Southwest Defense Contracting Summit

Hosted by the Defense Leadership Forum

Guidehouse’s Real Property subject matter specialist, Jim King, was an invited speaker at the recent Southwest Defense Contracting Summit hosted by the Defense Leadership Forum (DLF). With more than 400 in-person and virtual participants, Jim joined Charles Sills, National Program Director of DLF, and Cliff Holbeck, Sr. Account Manager at Yearout Energy, in a panel discussion on military base energy resilience.

During the session, Jim addressed the three avenues of installation resilience:

  1. Source redundancy and storage
  2. Reinvesting in infrastructure to avoid outages due to equipment failure, or interruptions due to severe weather or casualty
  3. Cost and consumption reductions to increase agility in the face of shortages

Regarding source redundancy and storage, Jim referenced his commercial experience developing US and overseas manufacturing facilities, which mandated grid redundancy or reliable onsite generation. This discussion led to speculation about recent DoD and DoE contracts with multiple firms to develop small nuclear power plants ranging from 1 to 5 megawatts for remote, austere environments, and 80 to 320 megawatts for more conventional use, a fraction of the industry standard 2200 megawatts. The DoE has indicated its intent to invest $3.2B in these design developments over the next 7 years.

With respect to reinvesting in infrastructure to avoid outages and interruptions, Jim focused on the chronic problem of under-funded sustainment spending and its impact on operations, citing the volume of power outages due to the failure of ageing equipment. With the recent, dramatic experience of Winter Storm Uri in the Southwest, Jim discussed installations’ ability to withstand the increasing frequency of severe weather events, referencing the combined $8B restoration costs for Tyndall AFB and USMC’s Camp Lejeune after being hit with Hurricanes Michael and Florence, respectively, in 2018. Jim spoke briefly about the administration’s aggressive climate agenda and its potential for decelerating the frequency and intensity of severe weather events that challenge resiliency.

In discussing cost and consumption reductions to increase agility in the face of shortages, Jim referenced the December 2020 Army “Energy and Water Strategy” which established consumption benchmarks and performance measures, challenging the Army to reduce consumption to achieve resiliency, efficiency and affordability.

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