The Burden: Fossil Fuel, The Military and National Security
The Burden is the first film to examine how America’s dependence on fossil fuels poses serious immediate and long-term national security threats – and how the military is taking a leading role in the battle for clean, renewable energy.
About the film:
The U.S. military is currently the world's single largest institutional consumer of oil, and the United States alone uses 20% of the total global supply. The film highlights how that heavy reliance upon oil and other fossil fuels poses a variety of national security concerns, including:
• The vulnerability of troops and loss of lives and money resulting from the need to protect and defend fuel convoys in war zones like Afghanistan and Iraq,
• The strategic and economic costs of keeping oil rich areas of the world open,
• How climate change will increase the need for the military to respond to natural disasters, and other emerging global security challenges.
The Burden presents the determined voices of those within the military and across the political spectrum who advocate for breaking America’s addiction to fossil fuels as essential to improving our national security.
Featuring high-level active duty and retired military leaders, elected officials and others, the film illustrates a tale of energy innovation. Some of our country’s most vital consumer technologies emerged out of military needs, such as the Internet and GPS, and the military is poised to play the same role again with energy.
However, as the film highlights, the fossil fuel industry’s powerful political influence poses major challenges to successfully developing renewable energy alternatives, even within the military. But the resolute advocates featured in The Burden are determined to break the energy impasse in order to improve American security and prosperity.
FEATURED IN THE FILM
Gen. James Amos, Commandant, U.S. Marine Corps
Gen. Anthony Zinni, USMC (Ret.), former commander, U.S. Central Command
Hon. Ray Mabus, Secretary of the Navy
Hon. Sharon Burke, Former Assistant Secretary of Defense
Hon. Dennis McGinn, Assistant Secretary of the Navy
Cdr. Blake McBride, USN, Deputy Chief, Task Force Climate Change
Col. Bob Charette, USMC, Director, Expeditionary Energy Office
Vice Adm. Phil Cullom, USN, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations
Capt. Wayne Porter, USN, former strategist, Joint Chiefs of Staff
Hon. Bob Inglis (R-SC), former U.S. Congressman
Mayor Gregory Ballard (R), City of Indianapolis (USMC - Ret.)
Lt. Col. David Preston, U.S. Army
Robin Eckstein, Iraq war veteran
Jon Gensler, West Point graduate, Iraq war veteran
Steven Mentor, Afghanistan and Iraq war veteran
Reviews & Awards
Best of 2016, Science Books and Films
"Highly Recommended. Sorkin’s film breaks new ground. It is a cost-benefit analysis of US military dependency on fossil fuels, a consequence of the general US dependence on these fuels. (A) well-made, very watchable documentary...of interest to anyone interested in national security."
- Educational Media Reviews Online
"The Burden opens doors to meaningful discussions about the military's reliance on fossil fuels and vividly illuminates how oil dependence is increasingly a national security concern.”
– Stephanie Kline, USMC veteran, Environmental Defense Fund military energy analyst
“The Burden makes a compelling case about the importance of energy security. Dependence on fossil fuels is not just an environmental concern: it’s a matter of national security. That’s why the military invests in renewable and efficient energy, and why the nation should invest in a clean energy future.”
– Sharon Burke, Former Assistant Secretary of Defense
"If there’s one image that lingers after viewing The Burden, it’s the ubiquitous shots of troops — from every service in every theater — trudging around with massive fuel hoses over their shoulders. The film underscores where the military finds itself as the new century begins: Liquid petroleum is its lifeblood, but those fuel lines are an oppressive tether.”
– Wyatt Olson, Stars and Stripes
"Editor's Choice. Highly Recommended. An accurate story about the military's reliance on fossil fuel... Plus, it shows how the military is using energy efficiency and alternative energy."
– Science Books and Films (AAAS)
Winner, Best Documentary Audience Award
Long Beach International Film Festival, New York
Winner, Best of Festival,
Wild and Scenic Film Festival
Official Selection, Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital
Official Selection, Macon Film Festival, Georgia
Official Selection, Heartland Film Festival, Indianapolis, Indiana
Official Selection, AREDAY, Aspen, Colorado
Official Selection, San Francisco Green Film Festival
Official Selection, Princeton Environmental Film Festival
U.S. Army War College's National Security Seminar
NATO Clean Energy training exercise, Hungary
West Point, and currently in the curriculum
Annapolis Naval Academy
Privately at NATO Headquarters, Belgium
Privately at the Pentagon and White House