ENERGY EFFICIENCY

Pentagon misses deadline for its energy plan

The Pentagon has not yet turned in its formal blueprint for how it plans to shrink its battle zone fuel needs, despite a congressional mandate to do so by late last month.

Once finished, the report will be the Defense Department's first road map for how the Pentagon can reduce the energy required to train, move and sustain its personnel and equipment for military operations. That "operational energy" -- as opposed to the power required to maintain fixed installations -- accounted for about 70 percent of DOD's energy use in 2009.

The plan is being spearheaded by Sharon Burke, the Pentagon's inaugural director of operational energy plans and programs. It was due to Congress on Dec. 21, six months after Burke was confirmed to that nascent office.

Missing that December deadline does not elicit any penalty.

Pentagon spokeswoman Wendy Snyder said that Burke's office has asked Congress for additional time to complete its work and that the report will likely be completed in the next month or so.

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"It is important for us to do this accurately and exhaustively rather than push this through to say we have finished this," she said. "Now that we are doing this, we want to be sure we're being thorough," she said.

The new strategy is supposed to be a "department-wide transformational strategy for operational energy," applying to all the branches of the armed forces. It will include near-term, midterm and long-term goals and also lay out the policies and procedures for how its strategies could be carried out. The plan is expected to include metrics for how to measure energy savings and set down requirements for tracking where energy gets used in the field.

DOD is the federal government's top energy user.

The plan will likely be used as a reference tool for lawmakers considering the fiscal 2012 budget request for DOD.

"We expect [the plan] before or in conjunction with the president's FY12 budget submission to Congress," said Senate Armed Services Committee spokeswoman Tara Andringa in an e-mail.

Burke's office is also tasked with scrutinizing the DOD budget request to certify before it is submitted that energy priorities will be adequately funded for the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force.

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