Monday, April 21, 2008

How does the DOD prepare for energy attacks.

The following is a commentary on the article, "Department of Defense Strategy, Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks"

I am aware that university professors, politicians, professionals, and high ranking military officers alike are invited by the US government to participate in think tanks. These think tanks are sessions where savvy individuals hypothesize about what could happen to the United States and how she might resist attacks. This paper is to generally address the issues in attempts to promote changes. Some of the key areas listed as needed to change are the effectiveness of leadership and actual cultural changes.

The DOD has published a report analyzing some of the key weak points of our nation. The main ones analyzed are oil supply disruptions, electricity disruption resultant from sabotage or cyber attacks, infrastructure failure, and foreign policies.

These areas all have weaknesses that are sometimes hard to determine. Our nation’s oil supplies are constantly under attack. Not just in the Middle East, but in all parts of the world as well. Apparently, there is one oil line in South America that has been attacked over 600 times since 1995. Naturally, oil prospects in the Middle East have to be heavily guarded. Just in 2006, about 156 million gallons of fuel was sent for the US operations in Iraq. Moving these fuels is yet another concern for protection.

The electricity disruption potential is alarming. A loss of four percent of our nation’s transmission systems would cause over half of a city grid’s connectivity to become faulted. The DOD is prepared for temporary power outages. The best UPS systems provide a few days to a week of extra electricity. The main issue is how to prepare for power disruption of up to half a year. Electricity cannot be cheaply stored. At least, the cost of developing that infrastructure is very high. On hand combustible fuels accompanied with generators is one solution to the problem, but again, this would come at a high cost and the need for a widely dispersed fuel reserve.

Foreign energy vulnerabilities include issues such as the Russian and Chinese resistance to US-Iran sanctions. Naturally, the high revenues of oil allow countries to act flippantly in defiance to other nation’s request. This is old news however. Another problem is the highly competitive market of oil. Developing countries are now playing tactics like initiating long term contracts with producing nations to ensure future stability.

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