Future of sustainable military operations under emerging energy and security considerations

• The nature of warfare is changing thus the requirement for energy.
• Energy is a key component of sustainable operations.
• Energy trends are analyzed in three stages including generation, transfer and storage through technology mining.
• Scenarios are developed based on the future characteristics of warfare and emerging energy needs of military operations.
• Stages of military energy transformation are described and strategies for military energy are formulated.


Due to limited energy sources and growing concerns about environment, secure, safe and sustainable energy has become one of the Grand Challenges at the global level. Likewise in many other aspects of life, energy is crucial for military forces. In parallel to the changing nature of warfare, the need for energy in military operations has increased dramatically. While energy consumption in the World War II was 1 gal per soldier per day, it was 4 gal per soldier per day during the Desert Storm operation in 1991. Not only the quantity, but also the type of energy required for military operations has changed dramatically. Shifts have been observed from individual man power to machines powered by fuel and electricity. Energy demand and type have changed further through the introduction of more sophisticated devices with new capabilities such as to enable night vision, designate targets with lasers, provide advanced sensing and communication capabilities and reduce human involvement in operations through drones and robotic technologies. Investigating the trends in changing nature of warfare and energy through review, technology mining and scientometrics, the present study develops future scenarios, and a strategic roadmap to identify priority technology areas and strategies for the future military energy R&D.

Author(s): Ozcan Saritas, Serhat Burmaoglu
Organization(s): Higher School of Economics (HSE)
Source: TF&SC
Year: 2015

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