If today’s – and tomorrow’s – Army is to retain its tactical edge, its installations must make the best possible use of all available resources.
That was the message of AUSA’s Contemporary Military Forum on resilient Army installations convened at the Association’s 2015 Annual Meeting and Exposition.
As lead speaker, Katherine Hammack noted, "Resilient installations empower the Army."
Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army (installations, energy and environment), introduced the Army’s energy security and sustainability strategy (ES2), a five-point plan designed to inform decisions, optimize use, assure access, build resiliency and drive innovation.
She noted that much like today’s warfare challenges, Army installations are facing a variety of unknown entities in locales, from deserts to coastlines to forests, and the challenges are intensified by ongoing financial constraints.
Climate change is perhaps the greatest challenge facing installations.
"We are not debating whether climate change exists," Hammack said. "It is affecting us and we are dealing with it."
"ES2 is a force readiness issue," said panelist Lt. Gen. David D. Halverson.
Adding, "Commands must find opportunities to conserve energy, and industry must help make the Army more energy secure at a lower cost while meeting federal mandates and increasing unit readiness."
Halverson, the assistant chief of staff for installation management and commanding general of the Army’s Installation Management Command, noted that ES2 demands a holistic approach if the Army’s installations are to remain resilient.
"We have seen a four-fold increase in power interruptions on our Army installations in the last ten years," Halverson said.
Adding, "This is a social issue, and it’s success depends on a total focus of everyone within all commands."
"We must ask ourselves: ‘What do we want to look like, in terms of energy,’ in 10 or 15 years," said panelist Jud W. Virden, associate laboratory director for energy and enviornment, Pacific National Laboratory.
One place to begin the status quo, according to panelist Maureen Ehrenberg, international director, integrated facilities management chair, IFM Global Specialty Board.
"We have to break the mold for the maintenace of our resources," she said.
"Climate preparedness increases installation resilience," said panelist Kathleen White, senior lead for global and climate change, Army Corps of Engineers’ U.S. Institute for Water Resources.
Among the Corps of Engineers’ lessons learned, she noted: Regional effects vary; observed and projected climate changes impact Army missions and operations; and climate is changing and will continue to change.
"We must embrace the uncertainties of climate change," she said.