From Blue Skies to Black Starts

Energy Security and the Department of Defense
US Air Force / Flickr

The second largest buyer of renewable electricity in the country is the U.S. Department of Defense, right behind Google, according to a recent report.  With a $20 billion annual energy bill, the Pentagon has long invested in alternative energy, for reasons that range from statutory targets to saving money.

But recently, the Air Force announced a brand new energy policy: mission assurance. Accounting for more than 50 percent of all defense energy use, the Air Force could be sending an important signal about shifting Pentagon priorities. But what does mission assurance actually mean? Is it making sure aircraft always have enough fuel to fly, or that the grid can be restored if a massive cyber attack were to shut it down (a so-called "black start")?

Join New America and the Pew Charitable Trusts for a conversation with the Secretary of the Air Force, the Honorable Deborah Lee James, as we look at energy and the future of the Air Force. Following Secretary James, an expert panel will discuss how all of the military services work with clean energy companies at military bases in the United States.


The Honorable Deborah Lee James
Secretary of the United States Air Force


The Honorable Miranda Ballentine
Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Air Force for Installations, Environment, and Energy

Michael McGhee
Executive Director, U.S. Army Office of Energy Initiatives

Captain John Kleim (USN, retired)
Deputy Director, U.S. Navy Renewable Energy Program Office

Larry Richardson
CEO, ReEnergy Holdings LLC


Sharon Burke
Senior Advisor, New America
Advisor, Project on National Security, Energy, and Climate, Pew Charitable Trust