The Shell Game: Fueling a Future War in the Pacific

War on the Rocks – Energy for military operations in the geographically vast Pacific region still primarily takes the form of military-grade fuels used by ships and aircraft. That fuel is still mostly stored in fuel terminals in known locations, many of which are in range of potential adversaries’ aircraft, submarines, and surface-to-surface missiles. The United States relies on an inadequate number of overtasked fleet tankers to support logistically fragile operational concepts (in contrast to southwest Asia and Europe, where it is often possible to move military fuel by other means, such as pipelines and ground transportation). Because of the enormous quantities of fuel required to support military operations in the Pacific and elsewhere, the military is increasingly aware of the tension between war plans and their underlying fuel logistics.