Air Force Operational Energy

 



 
As modern warfare continues to evolve, the Air Force has renewed its focus on maintaining secure fuel networks and optimizing operations for maximized combat capability. Over the past year, the Air Force Operational Energy office targeted specific initiatives that aim to increase operational efficiency, incorporate modern technology and processes, and improve sustainment. Furthermore, these efforts have an added benefit of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, a critical aspect of the Secretary of Defense’s climate change prioritization.
At this year’s Virtual Air Warfare Symposium, the Air Force Association held a panel on February 23rd with Department of the Air Force senior leaders titled “No Fuel, No Fight: The Future of Warfighting Energy Requirements.” The purpose of the panel was to discuss the inherent vulnerabilities fuel and energy present to troops, and plans to mitigate associated risks, streamline operations, and decrease carbon release as part of the Secretary of Defense’s climate change policy.
Air Force Operational Energy will take a leading role in the AFWERX commercial-military innovation accelerator, Energy Prime, bringing together industry, investor, and government partners to advance the development of a 21st century energy initiative that significantly increases both Air Force and commercial operational efficiency.
In partnership with AFWERX, Air Force Operational Energy has launched an Airmen Powered by Innovation Challenge to solicit ideas on how to optimize aviation fuel for the Air Force, enabling greater combat capability, range, and more efficient operations. The challenge is open to Airmen of all ranks and occupations and is accepting submissions on a rolling basis.
With support from the Operational Energy office, a team of X-Force fellows used advanced data analytics and visualization to create a network flow model to estimate the costs and risks associated with transporting fuel to each location from across the network.

The Air Force seeks to accelerate efficiency

The Air Force seeks to accelerate efficiency

As modern warfare continues to evolve, the Air Force has renewed its focus on maintaining secure fuel networks and optimizing operations for maximized combat capability. Over the past year, the Air Force Operational Energy office targeted specific initiatives that aim to increase operational efficiency, incorporate modern technology and processes, and improve sustainment. Furthermore, these efforts have an added benefit of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, a critical aspect of the Secretary of Defense’s climate change prioritization. Here is a breakdown of our latest accomplishments and how we’re bringing 21st century energy solutions to the Air Force.

Air Force discusses the future of energy efficiency

Energy Efficiency at Air Warfare Symposium

At this year’s Virtual Air Warfare Symposium, the Air Force Association held a panel on February 23rd with Department of the Air Force senior leaders titled “No Fuel, No Fight: The Future of Warfighting Energy Requirements.” The purpose of the panel was to discuss the inherent vulnerabilities fuel and energy present to troops, and plans to mitigate associated risks, streamline operations, and decrease carbon release as part of the Secretary of Defense’s climate change policy.

The panel covered how energy efficiency, from building more resilient installations and reducing the demand of aviation fuel to mitigating the risk to energy supply chains, will play a more significant role in conducting Air Force and joint operations in years to come, and what will be required in government funding and industry investment to maintain military readiness. 

Air Force Energy Helps Lead AFWERX Energy Prime

Energy Prime

Air Force Operational Energy will take a leading role in the AFWERX commercial-military innovation accelerator, Energy Prime, bringing together industry, investor, and government partners to advance the development of a 21st century energy initiative that significantly increases both Air Force and commercial operational efficiency. 

The Energy Prime leadership team, which includes members from AFWERX, Air Force Operational Energy, and the Air Force Warfighting Integration Capability (AFWIC), recently narrowed down its focus to two areas of consideration: Ultra-Efficient Aircraft and Next-Generation Aviation Fuel.

Energy Prime, the first energy-focused Prime, is one of several Prime candidates being considered for further pursuit and funding. There will be multiple research & planning Energy Prime events scheduled throughout 2021 until a Prime initiative is selected.

Department of the Air Force Recognizes Energy Awareness Month

Energy Awareness Month

Every October, the Department of the Air Force recognizes Energy Awareness Month to promote energy resilience and acknowledge the critical role energy plays in mission assurance. As the battlefield grows increasingly complex, supplying power to our forces safely and reliably remains fundamental to our global mission.

The observance theme for 2020 is “Energy Able, Mission Capable.”

Through optimized planning, data-driven technology, strategic wargaming, energy-informed investments and the dedication of Airmen and Space Professionals, the Department of the Air Force is enhancing combat capability and readiness for our aircraft and installations.

Call for Submissions: Energy AFWERX Challenge

Energy AFWERX Challenge

The Department of Defense (DoD) consumes large amounts of operational and facility energy to provide a combat-credible force. In fact, the DoD is one of the largest single consumers of energy globally, and the Air Force is the largest user of fuel energy in the US Government. The way we generate, transmit, store, and use this enormous amount of energy today is both a paramount combat enabler and a potentially crippling vulnerability.

AFWERX is soliciting proposals for six individual challenge topics, each with its own evaluation team. 

The outcomes that we are hoping to achieve from this challenge include:

  • Energy availability when and where needed for mission effectiveness and quality of life
  • More effective warfighting and humanitarian missions less reliant on fossil fuels
  • Increased ability to rapidly respond to humanitarian crises
  • Leveraging all energy sources for military use such as wind, water, nuclear, hydrogen, thermal, etc.
  • Creation of new industries and capabilities inspired by the U.S. DoD
  • Leveraging energy from space

Airmen find solution to battery testing failure

Airmen find solution to battery testing failure

Airmen from Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base, Ohio, and Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, helped revise outdated procedures for testing the condition of aircraft batteries on the KC-135 Stratotanker and C-130 Hercules, preventing the premature disposal and replacement of batteries and avoiding unnecessary equipment costs and maintenance hours.

The batteries serve as the aircraft’s back-up to power essential equipment should engine generators fail. To date, the Air Force C-130 and KC-135 fleets, more than 600 aircraft globally, operate with the batteries.

Calculating risk in the fuel supply chain

Calculating risk in the fuel supply chain

What’s the safest path to transport fuel from a refinery in Texas to storage in California? Does Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, have the pipeline capacity to sustain two weeks of operations after a storage disruption? What risk do cyber-attacks pose at a bulk storage terminal in Louisiana?

X-Force Fellows assigned to our office were tasked to answer these questions (among others) and develop a network flow model to assess possible operational risk to the Air Force’s fuel supply chain.

Optimize aviation fuel? We want your ideas!

Air Force Energy Wants Your Ideas

In partnership with AFWERX, Air Force Operational Energy has launched an Airmen Powered by Innovation Challenge to solicit ideas on how to optimize aviation fuel for the Air Force, enabling greater combat capability, range, and more efficient operations. The challenge is open to Airmen of all ranks and occupations and is accepting submissions on a rolling basis. 

Each submission will be carefully reviewed by subject matter experts to determine possibility of Air Force buy-in and implementation, based on associated costs, benefits, challenges, and potential risks. 

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Mr. Roberto Guerrero
(Biography)
Deputy Assistant Secretary
Operational Energy 

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