Future of Energy: Sharon Burke

March 2, 2011 "Energy for the War Fighter"
Sharon Burke, Director of Operation Energy Plans and Programs, U.S. Department of Defense

Today's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have reminded us of an age old lesson: an assured, reliable supply of energy is critical to prevailing in conflict. While the military services are taking actions to address the complex energy questions that affect our current wars, opportunities exist to improve our Armed Forces' capability through better use of operational energy in theater.

Assistant Secretary of Defense Sharon Burke will discuss the steps the U.S. Military is to improve our energy posture, from innovative efforts to reduce demand using current technologies to cutting edge approaches using tomorrow's innovations to increase supply.

Burke will discuss the strategic imperatives for the Nation, the underlying challenges for Defense Department and will conclude with her thoughts about how energy will transform the way we fight.

About Sharon Burke
As the Assistant Secretary, Ms. Burke is the principal advisor to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense on operational energy security and reports to the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics. She is the inaugural director of the office, which was created to strengthen the energy security of U.S. military operations. The mission of the office is to help the military services and combatant commands improve military capabilities, cut costs, and lower operational and strategic risk through better energy accounting, planning, management, and innovation. Operational energy, or the energy required to train, move, and sustain forces, weapons, and equipment for military operations, accounted for 70 percent of all energy used by the Department of Defense in 2009.

Prior to her appointment at the Department of Defense, Ms. Burke was a Vice President and Senior Fellow at the non-partisan and independent Center for a New American Security (CNAS), a defense policy think tank. At CNAS, Ms. Burke directed research on energy security and initiated the Natural Security Program, which looked at the national security implications of global natural resources challenges.

First joining the Department of Defense as a Presidential Management Fellow, Ms. Burke has received medals for Exceptional Public Service from the Department of Defense and the Superior Honor Award from the Department of State. She has served on the Leadership Team of the American Assembly's Next Generation Project, as the Director of the National Security Project at Third Way, as the Middle East Advocacy Director at Amnesty International USA, and is the author of numerous reports, including A Strategy for American Power: Energy, Climate, and National Security.