Although there is a cloud of cuts looming over the Department of Defense (DoD) due to the possibility of sequestration from the fiscal cliff, the Pentagon received some good budgeting news recently.
Bloomberg Businessweek reports the Senate voted to allow the Pentagon's investment in green energy. Part of the defense bill previously prohibited the military from spending money on alternative fuels if they exceed the cost of regular fossil fuels, such as natural gas, oil and coal. However, the news provider reports that the Navy and Air Force have both asked for more biofuels in an effort to operate their aircrafts and ships.
Additionally, some highly ranked officers in the military have suggested that by relying more heavily on alternative fuels, there would be less of a need to depend on foreign oil.
"It should tell us something that in an era of reduced Defense Department budgets, our senior leaders remain fully committed to this effort. We should support them in these commonsense approaches," Senator Mark Udall, D-Colo., sponsor of the amendment, told the news provider.
The Hill reports the bill was presented by Senator Kay Hagan, who suggests that if the military were to rely on regular oil, it could be affected by the fluctuating prices. Advocates for the fuel tell the news provider that the military is actually running its fleet through sustainable practices by using alternative means. The biofuels that are at the heart of the issue are made from natural products like switchgrass and algae.
"Cost overruns could force the military to curtail training and less urgent operations – resulting in increased risk to future missions," Hagan argued, according to the news provider. "Developing a commercially viable biofuels industry could help [the Department of Defense] diversify its fuel sources and reduce the risk of energy volatility."
While this was a break for the Pentagon, the DoD is teetering on the possibility of receiving devastating cuts. Should sequestration go into effect, military spending could be cut by nearly $500 billion. However, if the fiscal cliff is avoided, the DoD could receive little, if any, cuts to the budget. The government has received tremendous pressure over the past few weeks, as the cuts are set to go into effect on January 1 should a deal not be reached.