Boo! Happy Halloween, CANA Connection readers!
What a treat this past quarter has been!
As we gear up for the spookiest day of the year, we’re also looking ahead to the future of electric mobility and Energy Operations. Our military forces are pushing hard to increase energy resilience, optimize resources, and reliably power the technology of the future. With the world’s focus on reducing carbon emissions and transitioning to cleaner energy sources, electric vehicles and improving our mobility infrastructure are becoming increasingly popular. In fact, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), there were over 10 million electric cars on the world’s roads in 2021. In this issue, we’ll explore the latest developments in electric mobility and operations, including new technologies, policies, and initiatives that are shaping the future of energy. So sit back, relax, and enjoy this electrifying edition of CANA Connection!
Operational Energy and the Military
Shawn Charchan | Technical Director of Energy Solutions
Adam Evans | Principal Operations Research Analyst
Take a deep dive into energy innovation and transformation. CANAers Lauren Dimberg and Kassie McRostie plumb the depths with Adam Evans and Shawn Charchan and talk about the military’s operational energy roadmap and what excites them about the future.
Kassie McRostie (KM): How did you become involved with the Department of the Navy Advanced Energy Research Toolkit (DON AERT) project?
Shawn Charchan (SC): I’ve been privileged to work next to some amazing analysts and the DON energy director is a supportive and trusting client. All I had to do was listen to all of them and this project emerged naturally. Adam Evans was the thought leader here.
Adam Evans (AE): It’s been a winding road for me, from Army sustainment studies to Marine logistics-over-the-shore (LOTS), finally to the DON energy client’s initial interest in Navy tanker sufficiency. We wanted to look at the problem in a different way, and he was happy to support that.
Lauren Dimberg (LD): What is the DON AERT project and how did it come about?
SC: DON AERT is a 50/50 split between building tools and performing analysis to support client questions. It is simply the next stage in a decade-old relationship.
AE: The genesis of AERT lies in the recent energy transformation we see in developments like electric vehicles, solar and wind farms, and advanced battery tech like the power wall. We recognized that the military needs to think differently about the potential of the technology and develop ways to incorporate energy considerations in combat, beyond the fuel-delivery paradigm of traditional energy analysis.
KM: How important is DON AERT to the advancement of energy efficiency?
SC: Efficiency is a term that I am unabashedly opinionated about. When I think about efficiency, I frame it through the lens of being able to more effectively put “steel on target” as our client says. It is a bonus if we reduce environmental impacts, but we are talking about warfare here.
AE: In the early days of the energy efficiency movement, it appeared that efficiency could handicap the mission, so military professionals exhibited skepticism over the prospects of real energy change. Recent developments in energy technology, however, are starting to show that energy efficiency and improved mission performance are becoming more correlated. DON AERT can evidence that correlation, giving power to the importance of energy efficiency.
LD: What does the future look like for DON AERT?
SC: Our government sponsor for this effort is an intellectual powerhouse and very driven. He has contributed to CANA, being viewed as a thought leader within the larger Operational Energy community. The future of AERT is that CANA will continue to build our tools and will not only serve as a thought leader, but will have a set of tools that enable us to provide the most well-developed energy models the Navy or the other services have.
KM: What role has AI played in the Operational Energy community and DON AERT?
SC: We have quite a way to go before we incorporate AI. It can enable us to generate novel ways of using emergent energy-related technologies to operate in new ways. Look up alpha go move 37. To get there we have to be pragmatic and practical, though. We will get there, but these things take time.
LD: What are the energy innovations you’re most excited about? What do you think is going to be a game-changer?
SC: What a great question! How does near-field and far-field wireless power transmission affect a destroyer with a cluster of unmanned air, surface, and subsurface systems? Should power be used for directed energy weapons or Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR)? Where precisely in the Philippine archipelago should a geothermal energy plant be placed?
AE: Coordinated drone operations facilitating logistics, communications hub operations, and smart ISR mapping, not to mention coordinated fires. While the nature of war will remain with us, unmanned systems are changing its conduct. I wonder what humans’ role in managing and coordinating these AI-informed drone swarms will be in the future? Energy advances brought us to this point.
KM: What are the main obstacles the military forces face in using emergent OE technologies?
SC: That’s an easy one to answer: the valley of death, as they say in the acquisition community. Getting from research of a technology to a product being delivered to the fielded forces is always very challenging.
AE: Acquisition is a tough challenge. My personal challenge in this field has always stemmed from data availability. Notional or surrogate data is great to a point, but eventually you need real representative data to proceed with a study. The military has always been quick with ideas and funding, but slow to back that up with the effort and effective guidance needed to collect, clean, and make relevant data available.
