The US Air Force is the largest consumer of energy in the federal government, spending 9 billion in 2008 to fuel aircraft and ground vehicles as well as provide energy to installations.1 In that same year, the Air Force s fuel bill of 7 billion amounted to more than half of the US government s total fuel cost.2 Because of the critical and central role that energy plays in completion of the Air Force’s mission, the secretary of the Air Force has developed an Air Force energy plan supported by three pillars Reduce Demand, Increase Supply, and Culture Change and guided by the energy vision Make Energy a Consideration in All We Do (fig. 1). In response to the Air Force s energy program and vision, Air Force Institute of Technology AFIT researchers are helping realize the first two pillars by developing a new academic specialization in alternative energy, designing hybrid-electric remotely piloted aircraft RPA, testing synthetic fuels, creating a new course of study concentrating on managing fuels distribution, and conducting research on the storage, management, and distribution of fuel. The third pillar, Culture Change, lies outside the scope of this article. Given the success of the academic programs and promising research results, the Air Force should continue to expand energy-related curricula and research at AFIT. Increased support would allow establishment of an energy-focused research center at AFIT that could help the Air Force tackle its energy-related challenges.
Air and Space Power Journal
Harmon, F. D., Branam, R., & Sandlin, D. (2011). Achieving the Air Force’s Energy Vision. Air and Space Power Journal, 25(2), 34-40.