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Jennifer Granholm, Energy secretary, wants Pentagon to make all non-tactical vehicles electric

A year after President Biden told supporters in Seattle that he wanted to “start the process” to ensure every vehicle used by the U.S. military is “climate-friendly,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told lawmakers that the Pentagon’s entire non-tactical vehicle fleet should be powered by electricity by 2030.

She recently told the Senate Armed Services Committee that it was critical to reduce the nation’s reliance on fossil fuels and said the military could help lead the way.

“We know that global events, such as the war in Ukraine, can jack up prices for people back home. It does not contribute to energy security,” Ms. Granholm said.

On Thursday, Sen. Marco Rubio sent a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin saying her comments were only the latest in a stream of efforts coming from the Biden administration to prioritize progressive policies over national defense.

“Given our reliance on China for electric batteries, President Biden’s demands for ‘every vehicle’ in the U.S. military to be climate-friendly only serves to ramp up our dependence on the (Chinese Communist Party,) a regime that seeks to usurp the U.S. as a global economic, technological, and political leader,” wrote Mr. Rubio, Florida Republican.

The Defense Department has more than 174,000 non-tactical vehicles, such as trucks and Humvees, across the services. It owns the second-largest federal vehicle fleet after the U.S. Postal Service and is the largest institutional consumer of petroleum in the world.

“Transitioning the Defense Department’s non-combat fleet to electric and other zero-emissions vehicles is a critical step in reducing our government’s carbon emissions,” Sen. Mazie K. Hirono, Hawaii Democrat, said last year.

The 2023 National Defense Authorization Act included measures that would set a 2035 target for the Pentagon’s non-tactical vehicles to be electric or otherwise zero-emissions. The Army says it is continuing the transition of its fleet of non-tactical vehicles. 

“The Army will invest in over 470 charging stations. All garrison commanders will work with industry and utility suppliers to determine how best to expand electric vehicle charging infrastructure on every Army installation,” the Army said in its 2022 climate strategy plan.

President Biden’s plan to electrify the U.S. military’s vehicle fleet is “deranged,” said the American Energy Alliance, a conservative think-tank in Washington.

“A fully-electric military would be expensive, costing billions or more, and would be inherently unreliable,” AEA said in a statement. “Reliability of equipment is a cornerstone of military readiness.”

The Army also wants to fully electrify its tactical vehicles, like tanks and personnel carriers, by 2050, according to AEA.

“That’s pretty amazing when none exist today and when the supply chains for all the minerals necessary are dominated by China,” said the think tank’s analysts.

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