TEAM CANA MEMBER SHOWCASE
Will Berry | Principal Program Manager
Will Berry, CANA Principal Program Manager, talks with CANA Digital Media Coordinator Kassie McRostie about his passion for electrifying transportation, the status of the eTHOR program, and how he plans to bring CANA’s Electric Mobility Infrastructure (EMI) Market to life. Join us for an electrifying discussion.
Kassie McRostie (KM): As an advocate of electrification, what excites you and/or worries you about how things are progressing in the United States?
Will Berry (WB): In 2020, just three years back, Electric Vehicle (EV) sales in the U.S. passed 250,000 for the first time. This year, the market will jump past 1 million. In Q3, Tesla remains the undisputed leader in EV sales, with Ford a distant #2 on the list, selling just over 20,000 EVs. Most analysts expect a flood of new EVs in the coming three years, with the number of available EV products likely to double by 2027. With this changing landscape, EV sales volume growth in the U.S. is expected to continue. Of late, product availability has grown exponentially, while consumer acceptance has grown in a more linear fashion. Those trends will likely continue, making for some very interesting market dynamics in the years ahead. Change is never easy.
My concerns are the needed volume of infrastructure to be able to satisfy the market and the reliability of that infrastructure. Up-front costs in rural areas can be higher, especially for DCFC stations, since installations in rural areas are more likely to require expensive electrical service upgrades.
KM: Where do you see CANA fitting into this electric mobility market?
WB: CANA can provide integration of, and connection to, the disparate authorities having jurisdiction over electrification opportunities and requirements. Of course, we consider our ability to educate about the market to be a huge capability as well.
KM: What differences do you see between working in the commercial sector and working with federal clients, if any?
WB: Each sector brings its own benefits and complexities. For example, the fiscal year for the Department of Defense (DoD) begins on October 1st and ends on September 30th of the following calendar year. Something so simple has a profound effect on timelines and funding. There’s a lot to understand about Dept of Defense contracting strategies, but the only real way to be more effective is through “doing”. On the other hand, commercial entities have the responsibility of quarterly reporting and must remain flexible to ever changing market conditions.
Regardless, I think it comes down to people and communicating.
KM: Can you give us a quick overview of the eTHOR project you’re working on?
WB: eTHOR is an acronym for the Electric Tactical Humanitarian Operations Resource. It evolved from a program called THOR. It was developed by Verizon Frontline as an advanced network technology built for first responders, and developed over three decades of partnership with the public safety community. The Verizon communication stack was harnessed on a modified Ford 650 - an enormous truck. It showed great promise right away to support humanitarian disaster situations.
It’s important to note this was estimated as a three year project build which got reduced to an 18-month delivery. So with development completed, a number of people, including former Marine LtCol Brandon Newell, had the vision to develop something that keeps the core attributes of mobile communications, but on a smaller, yet still powerful, battery electric vehicle platform and a smaller, powerful, communication set. And that’s what led us to our stakeholder team of DANNAR and AWS. With the tight timeline, a key focus was development that was utilizing commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) technology.
KM: What does eTHOR bring to the table that sets it apart?
WB: Regarding eTHOR, I mentioned it was developed from proven COTS technologies that, when integrated together, are like a Swiss Army knife of capabilities. It provides exportable energy and a powerful communication platform that, in turn, can have ancillary tools added such as radar and sensors. One of the things I feel very fortunate about with the eTHOR project is the dedicated stakeholders I worked with to collectively develop it. It starts from the top with governmental leadership and funding from Operational Energy Capability Improvement Fund (OECIF) and Naval Information Warfare Center-Pacific. Without those two organizations leaning in, it never would have happened and on such a short timeline.
There was also great leadership with our commercial stakeholders, namely DANNAR and AWS. These two companies are on the leading edge of their respective technologies. Over the past two years our partnerships on the eTHOR prototype have resulted in an all electric, zero emission, 375 kWh rugged, mobile and exportable power station - the DANNAR Mobile Power Source (MPS) - coupled with an AWS Innovation, Connectivity and Experimentation (ICE) platform that supports IoT methodology, Private 4G LTE / 5G connectivity, multiple commercial connectivity options via TERRA, to include Satcom (Starlink), and commercial connectivity options. What’s particularly exciting are that elements of the eTHOR are now actively supporting real-world operations.
KM: What about CANA? What makes it unique to you?
WB: With CANA, I think it has always been about people, expertise, and relationships. It’s how you get things done. eTHOR is a great example of that.
KM: What does the future look like for eTHOR and the partnership with CANA?
