Fischer-Tropsch Certification Will Proceed

Acting Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said Tuesday the Air Force will proceed with plans to certify its entire fleet to run on a synthetic fuel blend by early next decade. “We do intend to continue with the certification,” Donley told reporters during a press briefing in the Pentagon with Gen. Norton Schwartz, the Air Force’s new Chief of Staff (see above). We wondered about the fate of the Air Force’s alternative energy efforts, which have received notice outside DOD, in the wake of the firing of Michael Wynne as Air Force Secretary in June—Wynne was a driving force in the service pushing environmentally friendly and renewable energy initiatives—and the resignation just last month of William Anderson, the service’s alternative energy czar. Combined with reports we’ve gotten that the Office of the Secretary of Defense thought the Air Force was expending too much effort on its alternative energy initiatives, their future appeared potentially headed for the back burner. But Donley said “energy is an important priority for the Air Force, and we’re going to continue to work that issue.” However, he said the service will take a closer look going forward at its role and the public-private partnerships involved in alternative energy. “I want to make sure that we remain in the role of a consumer and not be perceived by other government agencies or others as a producer of energy,” Donley said. The Air Force needs to insure it is working in partnerships with agencies such as the Department of Energy to avoid creating this perception, he said. As for the service’s competency in this realm with the loss of Anderson, Donley said Anderson’s acting replacement, Kevin Billings, is “very strong in this area.”