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Advanced Energy and U.S. National Security

CNA Military Advisory Board
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As senior military officers, we view national security broadly, factoring in economic strength, diplomatic prowess, and military capability. Fundamental to this equation is access to affordable and reliable energy.

This study examines how advanced energy systems will impact the energy landscape and how these impacts will influence U.S. national security.

Over the coming decades, the global energy landscape will change dramatically. As the world grows from 7.4 billion people in 2016 to more than 9 billion by mid- century, changing demographics are expected to result in a 30-plus percent increase in global demand for energy. Energy demand from demographic shifts in China and fast-growing, emerging economies in India and across Africa will overtake customary centers of demand.

Globally, technological change is underway in both the fossil fuel and advanced energy sectors. On the supply side, fracking and other recovery techniques are making fossil fuels more accessible, while advanced energy creates means for nations worldwide to produce power locally, using a wide variety of available energy sources and reduce dependency on imports. Technological advances mean that overall increases in energy demand will no longer be met by fossil fuels alone. At the same time, efficiency, biofuels, and other advanced energy improvements, as well as a global move toward electric vehicles, will cause demand for oil to begin to decline.

This changing energy posture – including new centers of demand and supply, new energy sources, and new methods of storage and use — will have an impact on global economics and global politics. Trade relationships and geopolitical dependencies molded by energy — will be reshaped, resulting in new allies and adversaries alike. Some nations will prosper in this transition; others will falter. The consequences will have direct effects on U.S. national security.

This study brought together more than a dozen retired Admirals and Generals to examine the national security consequences of this energy transition over the next few decades. The U.S. has a choice: Will we be bystanders in the transformation, or do we participate and steer the process to our economic and security advantage?

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Details

  • Pages: 76
  • Document Number: IRM-2017-U-015512
  • Publication Date: 6/6/2017