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The Military Government Technology

Among the Costs of War: $20B In Air Conditioning 409

TechkNighT_1337 submitted one of the most well spun little news nuggets I've read in awhile: "The amount the U.S. military spends annually on air conditioning in Iraq and Afghanistan: $20.2 billion. That's more than NASA's budget. It's more than BP has paid so far for damage during the Gulf oil spill. It's what the G-8 has pledged to help foster new democracies in Egypt and Tunisia."
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Among the Costs of War: $20B In Air Conditioning

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  • Re:Irrelevant (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @09:37AM (#36596332) Homepage

    And honestly causes problems.

    The enemy is not lounging in AC comfort, they are used to the heat and can operate in it at peak efficiency.. Our troops are not acclimated to the environment and therefore are operating at less than 100% It's a small drawback but in wars even 1% can make a huge difference.

    Ac does not make them better at killing the enemy. AC actually makes them less effective at killing the enemy. Anyone that claims they can exit a 80 degree low humidity environment and enter a 110 degree environment and are AS EFFECTIVE as they were in the 80 degree environment is a flat out liar.

  • Solar Power? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by KnownIssues ( 1612961 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @09:39AM (#36596376)

    From every photo I've seen of Afghanistan, it looks to me like they have a surplus of sunlight. I understand solar power can't replace fuel for everything, but couldn't it dramatically reduce the cost of cooling troops? What are the roadblocks and/or definciencies of alternative sources of power?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @09:55AM (#36596604)

    This is not true. I was deployed to Iraq in 2005 - we had 4 ac units for a 10 man tent. All of our battalion had the same. We happened to be grunts and ground pounders. Our tent with E-3 to E-5's had zero additional insulation, and happened to have a series of shrapnel holes from a rocket that detonated 6 feet outside the front door.

    The AC units struggled to run as they were constantly filled with fine silt. We power washed them every few weeks to keep them operational. The generators powering the tents ran constantly of course, but I would hope they ran on cheap local fuel.

    Without knowing what all research went into creating this $20 B figure, it's hard to know how accurate it might be.

  • Re:Solar Power? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dails ( 1798748 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @10:06AM (#36596766)

    That's all true, but for as inefficient as it may seem, there are reasons for all of those. IAAAMO (I am an American military officer), and I can attest to the nature of the American military; we are an incredibly capable organization and almost unstoppable at the tasks we are equipped and trained for, but we were never designed to be agile or efficient. I'm a naval officer, so ships are what I know, and ships are damn expensive. Not just building, but designing, testing the designing, reworking requirements, testing requirements, adjusting for how much training would be required for the equipment vs how much we can do, ammunition and fuel consumption rates vs. supply capabilities, etc. The ships on the water now were on the drawing board twenty years ago (some of the tech in them is newer and could be installed on them because of the long dev time). We (the Navy) have fewer than 300 ships. Imagine an army of 300,000, each one with a set of gear. You want to change one piece, it's not one piece, it's 300,000 pieces. You want a new tent? It's not a new tent, it's 50,000 new tents. You can call it waste in government if you like (I know you didn't), but it's really just the nature of operating an enormous organization. You think lean, corporate giants where profit is king are different? They are not. Ask anyone who works at Raytheon, Microsoft, Apple, Maersk, etc.

  • by the_raptor ( 652941 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @10:30AM (#36597120)

    "The tents are air conditioned with diesel-powered ECUs because people get heat related illnesses when they are not."

    Harden up sweet heart. Somehow British, Australian, Canadian, and other Commonwealth troops ran riot across Northern Africa and the Middle East in two world wars without their armies collapsing from heat stroke. Air conditioned tents are just a creature comfort like having fast food vendors on the bases is. It has nothing to do with military effectiveness (it probably detracts from it as the troops won't be properly acclimatised for when they are off base).

    Alexander the Great CONQUERED Afghanistan and his troops were probably lucky to have woollen blankets and had walked all the way from Macedonia conquering what is now Iraq and Persia along the way.

    P.S. The Soviet army response to their soldiers complaining about having to sleep in the snow with just a great-jacket was to make them spend more time training in the snow so they got used to it.

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