The Hill

Former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), President Obama’s nominee for Defense secretary, said Thursday that he will make the Pentagon’s efforts to boost energy efficiency and alternative fuels a major focus if he wins Senate confirmation.

Hagel, appearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, cast the programs as a way to help lower the military’s enormous energy budget, which he said is probably in the $18 billion-per-year range.

“Anything we can do to make any aspect of securing our country more cost effective, we need to look at. I would make that a high priority if I am confirmed and go to the Defense Department, to see how we do that, how we continue to do that, because . . . it is clearly in the interest of our country, our resources and our people,” Hagel told the panel.

However, some of the programs have come under criticism from GOP lawmakers, who have objected to a major Navy demonstration program that’s paying far more for biofuels than traditional fuels.

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