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Energy vital to fly, fight, win

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- October is Energy Action Month, a time for all of us to think about the importance of energy in our daily lives, the lives of our families and in our ability to accomplish our mission. Our deployed colleagues know how critical energy is as they fly missions to resupply aircraft in the skies, drop barrels of fuel to forward bases and ensure our forward deployed installations have the electricity they need. As some of you know, we project power directly from our installations and without electricity and fuel we can't meet our mission.

In the Air Force and across the Department of Defense, we are in the process of realigning our force to modernize and develop a more capable force, while meeting the budgetary limitations set by Congress. Through this process, we are finding the proper balance between the size of our force structure and readiness. This modern force trades size for quality, while continuing to ensure we are expanding our capabilities.

Energy fits directly into this broader strategy. To protect the security of our nation, we must have assured access to reliable supplies of energy and the ability to protect and deliver enough fuel to meet operational needs.

The theme for Energy Action Month is "I Am Air Force Energy" because we all have a role to play in ensuring energy security and achieving our mission to fly, fight and win in air, space and cyberspace.

Beyond cost, there are risks of sole dependence on traditional energy supplies. Sole dependency exposes us to access and cost problems in the event of natural disasters, accidents, terrorism and political instability. These dependencies add risk to our core mission support functions and can jeopardize effectiveness.

Air Force-wide, you and your civil engineers have reduced facility energy intensity by 21 percent since 2003 by replacing inefficient light fixtures, upgrading windows and doors that are not insulated, installing occupancy sensors and controlling inside temperature set-points. We also have more than 256 solar, wind and other renewable energy projects in operation or under construction at Air Force installations today. This includes the two wind turbines being installed at Cape Cod Air Force Station, Mass., which, when operating, will offset more than 50 percent of the electricity consumed by the Pave PAWS radar. This is a great example of how the 6th Space Warning Squadron identified an environmental opportunity to strengthen energy security, and reduce operating costs of its primary mission.

The 21st Space Wing continues to make extensive improvements in facility heating and air conditioning by recovering the heat used in power production, or the cooling process of our space operations mission to heat buildings and reduce fossil fuel consumption. A highly efficient solar heating system has been installed at the Aquatic Center to heat the water naturally. Also, because of drought conditions at Peterson AFB, the 21st Civil Engineer Squadron has executed several projects to reduce the amount of irrigated land on base as well as advancing the irrigation system to reduce water use for the housing, parks and sports fields on base. It is these "green" activities that save the other "green," all while saving natural resources and maintaining the quality of life on Peterson.

For our vehicle fleets, petroleum fuel use is down 22 percent since 2008 with 22 hybrid electric vehicles in service. This equals $55,000 in fuel savings, while still maintaining the standards for ground fleet mission operations. We all see how volatile the price of gasoline can be when we fill up our own tank. These initiatives save money and give us additional options that further increase our resiliency.

The last piece of our strategy is where each and every one of us across our varied missions play a big role. Energy savings is part of a mindset - the little things matter. Any commander who consumes energy as part of their mission needs to look at energy savings. Ask "what functional changes can we make to save energy?" I challenge you to look deeper into mission operations and find changes that not only save energy, but money.

These examples underline we are not just focused on energy because of a mandate or to meet a goal. Improving resiliency, reducing demand, increasing supply and fostering an energy aware culture are critical to allowing the Air Force greater resiliency to pursue our mission and secure the future of this nation.

The "I Am Air Force Energy" campaign not only tells the stories of progress that our Airmen have made; but also how we live it and breathe it to make a difference.

Remember, YOU are Air Force Energy. Through efforts both big and small, your innovation is key to our ability to achieve our mission and maintain an assured energy advantage in air, space and cyberspace.

Check the Peterson public web site at during October for more energy saving ideas and activities.

Peterson SFB Schriever SFBCheyenne Mountain SFSThule AB New Boston SFS Kaena Point SFS Maui