WB: Our team’s modeling, simulation, and analysis of eTHOR and its capabilities are ongoing. We are also continuing to conduct eTHOR demonstrations to show a broader military and civilian audience the capabilities of the eTHOR platform and to gain feedback from potential end users. That might include input from soldiers who could possibly use the eTHOR in a future battlespace, or it might be feedback from a civilian public safety officer who is helping a local community in a myriad of safety-related activities. In fact, we will be bringing eTHOR to Southern California in a few short weeks for a live demonstration to stakeholders. We’re always looking for opportunities to impress upon people eTHOR’s potential.
Stay tuned for a more in-depth discussion with Will Berry in an upcoming CANA podcast! If you want to know more - now - about the CANA EMI Initiative or about the eTHOR project, you can reach out to Will Berry at: email@example.com.
CANA shares electric mobility message
Cherish Joostberns | Principal Communications Analyst & Resource Manager
Employees of a certain age might remember “Meetings, Bloody Meetings” - a 1976 corporate training film starring John Cleese about a man dreaming he’s on trial for holding disorganized and terrible meetings. As corporate training films go, it is - improbably - a Monty Python-esque “classic”. And for all of us that ever watched annual training films, we know that’s an accomplishment! We’ve included the link to the original here, for anyone looking for a Halloween trick or treat!
With CANA being a remote company across multiple time zones, we think we’ve put a pin in running tight, productive meetings. When we have the opportunity to travel and meet the team, clients, and peers, we know it’s a big deal. Face-to-face events allow for learning and out-of-the-box thinking in a way a Zoom meeting or boardroom cannot. Conferences, so many conferences, will have their own sets of headaches - weak wifi, disappointing pastries, bad microphones, or even empty seats - but they are almost always a net positive in who comes to the table and what CANA gets out of every one of them.
We know we’ve crossed paths with many of you! In the past few months, CANA attended a number of live events so we could engage in, and promote, electric mobility ideas, initiatives, and opportunities. We’ve met a lot of people, shook a lot of hands, and shared a lot of passion.
First stop this August was Newport News, Virginia, for the Association of Marine Corps Logisticians (AMCL) Symposium. A great many of the CANA team were there, by way of first-hand Marine Corps and Navy logistics experience and their current CANA roles. Rob Cranston, CANA President; Jesse Kemp, Principal Program Manager; Tommy Kline, Principal Logistics IT Integrator; Terry Hagen, Principal Logistics Analyst; Jerome Dixon, Senior Operations Research Analyst, and Greg Lewis, Principal Logistics Analyst, among others, were panelists, moderators, and audience members for sessions like “Making 21st Century Logisticians”; “The Fully Burdened Cost of Energy”; and “Advanced Manufacturing”. These are the topics that continue to push issues of energy resiliency, security, diversification, and innovation to the forefront.
Several members of CANA flew to Hawaii in late summer for the Operational Energy Logistics Symposium, to include Greg Lewis and CANA’s Technical Director of Energy Solutions, Shawn Charchan. Of note, the symposium was a public introduction of the Advanced Operational Energy Toolkit (AERT), an ongoing effort CANA is establishing within the energy analytics community to research and explore energy systems and emergent energy-related technologies. It will enable users to understand how this emergent tech will enable future forces to use energy as a battlefield enabler and operate in new and novel ways
Will Berry, CANA Principal Program Manager and lead for CANA Electric Mobility Initiatives, also attended the Tactical EV Expo in San Diego. Will met with an array of commercial vendors and federal and military stakeholders interested in developing an already available electric and hydrogen tactical transportation solutions. It was a perfect opportunity to share the continued progress of CANA’s partner, the SoCal Tech Bridge, and the eTHOR prototype partnership. SoCal Tech Bridge Director Ben Cohen was on hand as well, speaking about the challenges and opportunities in bringing electrification to the battlespace.
CANA wrapped up the government’s fiscal year in late September at the Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar Air Show. When people stopped looking up, they checked out the ingenuity on hand at the Air Show’s Tech & Innovation Expo, where CANAers Will Berry, Chris Cichy, Principal AI Analyst, and Shawn Charchan were gathered with partners like AWS and DANNAR LLC to bring the eTHOR prototype and electric energy excitement to literally hundreds of thousands of visitors. Elements of eTHOR have already been involved in real-world missions, and that continued validation of its relevance is always exciting to share.
If you attended any of these events, or would like to connect with anyone who attended, we would love to hear from you! Let’s keep the coffee hot, the pastries plentiful, and the conversation going!
Join us on the CANA CONNECTION PODCAST
The CANA Connection offers insights from the team CANA experts into analytics, logistics, supply chain operations, big data, and more. Check out some of our recent sessions. https://www.canallc.com/podcast
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The CANA Connection Newsletter July 2023 © CANA LLC. All rights reserved