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The Burden: US Military Leading the Charge for Clean Energy (Documentary)

June 28, 2018 @ 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

The Burden is the first documentary of its kind to tell the story of our dependence on fossil fuels as the greatest long­‐term national security threat confronting the U.S., and how the military is leading our transition away from oil.


  • Dennis McGinn, Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Energy, Installations, and Environment)
  • Sharon Burke, Former Assistant Secretary of Defense, Operational Energy Plans and Programs
  • Jon Powers, Former Federal Environmental Executive
  • Roger Sorkin, Director of THE BURDEN

Putting Our Troops in Harm’s Way — The US military uses more oil than any other organization in the world. Everything from tanks to fighter jets to Humvees to generators use oil. Delivering that oil on the battlefield is a dangerous job.  In Afghanistan, every 1 in 24 fuel convoys ended with a casualty.

Global Supply is Vulnerable — Oil is bought and sold globally, and those trade routes are vulnerable.  Most of the world’s oil travels through two or three major chokepoints, easy targets for terrorists and adversarial nations that border these narrow sea lanes.

It’s Expensive to Secure and Protect Oil — While we may not pay the full cost at the pump, securing and protecting oil is very expensive.  Our military spends approximately $300 billion annually just to protect the oil chokepoints, and hundreds of billions more to help stabilize oil-producing regions around the world. Military experts project that if we were paying the full cost at the pump rather than through the taxpayer money DoD uses for these missions, one gallon of gas would exceed $8.

Funding Our Enemies  Too much of our oil money ends up in the hands of countries that don’t share our values and violent groups working to do us harm.  Oil money has been traced, often through shady front groups, to extremist and terrorist groups. Global demand sets the price on the global market, so no matter where our oil comes from, our high demand keeps more money flowing to our enemies.

Price Shocks Pose a Threat to Military Performance — Volatile oil price spikes force the military to repurpose funds away from training, maintenance, and readiness programs to offset the cost – putting the mission at risk.  This means our sailors steam less, our pilots fly less, and our soldiers and Marines train less. On the battlefield, special forces and other elite units spend disproportionate time on convoy detail and less on counterinsurgency and other critical operations.

Fossil Fuels Exacerbate Natural Disasters — Fossil fuel consumption is linked to an increase in extreme weather events that directly impact our military readiness.  Our military is the best first responder in the world, receiving a foreign disaster relief request every two weeks, which comes at great cost to U.S. taxpayers. Limiting the environmental challenges linked to carbon emissions will save money and place less stress on an already over-extended military.

Clean Energy Jobs for Veterans — A high percentage of veterans are working in the clean energy industry because they saw first hand how our oil dependence militarily and as a nation create excessive costs in lives and money.  Combat veterans understand that clean energy is patriotic, and view their work in this industry as an extension of their service to securing continued American prosperity.


June 28, 2018
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
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