Military spending vs. energy security: U.S. tactics and Chinese strategy

Few readers of Washington-based Elizabeth McCowan’s article, entitled “Military versus Climate Security: U.S. and China Worlds Apart,” (Reuters, 11 Jan 11) would fail to disagree with this combative stark title. The main tenet of her work shows how the U.S. is failing to realise the importance of balancing defence spending with a strategic view to guaranteeing sustainable energy reserves and technologies by spending $41 on defence to every $1 spent on sustainable energy in 2010. The Chinese are spending 15 percent of the U.S. on their military and investing twice as much on clean energy technology; a situation which illustrates that the land of Sun Tsu still leads the world in strategic philosophy. But are the Americans and her gas-guzzling allies ready to re-adjust their stance on energy security? For the U.S. it would mean a $100 billion-dollar slice out of the annual defence budget; something a Republican dominated Congress won’t be contemplating anytime soon. When North America burns 44 barrels of oil per capita per annum to the EU’s 22; the clock is ticking surely on the continent’s energy security and long term economic viability.

This subject cuts to the heart of the military sustainment issue; which here in Canada is shrouded in mystery – can anyone say just how much the real cost of a litre of aviation fuel or diesel is to the CF operating in Afghanistan? The true cost of fuel convoys will probably never be made public but we do know this logistics Achilles’ Heel has already cost a large number of civilian drivers their lives as insurgents and terrorists target slow moving and cumbersome lines of vehicles. Given the awakening that is beginning in the USN over its fuel policy and corporate approach to sustainable energy; shouldn’t we try to do the same; lest of course we don’t need to bother in the Land of the Oil Sands and the oil-rich Waters of Newfoundland? I’d be very interested to hear from our readership their thoughts on McCowan’s article.

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