NEWPORT, R.I. (NNS) -- The 62nd annual Current Strategy Forum (CSF) at the U.S. Naval War College (NWC) explored the theme of "Energy and U.S. National Security: Vulnerability and Opportunity" during a two-day event, June 7-8.
Keynote speakers and panelists, including sea service leaders, discussed the critical role of energy in international security, the current and future impact of increasing global demands on natural resources, and the related vulnerabilities and opportunities for the nation and the maritime services in a more energy-constrained environment.
The host of CSF, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, described energy as the main vulnerability to U.S. national security in his keynote address.
"We use too much fossil fuel," Mabus said, pointing out that the U.S. purchases fossil fuels from potentially volatile or volatile places on earth. "We have to change the way we use, produce and get energy. We have to do it strategically; we have to do it tactically."
While the Navy and Marine Corps have made strides toward seeking alternative energy sources, the Department of the Navy must seek options to fossil fuels.
"It affects our operations, it affects our budget every single day," said Mabus. "Our reliance on fossil fuels hurts our warfighting capacity, brings risk to national security, harms our environment and negatively affects our economy."
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead, said the Navy must continue to seek alternative energy sources to meet operational demands.
"Our Navy has been positioned exceedingly well to answer the nation's needs as a joint, interagency and international partner in a more networked world, but forward presence requires fuel," Roughead stated. "Whether we see the new energy options we pursue today to fruition will affect how well we contend with growing operational demand at the same time the sustainability of our force is confronted in new ways."
Lt. Gen. George J. Flynn, U.S. Marine Corps, Commanding General, Marine Corps Combat Development Command, spoke directly to the Marine Corps' efforts toward energy independence.
"From our non-commissioned officers to our general officers, we must be aware, we must be engaged and we must be accountable for our energy use," said Flynn. "It is about training modern-day Marine Spartans to understand that a resource efficient Marine is a more combat effective Marine."
Other keynote speakers included Amory Lovins, the cofounder, chairman, and chief scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute, which aims to foster efficient and sustainable use of resources; and Harvard Professor of International Relations, Dr. Stephen M. Walt.
Several panels featured speakers from the military, academia and industry, and explored energy and international security; sovereignty, energy, and the global commons; and seapower, energy and adapting to future constraints.
Attended by the Naval War College community and participants from throughout the country, CSF included a seminar session where students joined with participants to debate and discuss the forum's theme in a classroom setting, moderated by NWC faculty.
NWC President Rear Adm. John N. Christenson welcomed the audience of approximately 1,250 to CSF, which is hosted annually by the secretary of the Navy. He acknowledged the event's co-sponsor, the Naval War College Foundation, and noted that the forum is the capstone academic event for the resident U.S. and international students each year.
"We are able to provide our students with a better education by conducting conferences just like this one, that bring in some of the nation's leading experts to present their research and perspective on a topic of strategic importance - designed specifically to challenge our student's understanding and perceptions of world affairs and national security," said Christenson.
The U.S. Naval War College started more than 125 years ago as a small institution with mostly summer courses. It has evolved into a one-year resident program that graduates about 600 students a year, and a vibrant distance program that graduates about 1,000 students a year. The College also has a robust international engagement mission with approximately 100 international officers graduating yearly.
In addition to the College's education mission, it is heavily involved in war gaming and research in an effort to aid the Chief of Naval Operations in defining the path of the future Navy. More recently, the College has developed operational level courses to satisfy fleet requirements, preparing leaders for the challenges of operational and/or strategic level leadership over the remainder of their careers as decision makers and problem solvers.
For more news from Naval War College, visit www.navy.mil/local/nwc/.