Energy Independence for National Security

America’s over-dependence on oil threatens our national security and our standing in the world by limiting America’s ability to act on the world stage—militarily, diplomatically, and economically.

  • US over-dependence on oil:
    • Constrains our foreign policy options
    • Entangles us with foreign governments that do not always share our values
    • Diverts dollars to autocratic regimes—the U.S. sends a billion dollars a day to other countries to pay for oil, and some of these nations do not share our values
    • Puts the U.S. in the position of sometimes funding both sides of the war against terrorism

America’s over-dependence on foreign sources of energy threatens America’s economy, and a strong economy is the underpinning for a strong national defense

  • The United States’ over-dependence on foreign oil holds our economy hostage to the worldwide oil market, whose prices we cannot control.
  • Oil price spikes have preceded four of the last five recessions.
  • Every day, the United States sends roughly a billion dollars to other countries to buy oil.  Some of this money goes to countries that do not share our values, and even to regimes that support terrorism.
  • A recent report by CNA’s Military Advisory Board called our overreliance on oil a “national vulnerability,” noting that “if even a small percentage of the daily supply of oil is interrupted, our nation’s economic engine, which is heavily reliant on transportation, could be significantly impacted.

Over-dependence on fossil fuels even threatens our men and women in uniform, while diverting money and effort away from the military’s core mission of keeping our nation safe.

  • Military budgets are especially vulnerable to oil price swings. Every $10 increase in the price of a barrel of oil costs the DOD (and taxpayers) approximately $1.3 billion.
  • Securing America’s access to Middle East oil is costly. The cost of deploying U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf, patrolling its water and supplying military assistance to Mid-East countries is estimated at $50 billion per year.
  • Our oil addiction makes it more likely that our troops will be sent into harm’s way, in order to safeguard the free flow of oil.
  • Significant resources and troops are diverted from the combat mission to protect fuel convoys. This puts our troops in even greater danger.
    • A Marine Corps evaluation found 10% of its casualties occurring during fuel or water convoys.
    • An Army study in Afghanistan found one soldier killed or wounded for every 24 fuel convoys.
    • From 2003 - 2007, more than 3,000 army personnel and contractors were wounded or from attacks on fuel and water resupply convoys in Iraq and Afghanistan.


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