Air Conditioning The Military Costs More Than NASA's Entire Budget

According to Steve Anderson, a retired brigadier general who served as Gen. Petraeus' chief logistician in Iraq, the Department of defence spends $US20 billion air conditioning tents and temporary structures for the military. That's more than NASA's entire $US19 billion annual budget.

That cost comes out of the fuel needed to heat and cool tents on the front lines. However, the trucks that transport this fuel have become targets for IEDs used by the insurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to Anderson, at least 1000 soldiers have been killed moving fuel.

Anderson believes that a simple solution would be to instead spray tents with polyurethane foam, kind of like the foam sealant you would use in your own home. In fact, an active $US95 million contract to insulate tents is producing $US1 billion in cost avoidance, proving it's both safer and greener than air conditioning the desert. Doing this while also searching for other energy-efficient solutions would save both money and lives.

The DOD just needs to hurry up and take on this kind of initiative. [The World via Grist, Image Credit: mumbojumbo /]


    They could also try solar panels- either ones adapted for the structures (tents, containers, whatever), or a large central array to distribute power to the whole camp or small portions of it. Along with insulation and backup diesel generators it'd be a good money and lives saving solution. -very expensive initially of course but obviously paying for itself many times over, over time.

      I thought the whole point of them using semi-permanent bases with tan-coloured tents etc was for some element of camouflage. As an enemy pilot, I think you'd be on the look-out for a flat sparky black patch in the middle of a desert.

        Probably not a lot of Taliban pilots..

          not any more...

    Hah. Leave Iraq then take that money and actually do something that will benefit mankind - double NASA's budget.

    Good plan? Yes I think so.

    American's never cease to amaze me. They'll happily spend money going to war but cut find to scientific discoveries. There's some long term thinkin' there!

      It's certainly a case of pulling up tracks from behind the train to lay them in front, but not all research has been cut. In fact, the department of energy is heavily supported by the Obama administration. Why was The Explorers/NASA specifically cut? Because we have more immediate concerns right here.

    So,.. 20 billion,... if that's what they're paying for aircon, imagine what they're paying for the military as a whole... The US is slowly spinning around the toilet bowl.!!

    They should probably spend that on their own country (E.G disaster recovery, food industry etc). Instead of " protecting (I'm using protect very loosely here)"...

    Gotta spend money to make money, what country do you think the fuel comes from?

    NASAs budget is not that big in the whole scheme of things, when black budgets come in around $600b/yr which is higher than the total pentagon budget

    It's a crime that the NASA budget is as low as it is now, and seeing this just makes it 10x worse.

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