ARLINGTON, Va. (NNS) -- Senior naval leadership addressed several members of the Department of Defense and academia at the symposium on Climate and Energy Imperatives for Future Naval Forces at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and Center for Naval Analysis in Laurel, Md., March 23-24.
The symposium explored the many ways in which changes in climate and energy availability may impact future naval forces.
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus delivered the keynote address March 23. Rear Adm. Philip Cullom, director for Fleet Readiness Division and lead of Task Force Energy, and Rear Adm. David Titley, oceanographer of the Navy and lead of Task Force Climate Change, addressed their task forces' respective activities during the two-day symposium.
During his speech, Mabus spoke about the Navy's approach to addressing climate change and energy security. He noted the logistical challenges associated with fueling operations, connecting the need to address energy security through efficiencies and alternatives with the importance of energy security for the war fighter.
"Fuel efficiencies increase war fighting capability," said Mabus.
Mabus stated the Navy is taking key steps towards demonstrating its system that can work on biofuels and is playing a role in moving the use and application of biofuels forward by creating a demand.
Research and development in this area include developing viable biofuels and addressing the challenges with storing power generated by renewable sources. Mabus noted the Navy has historically been at the forefront of changing energy sources. The positive impact of these changes have, and will continue to, help shape world energy sources.
Cullom spoke to the importance of increasing energy efficiencies to enhance the Navy's flexibility and capability and minimize its vulnerabilities. Efficiencies lighten the load, enable the fleet to expand its tactical reach and reduce total ownership costs.
"A barrel of fuel or MBTU conserved is the barrel or BTU you never have to buy again," said Cullom.
Cullom also spoke about the protection of the Navy's critical infrastructure, noting that it is not just physical or cyber attacks but natural disasters and technical malfunctions against which we must protect.
As the lead for Task Force Climate Change, Titley discussed why the Navy is concerned about climate change and what it is doing in this area. One of the main focuses of the climate change initiative is to better understand how climate change is affecting the Arctic because, as Titley noted, whatever happens in the Arctic impacts the world environmentally and politically. Additional concerns the Navy has in connection with climate change are related to rising sea levels and the impact on water and resources.
In addition to the speeches presented by Mabus, Cullom and Titley, six panel discussions were held during the event. These panel discussions focused on energy availability and Naval operations around the world. Other guest speakers included retired Adm. Timothy Keating, former commander of U.S. Pacific Command, retired Air Force Gen. Charles Wald and retired Adm. Harry Ulrich, former commander of Naval Forces Europe.
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