Apr 242010

When I was in Officer Training School I nearly won the Wing Speech Contest with a satirical shot at the military’s mania for abreviations. I concocted a talk about my fictitious assignment to AFAC—The Air Force Abreviations Command, an organization whose staff sat around coming up with cool sounding acronyms.

Had I been better schooled in English I would have known to name AFAC as the Air Force Acronym Command  for it is the acronym that makes a new name out of the first letter of word in a name. Since then, interesting acronyms catch my attention.

One of my favorites has to be JOE which sounds so unlike the publication it stands for — the Joint Operating Environment, the vision of the future published for the Department of Defense (and the public) by the United States Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM).  The JOE “…seeks to provide the Joint Force an intellectual foundation upon which we will construct the concepts to guide our future force development.”

The JOE is actually a quite readable document which can be found here and downloaded as a portable document format (PDF).  JOE writes about the nature of war, trends which will influence the world’s security such as demographics, energy, food, water and climate change. JOE then discusses the contextual challenges we face from various regions and countries. Finally, JOE states the implications for the joint forces and future “opportunities.”

Most interesting is that JOE buys into Peak Oil theory. “Assuming the most optimistic scenario for improved petroleum production through enhanced recovery means, the development of non-conventional oils (such as oil shales or tar sands) and new discoveries, petroleum production will be hard pressed to meet the expected future demand of 118 million barrels per day.” The supply of oil could slip below demand as early as 2015 (per their charts).

It’s worth skimming through the JOE just to experience the thinking of the brightest in our military. If you want another analysis you can check out Charles Hughes Smith take on the JOE  where he also explains why we will probably be in Iraq and Afganistan for a very long time.

The point, though, is Peak Oil is becoming mainstream thinking.


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