By Michael F. Carmichael
Sept. 15, 2011
Recently Corp! wrote about a new breed of military trucks, the FED Alpha and Bravo, that will be getting at least a 70 percent increase in fuel economy over the ones they’ll replace. In this article we pull back for a broader view of what the military leaders are looking at as national security is transformed from a Cold War mentality to something more closely resembling the insurgent conflict in Afghanistan.
|Dr. David Gorsich, Chief Scientist at TARDEC.
Dr. David Gorsich is the chief scientist at TARDEC, the Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center located in Warren, Mich., a northern suburb of Detroit. His doctorate is in applied mathematics from MIT, and he’s putting it to work on behalf of the folks who will have to protect us in the next few decades.
Looking at the Impact of Climate Change
While some politicians are still questioning global climate change, Gorsich and his staff are hard at work determining how it will affect a variety of aspects of national security.
“We’re all looking ahead to what climate change is going to do to us – both in the Department of the Army and [the U.S.] Department of Energy,” says Gorsich. “We’ve looked at various computer simulations of how climate change is going to impact different populations of people and potentially destabilize governments. We’re very aware that there are many of those scenarios that will require us to engage as an army because of climate change.”
With contemporary warfare dependent to a great extent on the mobility of the warfighters (that’s what they call soldiers these days), much of the emphasis being placed on research by the Army and Department of Defense is on the vehicles needed to accomplish that.
Gorsich asks rhetorically, “Is the Department of Defense’s ground vehicle fleet prepared for the different types of conflicts we will have in the future, especially when we won’t necessarily have reliable sources of cheap energy?” Gorsich plans on a strong affirmative answer to that. One benefit the military has, he explains: “We don’t have to worry about emissions, but we do have to be concerned that those vehicles perform and we win on the battlefield. We worry about them having power and energy, about them being mobile, we worry about them being survivable. Those are our primary concerns.”
As with the FED Alpha and Bravo, the key component in most military operations is the fuel for the vehicles.