In a letter organized by GAIN Strategic Advisor Major General James A. “Spider” Marks (retired), eighteen retired military leaders from the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps urged President Joe Biden to reverse his opposition to fossil fuels and support domestic energy development. Their letter, which was exclusively covered by Fox News, outlines the national security necessity for the production and transportation of U.S. energy resources in the face of ongoing global energy crisis.
The generals acknowledge Russia’s invasion into Ukraine has upended the global supply chain of natural gas and crude oil, but President Biden and his administration have failed to adequately respond to these developments. Specifically, the group writes “recent domestic policy decisions have limited crude oil development and restricted our access to critical supplies, such as the cancelation of the Keystone XL pipeline permit, a project that would have brought Canadian crude to the U.S. Additional regulatory uncertainty and restrictions have severely curtailed the construction of energy infrastructure and refining capacity, which have constrained U.S. energy development and growth.”
The letter follows the signing of President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, which imposes new taxes and regulations that hamstring American energy producers.
General Marks and his fellow military leaders make the clear national security case for energy independence. Prior to 2021, increased domestic oil and gas production allowed the U.S. to reduce reliance on foreign energy sources, and offset mounting threats from China, Russia, and other maligned nations while strengthening our international partnerships. Without ready access to affordable and plentiful energy, the country risks a future where our adversaries have an upper hand in critical strategic geopolitical battles. In a stark warning, they write “we simply cannot allow that to happen.”
Marks and the retired officers believe that if domestic energy production capacity diminishes, “we risk reverting to a scenario where we will have to rely on foreign rivals to meet our energy demands.” Marks and the retired officers said that increased domestic production would also increase the U.S.’ “geopolitical advantage and support our allies abroad.”
Full text of the letter below:
September 28, 2022
President Joseph R. Biden
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President,
In support of United States national security, we are writing to encourage you and your administration to use all the powers at your disposal to increase the development of energy resources from United States and North America, including crude oil and natural gas.
The immediacy of global and geopolitical challenges necessitate the United States – once again – reassert its role as moral and economic leader, a role we can only successfully take if we have access to plentiful and affordable energy.
Many of the challenges our world is experiencing today come in large part because of Russia’s unprovoked attack on, and ongoing war with, Ukraine, which has upset the global energy market. Unfortunately recent domestic policy decisions have limited crude oil development and restricted our access to critical supplies, such as the cancelation of the Keystone XL pipeline permit, a project that would have brought Canadian crude to the U.S. Additional regulatory uncertainty and restrictions have severely curtailed the construction of energy infrastructure and refining capacity, which have constrained U.S. energy development and growth.
While the consequences of these policies were masked during the economic downturn of COVID-19, the global growth of energy demand over the past two years has forced a time of reckoning. This has led U.S. officials to ask foreign nations to fill the energy supply gap. Some of these nations – while they may purport to be allies of the United States – do not support the principles of freedom, democracy, and liberty; and instead serve their own self-interests. As Lt. General H.R. McMaster stated in recent testimony, “It is self-defeating to constrain U.S. oil and gas production and exports and then supplicate to the hostile states of Venezuela and Iran to compensate for energy shortages.”
If the United States’ production capacity diminishes, we risk reverting to a scenario where we will have to rely on foreign rivals to meet our energy demands. To our credit, the United States has become a net oil exporter, diversifying global supplies. Our role as a purveyor to the international market is paramount, not just to prevent market volatility and avoid major price fluctuations, but also to increase our geopolitical advantage and support our allies abroad.
For more than two generations, the United States has stood as a hedge against authoritarian regimes and dictators around the globe and, time after time, the United States – in large part because of our access to low cost energy – has been able to put our finger on the scale to tip the balance of power in liberty’s favor. Without ready access to affordable and plentiful energy, we also risk a new reality where freedom’s adversaries will gain an upper hand in critical strategic geopolitical battles that could have negative consequences not just for citizens of the United States, but also for people around the globe.
We simply cannot allow that to happen.
Mr. President, we encourage you to support what is best for the people of the United States, our allies, and those seeking a better life around the world. Policies put into place during the last decade, including during your time as Vice President, allowed the United States to grow to global energy dominance. This put our nation in a strong economic and strategic position among our allies and our adversaries. With your leadership, we can attain our country’s energy aspirations and use energy as a foreign policy tool for good.
Please support all reasonable efforts to develop and leverage energy resources in the United States and across North America.
James “Spider” Marks, Major General, U.S. Army retired
James J. Carey, Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy retired
Robert Carey, Captain, U.S. Navy retired
Robert Harward, Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy retired
Mark Heinrich, Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy retired
Francis H. Kearney III, Lieutenant General, U.S. Army retired
Thomas Magness, Colonel, U.S. Army retired
Robert Maness, Colonel, U.S. Air Force retired
Brigham A. McCown, Commander, U.S. Navy retired
Tidal McCoy, former Acting Secretary of the Air Force
Ben Mixon, Lieutenant General, U.S. Army retired
Sergio de la Peña, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Western Hemisphere Affairs
Aaron Pluto, Major, U.S. Army retired
Bentley B. Rayburn, Major General, U.S. Air Force retired
Mastin Robeson, Major General, United States Marine Corps retired
E.G. “Buck” Shuler, Lieutenant General, U.S. Air Force retired
Greg Slavonic, former Acting Undersecretary of the Navy
James N. Stewart, Major General, U.S. Air Force retired
CC: Jake Sullivan, United States National Security Advisor
Brian Deese, Director of the United States National Economic Council