The Defense Department has to make due with a limited budget, and top officials say small business can help the government with its program to better manage the use of energy.
In all of its contracts, the government will be looking for suggestions for innovative ways of dealing with energy needs to save money. Defense officials said they believe much of the innovation they are looking for can come from small businesses.
“The fact is, small businesses and entrepreneurs matter to DOD,” said Sharon E. Burke, assistant secretary of defense for operational energy plans and programs. Burke addressed a conference of small business owners recently in Crystal City, Va., according to the American Forces Press Service. “Small businesses are a hub of ideas and innovation.”
The Defense Department is encouraging small businesses to compete on contracts, often awarding contracts to a combination of large and small companies.
Burke said the new energy program seeks to cut down on the use of energy and to turn to alternative energy, such as biological fuels and solar power, whenever possible.
“Even while more demands are put on the department, more money will not be available for defense spending,” Burke said. “We will have to learn how to do more with less. I see energy as a key part of this solution.”
The Defense Department will now measure the consumption of energy in all of its operations with eye toward improving efficiency. A new energy plan to be released soon by Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta will emphasize the need to promote energy innovation and to find alternative fuels that are reliable and can save money.
The Department is already making headway, Burke said, with a plan to more efficiently use heating and air-condition in tent communities in deployed areas.