Analyst in Defense Policy
This report provides background information and identifies issues for Congress regarding Department of Defense (DOD) alternative fuel initiatives, a subject of debate at congressional hearings on DOD’s proposed FY2013 budget. The services (the Army, Navy, and Air Force) have spent approximately $48 million to purchase alternative fuels, and the Navy has proposed a $170 million investment in biofuel production capacity. The services have also spent funds on testing, certification and demonstrations of alternative fuels. By comparison, DOD purchases of petroleum fuels totaled approximately $17.3 billion in FY2011.
DOD officials have said that any alternative fuels for DOD operational use must:
- be “drop-in;” that is, requiring no modification to existing engines, and
- be cost-competitive with conventional petroleum fuels.
- production from a non-food crop feedstock; and
- lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions less than or equal to conventional petroleum fuels.
The Navy has also entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Department of Energy and the Department of Agriculture to promote the development of a domestic advanced biofuel industry through the construction of domestic biofuel plants and refineries. Under the Defense Production Act, the Navy and the Department of Energy plan to fund this initiative with $340 million in federal funds for capital investment and production, with at least equal costsharing from industry. The Department of Agriculture intends to provide an additional $171 million through the Commodity Credit Corporation to support biofuel feedstocks.
Legislative debate in 2012 related to DOD’s alternative fuels efforts has focused on two areas: (1) proposals in the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2013 (H.R. 4310, S. 3254) to maintain or limit DOD’s ability to purchase alternative fuels and invest in biofuel production capability, and (2) appropriations related to the joint Navy, Department of Energy, and Department of Agriculture biofuel production initiative.
Additional areas for potential congressional oversight include the costs and benefits to DOD of alternative fuels, as well as the coordination of alternative fuel initiatives within the services and between DOD and other federal agencies.
Date of Report: February 11, 2013
Number of Pages: 23
Order Number: R42859
R42859.pdf to use the SECURE SHOPPING CART
For email and phone orders, provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing.