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MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — The Air Force will seek to certify its entire aircraft fleet to fly with synthetic fuel by 2010, according to a Pentagon official.

William C. Anderson, Air Force assistant secretary for installations, environment and logistics, said the service is committed to energy conservation and is exploring alternatives to fossil fuels for future consumption.

“Somewhere in the near term there’s got to be a different approach to energy and how we power our homes, our cars, our planes,” he said last week during an interview at Misawa. “There is no single solution that we think is going to be the silver bullet.”

Current energy alternative project tests include hydrogen- powered vehicles at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, and the world’s largest solar array at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., capable of generating 18 megawatts of peak electrical energy.

Last summer, a synthetic fuel blend was successfully tested in a B-52 at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., and then again in cold weather at Minot Air Force Base, N.D.

“We are then now to move into testing and certifying that fuel in other air frames and other engines,” Anderson said.

Misawa was one of several regional Air Force bases Anderson visited on his way to a global aviation conference in Thailand, where he was to talk about the Air Force energy program and cooperative efforts in the United States between the Air Force and civil aviation to use airfields.

At the bases his aim was to talk with airmen and their families to see “what’s working and what’s not,” information he’ll use when advising Air Force senior leaders, he said.

Other issues he discussed:

nAir Force dormitories: The 2007 budget submission to Congress represented the last step to bring Air Force dormitories up to adequate standard. “Over the last six years, there’s been an investment of close to a billion dollars across the Air Force to complete the task,” Anderson said. “I hope the airmen see the improvement in the dormitories because they are significant.”

nJapan’s purse strings: Anderson said there’s no indication Japan will reduce its financial support to U.S. military bases. “They have been very committed to the relationship with the United States,” he said, “and I see no indication that there’s going to be any dramatic changes anywhere.”

nWake Island: Anderson wouldn’t say whether the Pacific island’s military installations, damaged in last fall’s super typhoon, would be rebuilt. “It’s being assessed,” he said. “It’s up and operational, but obviously there are significant issues that have to be dealt with as we move down the road.”

nGuam: Expect more construction at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, associated with the new mission bed-downs, such as the Global Hawks, Anderson said, without being more specific. The base also is part of “joint-basing” on Guam and will be affected by the movement of Marines out of Okinawa, he said.

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
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