By MC2 Laurie Dexter, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West Detachment Hawaii
Capt. James Goudreau, acting deputy assistant secretary of the Navy of energy, described energy’s importance to the Navy to hundreds of participants at the 2014 Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit (APCES) held Sept. 16 at the Hawaii Convention Center.
These remarks started the second day of the three-day annual event, which brings together business, technology and policy leaders from all over the globe.
“The Chief of Naval Operations, when he talks about our mission—the Navy’s mission at large—he talked about warfighting first,” said Goudreau.
“He talks about operating forward, and he talks about being ready. We can’t do any single one of those things, never mind the entire package, without addressing how we use energy, without addressing what our value is, what the vulnerabilities are, and how we need to change not only what we buy but how we operate,” Goudreau said.
The United States Department of Defense is responsible for more than 80 percent of all U.S. government fuel consumption, according to a Congressional Research Service report in 2010.
According to Goudreau, saving energy maximizes operation stability and will help build a more capable force to help execute the Navy’s mission every single day.
“We’re the best Navy in the world today because of how we use petroleum, but in order for us to do this in the future, we have to change how we think about it,” said Goudreau.
“We have to change our culture. We have to become more efficient in how we use fuel in every single day operations. We have to buy systems that deliver the required capability but don’t increase other vulnerabilities at the same time.”
Goudreau explained some of the major challenges and vulnerabilities the Navy faces in everyday operations. He discussed how culture change plays a role in easing those challenges.
“The discussion itself is about change,” said Goudreau. “It’s not necessarily about energy, climate, innovation or individual technological component. It’s about how do we recognize the change that’s happening to us and how do we react to that change.”
Goudreau quoted a 1957 speech by Adm. Hyman Rickover, the “father of the nuclear Navy,” warning that the world will someday run out of fossil fuels.
“Fossil fuels resemble capital in the bank. A prudent and responsible parent will use his capital sparingly in order to pass on to his children as much as possible of his inheritance,” Rickover said.
“A selfish and irresponsible parent will squander it in riotous living and care not one whit how his offspring will fare,” he said.
“For too long, the price of oil was $10 per barrel, and we could get it wherever we wanted and whenever we wanted. We treated it like oxygen—you breathe in, you breathe out—it’s always there. That’s not always going to be the case. We have to change how we perceive the value of energy,” Goudreau said.
To learn more about the Navy’s energy goals, visit http://greenfleet.dodlive.mil/energy/