. Moving away from oil reduces that risk and ensures we remain the most capable and effective fighting force on the planet. And that is what this is all about. This is not about politics or saving the polar bears. It is about being effective as a fighting force. I am proud to be a part of Operation Free, which is made up of a number of veterans, old and new, who believe in this idea. We all share a common bond in that we have defended America and we want to see her remain secure and safe. To that end, we advocate for a reduction in the vulnerability that a dependence on oil poses. The military is leading the way to achieve this goal and we should support it.”
Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) explained how the provisions passed in the House Defense Authorization Bill threaten to undercut our military’s strategy to keep America safe with clean, renewable energy. He said, “These amendments were also added last year in the House and we were able to strip it out in conference but these are important energy issues and they aren’t getting enough attention this time. One provision in particular says that you can’t use alternative energy if it is more expensive than using traditional sources, but that is a short term look at a long term problem. The reason it is important for us to be investing in energy efficiencies and alternative fuels is that we are too dependent on oil and the price of oil is going up. The Department of Defense spends more money on energy than anyone else in the U.S. so they need alternatives, and you aren’t going to get alternatives unless you are going to take some time to develop them. Both of the provisions passed last week are direct blows to a sensible energy policy for the country as well as the Department of Defense and we are simply trying to raise awareness for folks that we need to reverse these in the senate and in conference.”
Operation Free is a national coalition of US military veterans working to send the message that America’s security relies on ending our addiction to oil and establishing clean, renewable sources of energy. Operation Free is a campaign of the Truman National Security Project.