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Energy & Climate Change 

Defense Must Measure True Cost of Fuel, Says Acquisition Chief 


By Sandra I. Erwin 

Weapon buying decisions in the future will take into account how much it will cost to provide fuel for their operations, said the Pentagon’s acquisitions chief.

The notion that the Pentagon should select weapons systems based on their fuel efficiency is not new, but has not yet taken hold in the acquisition process. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have in recent years changed the way the Pentagon regards fuel use on the battlefield. It’s not just about buying and transporting the fuel but also delivering it in dangerous conditions, aboard convoys that are vulnerable to roadside bombs. That means the Pentagon must factor the additional transportation and security costs associated with each weapon system, said Ashton Carter, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics. “We must measure the fully burdened cost of energy,” Carter said at a Washington, D.C., news conference on energy issues hosted by CNA Analysis & Solutions.

A gallon of fuel may be $2 in the United States but the actual cost for the U.S. military in Afghanistan is $13. To deliver a gallon of fuel by aerial tanker costs $42, Carter said.

Carter, who has only been on the job two months, said he was working to better understand the Defense Department’s responsibilities in the energy arena.                      
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