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USDA and DON Visit to USS Monterey Reinforces Commitment to Greater Energy Security

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS120908-06

From Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy Public Affairs

NORFOLK (NNS) -- U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy Tom Hicks toured the USS Monterey (CG 61) at Naval Station Norfolk Sept. 8, highlighting the commitment of both agencies to greater energy security for the nation's military.

During the tour, Vilsack and Hicks discussed the tremendous opportunities advanced biofuels hold for reducing America's dependence on foreign oil while creating more jobs in rural communities.

"Developing the next generation of advanced biofuels for our nation's military is both a national security issue and an economic issue," said Vilsack. "By utilizing renewable energy produced on American soil, our military forces will become less reliant on fuel that has to be transported long distances and often through choke points that can be disrupted during times of conflict.

"Meanwhile, a strong and diverse biofuels industry will support good-paying jobs in rural America that can't be shipped overseas," he continued. "Through this joint effort, USDA and the U.S. Navy have the opportunity to create a model for American energy security while ensuring the safety of our troops and the long term viability of our armed forces."

"Secretary Vilsack's leadership and the work carried out by USDA on alternative fuel is so critical to the Navy's efforts to address a critical military vulnerability: our reliance on foreign oil," stated U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus. "I am grateful that he took the time today to tour USS Monterey and meet some of our Sailors. I am sure he came away as impressed with their professionalism and skill as I am always am."

This past July, the U.S. Navy completed a demonstration of the "Great Green Fleet" using a 50/50 blend of advanced hydroprocessed biofuel and conventional fuel to power helicopters, jets, a cruiser and two destroyers. The demonstration also incorporated technologies designed to enhance the combat capability of Navy warships, such as energy efficient solid state lighting, stern flaps and shipboard "smart voyage" planning decision aid software.

The July demonstration took place off the coast of Hawaii as part of the Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC). Secretary Mabus observed operations, which included fueling helicopters and jets from the deck the USS Nimitz (CVN 68); completing arrested landings of aircraft onto a carrier, the first ever using biofuels; refueling a destroyer while underway; and air-to-air refueling.

More information on the Great Green Fleet demonstration, including a list of participating ships, is available here:

"Today's event demonstrates our joint commitment to energy security and how the department is exploring ways to improve our combat capabilities." said Tom Hicks, deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for Energy. "We are excited about our partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Energy to produce advanced biofuels for military and commercial use."

Navy, USDA and DOE recently announced an agreement that makes $30 million in funding available to support commercialization of "drop-in" biofuel substitutes for diesel and jet fuel through the Defense Production Act Title III (DPA). The DPA dates back to 1950 and has been used to support the industrialization of defense-critical domestic industries such as steel, aluminum, titanium, semiconductors, beryllium, and radiation-hardened electronics.

At the same time, DOE announced an additional $32 million to support research into advanced biofuel technologies that are in earlier stages of development.

Details of the three-agency agreement are available here: http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=2012/07/0217.xml&navid=NEWS_RELEASE&navtype=RT&parentnav=LATEST_RELEASES&edeployment_action=retrievecontent

For more news about the Department of Navy's overarching energy program, visit http://greenfleet.dodlive.mil/energy.

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