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Prepared by the
Institute for the Analysis of Global Security

August 13, 2004
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Energy Security Current Issue

The Connection: Water and Energy Security
Allan Hoffman, former associate and acting deputy assistant secretary for Utility Technologies in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy of the DOE and IAGS Advisor, explains why water and energy security are inextricably linked.


Saudi Arabia in Crisis
IAGS' Anne Korin presented a strategy for reducing U.S. dependence on Saudi oil as part of a conference hosted by the Hudson Institute on July 9, 2004. Watch the event (Anne's presentation starts at 02:38:35.)

Energy Security in East Asia
The outlook for energy security in the Asia-Pacific looks particularly troubling, with rising levels of oil consumption and an even stronger rise in demand. IAGS Research Associate Richard Giragosian analyzes the energy security risks faced by the region and the agreements and strategies adopted by Japan, South Korea, Thailand, and the Philippines in response.

On the technology front How utilities can save America from its oil addiction
Utility companies which have traditionally viewed themselves as providers of "power" for lighting homes or powering computers, can now break the dominance of Big Oil in the transportation energy sector and introduce much needed competition in the transportation fuel market. Gal Luft explains how.

Comparing Hydrogen and Electricity for Transmission, Storage and Transportation

Study: Coal based methanol is cheapest fuel for fuel cells
A recently completed study by University of Florida researchers for the Georgetown University fuel cell program assessed the the future overall costs of various fuel options for fuel cell vehicles. The primary fuel options analyzed by the study were hydrogen from natural gas, hydrogen from coal, and methanol from coal. The study concluded that methanol from coal was the cheapest option, by a factor of almost 50%.

Major improvement in fuel economy and range of Honda's fuel cell vehicles
The 2005 model Honda fuel cell vehicle achieves a nearly 20 percent improvement in its EPA fuel economy rating and a 33 percent gain in peak power (107 hp vs. 80 hp) compared to the 2004 model, and feature a number of important technological achievements on the road to commercialization of fuel cell vehicles.

Biodiesel fueled ships to cruise in Canada
A Canadian project will test the use of pure biodiesel (B100) as a fuel supply on a fleet of 12 boats of various types and sizes, 11 boats on pure biodiesel (B100) and one on a 5-percent blend (B5).

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Back Issues

What the 9/11 Commission missed

One of the main conclusions of the 9/11 Commission is that in order for the U.S. to prevail in the war on terror it must develop a multidisciplinary, comprehensive, and balanced strategy. In presenting the final report of the Commission, Vice Chair Lee Hamilton acknowledged that "there is no silver bullet or decisive blow that can defeat Islamist terrorism." America’s strategy in the war, he said, "must integrate all the elements of national power: diplomacy, intelligence, covert action, law-enforcement, economic policy, foreign aid, homeland defense, and military strength." But dealing with the roots of terror the commission failed to address the factor which perhaps more that anything undermines America’s national security: the increased dependence on foreign oil coming from the very same countries that export terror and proliferate a radical ideology on which terror flourishes.

Since September 11, it has become apparent that the U.S. is locked in a painful paradox. On the one hand, as the world’s policeman, it is expected to dispatch troops and dollars to various trouble spots around the world in an effort to combat terrorism and help spread freedom and democracy. At the same time, as by far the world’s largest oil consumer - one of every four barrels of oil is consumed here - the U.S. is forced to export in exchange for oil close to $100 billions a year, much of it to countries where it is greatly disliked. Every time we drive into a gas station and fill up our tank we send dollars to countries like Saudi Arabia, where, according to a latest public opinion poll by Zogby International, 94% of the population has negative view of the U.S. Even today, three years after September 11, part of this money finds its way to the coffers of terrorist organizations as well as madrassas and mosques where radical Islam is preached.

In a speech two weeks after September 11 Assistant Secretary of Energy David Garman drew the line between barrels and bombs: "It is clear that our reliance on imported oil - 56% of the oil we use - has complicated our response to the terrorist attack. There is also little doubt that some of the dollars we have exported in exchange for foreign oil have found their way into the hands of terrorists and would-be terrorists."

The link between terrorism and our excessive appetite for oil is so apparent that the 9/11 Commission’s blindness to it raises the question who in Washington really suffers from "failure of imagination." The Commission recommended that the U.S.-Saudi relations should be "about more than oil." But the U.S. and Saudi Arabia are so diametrically opposed in their values that it is hard to imagine anything other than oil that can bind them together.

The notion that the U.S. can prevail in the war on terror while continuing to pay for both sides of the war is naive. Any strategy that excludes energy as a critical element in the war on terror would be neither comprehensive nor effective.

So before the administration, be it led by Bush or Kerry, rushes to appoint an intelligence czar, pour billions into new intelligence apparatuses or inflate our bureaucracy it should take a hard look at the sources of national power of those countries whose leaders and people are hostile to the U.S. Most of them derive their wealth from oil and much of the demand comes from us.

If the same type of leadership required to overhaul America's defense and intelligence bodies were to be applied to the sphere of energy policy the U.S. would finally be able to break the yoke of its energy dependence and hence stop fueling the terror machine. A bold yet balanced energy policy based on existing technologies can reduce the role of oil in our energy basket by commercializing next generation fuels and vehicles. Until such policy is implemented the price we pay for driving Hummers at home will always be more Humvees in the Persian Gulf.

Gal Luft is Executive Director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security.