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Training & Education Command (TECOM)


Training & Education Command (TECOM)

United States Marine Corps

Former assistant commandant visits Parris Island

By Lance Cpl. Katherine Keleher | | September 15, 2009


General Robert Magnus, former Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, spoke to nearly 150 Marines and sailors, Sept. 18, about global climate changes and its impact on
national security.

Magnus, who retired in July 2008, now serves as a member of the Military Advisory Board for the Center for Naval Analysis, a nonprofit research organization that helps government leaders develop policy.

Topics discussed at the townhall were released in the beginning of the year by the organization regarding the availability and burning of fossil fuels as well as the nation’s delicate
electricity grid.

One of the points Magnus spoke of was the United States’ dependence on oil.

He explained that it weakens international leverage, undermines foreign policy and enmeshes the nation with unstable or
hostile regimes.

After explaining this, Magnus moved into discussing the inefficient use and over-reliance on oil that undermines combat effectiveness and its costly price.  This leads to over-dependence on fossil fuels and can cause economic instability. If the nation’s economy is not steady, this can cause issues in national security, he said.

Finally, Magnus addressed the fragile domestic electricity grid that makes military installations vulnerable to deliberate or accidental break-downs.

“We need to have a better handle on three things as it relates to energy,” Magnus said. “Our power generation and what our energy sources are; our problems with energy transmissions; and our consumption problem.

“I’m proud to say that the Marine Corps is a leader in these areas.  They aren’t the only ones, but they’re certainly a leader.  Here at Parris Island, they’ve cut their energy consumption by 33 percent in a little over
20 years.”

Beaufort  Mayor Billy Keyserling was in attendance at the townhall and said the Depot’s neighboring communities of Beaufort County can learn from the armed forces increased prominence on
energy efficiency.

“The Department of Defense is going where we all ought to go in terms of energy efficiency and conservation,” Keyserling said.

Magnus also went into stressing the need to investigate other energy sources to reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign fossil fuels and for Americans to watch their own energy use.

“We’ve got to change the way we live.  It doesn’t mean we have to lower our standard of living, but if we don’t do this, it will lower our standard of living,” Magnus explained. “It’s a long road, but it’s a road worth taking.”

Brian Flewelling, Beaufort County councilman, said Magnus’ message is something that should be heard throughout the country.

“It’s not enough to take home what we heard here today, but we have to spead the word,” he said.  “There were only 150 to 200 people in here (the Depot Chapel) today, but there are thousands across the county who could benefit from what we heard today.”