- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Defense Department may be facing significant funding cuts, but not to its green energy program. Fully 680 renewable-energy projects are still moving forward as part of President Obama’s vision of a military that’s run on clean fuel, despite the spending cutbacks and budget trims that have begun impacting military operations.

Among the 680 projects: 357 based on solar development, 289 based on thermal, 29 on wind and five others that haven’t been disclosed but rather labeled as “electricity generation,” The Blaze reported, citing a Defense Department document.

The idea behind the green-energy move is to limit the United States’ reliance on overseas energy sources — a line of logic that argues such scale-backs will actually bolster America’s security.

“The primary thing to remember about all this is that we’re not doing it to be ‘green’ people,” said Mark Wright, a spokesman for the Defense Department, in The Blaze. “We’re doing it because it reduces energy dependency, helps protect service members and costs less money. The fact that it is good for the environment is a very fortunate happenstance.”

Critics, however, charge that the military’s green energy program is rife with cronyism and political agenda.

“This is another way to create crony capitalism where the government is using taxpayer money to fund politically preferred technologies,” said Nick Loris, a senior policy analyst in energy and environment with the Heritage Foundation, The Blaze reported. “People don’t really notice it as much if you’re greening the military, but even environmental groups are saying a lot of these things aren’t even protecting our environment — in fact they make it worse. Not only are we wasting taxpayer’s money, but there is dubious environmental benefits as well.”

Meanwhile, the military is still facing budget constraints that some security experts say will ultimately affect missions, troop morale, and — Newsmax just reported — the rate at which military members’ pay might increase in coming years.

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