recommended reading

Army officials advocate energy networks to help soldiers refuel on the go

The Defense Department needs a policy that will motivate troops to build scalable energy networks so they can find places to refuel on the fly, Army officials said on Monday.

If achieved, such an arrangement would allow soldiers to create ad hoc communications networks and locate energy hot spots for recharging batteries wirelessly, without lugging generators. For example, an approaching ground vehicle could act as a generator for a soldier's battery, and, reciprocally, a nearby base camp could supply electrical energy to refuel the vehicle.

"The fact is that energy is what enables us to be decisive on the battlefield," said Col. Paul E. Roege, special assistant to the energy director at the Army Capabilities Integration Center. His comments came during a conversation with researchers, industry representatives and other federal officials hosted at the Brookings Institution.

Roege imagines the day when military leaders can tap any available fuel or battery for heating, cooling, light or even weapons to take out an adversary. But participants in the discussion noted the Defense Department lacks policies and a business case to turn this vision into a reality.

"We do need the policy," Roege responded. "We need the drivers to get people to consider energy networks. . . . The challenge becomes -- How do you come up with policies? You need outcome based policy, not prescriptive policies," such as failed attempts by other groups to ban water bottles and other environmental hazards.

Defense missed a December 2010 deadline for submitting to Congress a departmentwide operational energy strategy for reducing fuel consumption. During Monday's talk, officials in the office of Sharon Burke, Defense assistant secretary for operational energy plans and programs, said the comprehensive strategy is coming, but declined to specify a time frame.

An April 2010 Army Capabilities Integration Center white paper offering a 20-year outlook for power and energy resources stated, "By providing a capability to seamlessly connect and disconnect, import or export power, we would dramatically improve operating flexibility."

On Monday, Roege offered the example of wireless energy transfer, where soldiers could hook up machinery to an energy hot spot on a base camp for refueling. While the concept might seem "pretty far out" to some people, he said engineers already have demonstrated how to power an unmanned aerial vehicle with a laser.

"Most of the components already exist," Roege said. "What we need to do is change our thinking to advance in this direction."

He added that energy storage is key to creating energy distribution networks.

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.