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What A Large Slice Of $782 Billion A Year Could Do For American Efficiency

There is a huge unrealized peace dividend for efficiency. We could capitalize on that.

5 min readApr 19, 2022


Earlier this month, The Arms Control Association released its analysis of the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), passed and signed by President Biden last December. The total budget allocated to the department of defense was $768 billion for this fiscal year, setting a new record. In comparison, the budget for the Department of Energy was $49 billion for the same year. We spent 15 times more money on defense than on energy sources or efficiency.

I think we have our priorities just a little bit in the wrong direction.

The Center for Strategic Studies had this to say about the goals of the defense budget for the fiscal year 2023:

These goals, however, are filled with buzzwords that could be used to justify virtually any U.S. defense program and budget.

I have to wonder if anyone outside of the defense department can tell us with confidence, what the goals of the defense budget really are. Sure, we could say that we want to “contain” Russia and China, but judging by the present war, that goal isn’t really working out. I don’t think the war was planned by anyone who voted for the politicians who set America’s foreign policy agenda.

Maybe we’re not very good at managing the behavior of other people. What if instead of using our massive defense budget to manage the behavior of rogue nations like Russia, and potentially, China, we just focused a big chunk of the defense budget on our own behavior?

I can recall that during the Trump administration, the US Department Of Defense saw a strategic value in efficiency and renewable energy. Back in 2017, Reuters ran an article on that very subject. Here is what they had to say:

The military’s zeal for renewable power has already had broad impacts on energy contractors, generating hundreds of millions in contracts for solar companies and helping to reduce fuel consumption by the world’s largest single petroleum buyer.

The armed forces nearly doubled renewable power generation between 2011 and 2015, to 10,534…