Operational Energy (OE) is the energy and associated systems, information and processes required to train, move and sustain forces and systems for military operations. Army operational energy is a critical enabler for the range of military operational capabilities from the individual Soldier to strategic levels. Operational energy performance drives operational effectiveness through mobility, agility, flexibility, resilience and sustainability. It is an essential resource for supporting operational capabilities and performance. The Army OE strategy is to use energy to our greatest benefit through resilient capabilities and energy-informed operations. To be successful, OE strategies must be embedded into planning, acquisition, training, behaviors, and execution.
The Army has identified the energy-related capabilities needed in the operational force and is now embedding changes to energy doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership, personnel and facilities across the Army operational enterprise. In the future, the Army will equip and train all deploying formations with advanced power-management solutions and train leaders and Soldiers in their impact and application. These solutions are designed to extend a unit's range, endurance and flexibility, and incorporate OE into the way we think about operations. Simultaneously, The Army has improved its operational performance and reduced the amount of resources needed to secure fuel convoys by fielding currently available systems such as efficient shelters to reduce demand, deployable solar panels for an alternative power source, and tactical power microgrids to improve power distribution efficiency. The Army successfully deployed two Brigade Combat Teams with such equipment in 2012 and is deploying six in 2013.
Contingency Bases (CBs) are evolving locations that support military operations by deployed units and provide the necessary support and services for sustained operations. While not permanent bases or installations per se, the longer the duration of the supported operation, the more they require facilities similar to permanent/enduring bases and installations (e.g., enhanced infrastructure). Improving efficiency and reliability at CBs represents a great opportunity to increase operational effectiveness by improving mission continuity and reducing the need to divert manpower to deliver fuel, and to operate, maintain and respond to outages in energy systems.
The Army has several strategic initiatives to address the CB camp design, construction and operational needs. The initiatives include policy development for contingency bases, synchronizing CB efforts within the army, optimizing capabilities for CBs and integrating strategic planning for Joint participation across. Optimizing CB capabilities involves developing strategies for reducing energy consumption, minimizing the use of natural resources, reducing waste, and improving efficiency of operations at the least cost to Army and DoD. The Army has successfully deployed a rage of CB solutions including: fuel management, smart micro grids, renewable energy sources, more efficient generators, onsite water production, and insulated shelters.