Congressman Jack Kingston (R-GA) joined Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), and the Office of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) today to announce the formation of the Defense Energy Security Caucus (DESC). The Caucus aims to educate members of Congress and the public on the strategic value of utilizing sustainable energy sources for the U.S. military, highlight and support established and emerging defense energy initiatives, and find solutions to energy challenges facing the Department of Defense (DoD).
"By forming the Defense Energy Security Caucus, Representatives Bartlett, Giffords, Hinchey, and Kingston are continuing the strong leadership the Congress demonstrated when they helped create the DoD Operational Energy office in 2009," said Sharon Burke, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Plans and Programs, who delivered remarks at the DESC kickoff event. "Working together, I believe we can transform the way the Department uses energy, which will improve capabilities for our warfighters, cut costs for American taxpayers, and ultimately save lives."
"I am so happy to have created and co-chair the Defense Energy Security Caucus, which will help inform members of Congress and the public on ways to improve the way our armed forces use energy," said Hinchey. "The Pentagon is the world's largest industrial consumer of oil. For every dollar increase per barrel in oil prices, its fuel costs jump by $130 million and for every 24 fuel convoys needed in Afghanistan and Iraq, one warfighter is killed or injured. If we can make our military more energy efficient and reduce the number of refueling convoys, we won't just save taxpayer dollars while protecting our environment, we'll also save lives."
"Representatives Hinchey, Giffords, Kingston and I have created the Defense Energy Security Caucus so that those of us on the Armed Services, Energy and Commerce, Appropriations and other committees in the Congress can work together to most effectively assist our Armed Forces to succeed in the vital effort to reduce the vulnerabilities from oil for the men and women in our military," said Bartlett. "I am very pleased that our first guest is Sharon Burke because she is the first person to hold her position. It was created by Congress to most effectively lead the Defense Department and assist our military to achieve more fight with less fuel."
"The might of the United States' armed forces is unmatched around the world," said Kingston. From jet fuel to batteries carried in a rucksack, energy is at the heart of that might. With this caucus we hope to increase awareness of and support for energy conservation and efficiency. Doing so will lessen our dependence on foreign sources of energy while saving precious resources and lives."
"Congresswoman Giffords knows that saving fuel saves the lives of American soldiers," said Pia Carusone, chief of staff to Giffords. "That's one reason she has led the way in Congress and introduced the DOD Energy Security Act. The Defense Energy Security Caucus will provide a forum to advance policies to save American lives, save taxpayer money, and make the military a leaner and more lethal fighting force."
The caucus intends to be a forum through which the DoD, the Armed Forces, energy industry, and members of Congress can exchange ideas and give defense energy security policy an additional synergistic platform that will contribute to mission success, protect lives, save money, and safeguard the environment.
Current members of the DESC are Representatives Maurice Hinchey (co-chair), Roscoe Bartlett (co-chair), Jack Kingston (co-chair), the Office of Gabrielle Giffords (co-chair), Earl Blumenauer, Gerry Connolly, Randy Forbes, John Garamendi, Colleen Hanabusa, Jay Inslee, Steve Israel, Adam Kinzinger, Jim Langevin, Mike Turner and Delegate Madelleine Bordallo. The caucus began recruiting members in May and co-chairs were determined soon before. The caucus website can be accessed at http://desc.hinchey.house.gov/.