U.S. Department of Defense
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Strong Battery Supply Essential to Defense

July 31, 2023
A growing number of battlefield electronic applications, such as tactical drones, rely on specialized batteries as the power source.

Advanced battery technology may be essential for the latest electric vehicles, but it's also of vital concern for military capabilities and national security. As mobility and portability become increasingly important in the battle space, whether for human or robotic troops (see image above), effective defensive strategies require a reliable source of power. Thus, solid supply chains of batteries are of utmost importance for troop safety.

As Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen H. Hicks has made clear regarding battery technology, “America needs to lead the world.” The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) relies on a growing number of systems and equipment powered by batteries, including for autonomous vehicles and directed-energy weapons.

The impact of available supply chains on battlefield batteries was detailed in the 2022 report, “Securing Defense-Critical Supply Chains.” Published by the DoD’s Office of Industrial Base Policy, the report was a response to Executive Order 14017, which directed assessment of potential supply-chain risks and strategies to mitigate or overcome them. 

To strengthen the supply chain for batteries, the DoD tries to align military and industrial standards for batteries whenever possible, to ensure that defense requirements can be met affordably and realistically. At present, the DoD typically acquires batteries in small volumes by means of short-term contracts. By working more closely with industry, and through longer-term contracts, the DoD hopes to reduce the high non-recurring-engineering (NRE) costs typically associated with tactical battery design and development.

About the Author

Jack Browne | Technical Contributor

Jack Browne, Technical Contributor, has worked in technical publishing for over 30 years. He managed the content and production of three technical journals while at the American Institute of Physics, including Medical Physics and the Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology. He has been a Publisher and Editor for Penton Media, started the firm’s Wireless Symposium & Exhibition trade show in 1993, and currently serves as Technical Contributor for that company's Microwaves & RF magazine. Browne, who holds a BS in Mathematics from City College of New York and BA degrees in English and Philosophy from Fordham University, is a member of the IEEE.

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