Wednesday, August 01, 2007

TRANSCOM, General Norty Schwartz, and the Future of Carbon

A few weeks ago, as part of the Computer Science Study Panel, I had the opportunity to meet General Norty Schwartz, a four-star general that is currently the head of TRANSCOM. TRANSCOM is a unified command charged with all of the transportation issues in the military. As you might imagine, it is a pivotal but underappreciated part of the military.

Talking with General Schwartz was a really fun and insightful experience. He struck me as someone who is slow and steady, rock-solid reliable, the kind of person you would want managing your transportation needs.

However, the thing that pleasantly surprised me was General Schwartz' interests in carbon. Right now, among all of the cabinet departments, the Dept of Defense is the largest consumer of carbon-based fuels, and within the DoD, TRANSCOM is the largest consumer. He mentioned how this wasn't sustainable, and that they were looking into long-term solutions to this problem.

While I realize that his statement wasn't for reasons of being green, it's good to know that this issue is on the radar screen. I also hope it will translate into a shift in how transportation is handled in the DoD for the better.

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