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Defense Energy Seminar examines Air Force, Navy fuel management
U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Taylor Vencill

Defense Energy Seminar examines Air Force, Navy fuel management

By MC2 Taylor Vencill

Energy officials from Naval Postgraduate School’s (NPS) Energy Academic Group and the U.S. Air Force discussed fuel management issues facing the military services and shared ideas about how to optimize fuel resources during the latest Defense Energy Seminar, Mar. 1.

The seminar, titled “Air Force Operational Energy,” featured retired Col. William Spacy, Chief, Current Operations & Aviation Energy Policy, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, Operational Energy as a guest lecturer. The responsibility of his office is to find ways to increase operational efficiency and make better use of energy resources.

“Our primary focus is on helping the Air Force optimize how we conduct flying operations in order to get the maximum combat power out of the resources that we are given,” said Spacy. “We’re about learning how to improve how the Air Force conducts operations and procures equipment so that we can deliver more combat power with less fuel.”

The seminar discussions focused on what approaches the Air Force and Navy use to maximize their resources, namely fuel, to exchange ideas and understand potential applications to fuel management.

“One thing we look at is how we conduct operations, with the processes and tools that support it, and how the planners can build more efficient plans,” said Spacy. “We also look at technology, new air frame designs and engine designs that can lower fuel consumption so that when we’re in a fuel constrained environment, we can still fly as many missions as we need to without running into fuel problems.”

By examining how the Air Force manages its fuel resources, the NPS students and faculty involved in the seminar received a glimpse of some of the issues facing the other components of the Department of Defense (DOD).

“The Air Force is the biggest fuel user in the DOD,” said Kevin Maher, program officer for the Energy Academic Group. “They have brought some of their issues here to NPS because maybe a professor or student is interested in researching that type of problem.

“This is where academics meets the road,” continued Maher. “It’s about getting the people who come to us with real problems connected with the right people to provide them real solutions.”

By the seminar’s end, the collaborative atmosphere allowed guests, faculty and students to think collectively and in innovative ways to address resource management issues that affect both the Air Force and the Navy.

The seminar essentially brought problems and innovations to the forefront exposing everyone to innovation, technology, and solutions that will better optimize the way the military services do things, said Maher.

NPS' academic programs in Defense Energy are supplemented by a seminar series which provides a forum for leading voices within the field, practitioners, and other Defense Energy influencers.


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Today@NPS showcases some of the speakers, conferences, experiments, lectures, and other events that take place at the Naval Postgraduate School on a daily basis. If you would like more information about any of the highlighted activities please contact the public affairs office at pao@nps.edu.

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