Plan Your Backup Power Like a Green Beret
The United States military is divided into the Army, Air Force , Maries, Navy, and Space Force. Army Special Forces, also known as Green Berets, serve as America’s foremost experts on unconventional warfare and foreign internal defense.
12-man Special Forces teams often operate in austere, remote locations, requiring the team to be highly independent. Adapting the Special Forces planning guidelines to power generation can ensure a similar level of energy dependability.
Army Special Forces “Green Berets” often talk about the core competencies of shoot, move, and communicate as keys to mission success. Of these, communications within the team and with outside assets, such as aircraft, headquarters, or other teams is most critical.
Special Forces teams develop redundancy into their combinations plan to ensure that even when systems fail, they are still able to make contact. Green Berets use the PACE, which represents Primary, Alternate, Contingency, and Emergency, as a framework for ensuring continuity of communications under all circumstances.
The PACE framework is designed to start with the highest quality, or most ideal, communications tool and move down to less secure or harder to use systems. The Primary and Alternate means fulfill all or most of the team’s communications needs, while Contingency and Emergency only accomplish some of the requirements.
This might mean sacrificing security (encryption) or the ability to transmit data. The whole team understands the “PACE plan” and rigorously tests these systems before going on a mission or training event.
Sample PACE Communications Plan:
- P (Primary) – SATCOM Voice
- A (Alternate) – SATCOM data
- C (Contingency) – civilian satellite phone
- E (Emergency) – local cell phone
Prudent businesses and homeowners can use a similar PACE approach to planning redundant power to keep the most important systems operating. To start this process, the planner needs to understand which systems are most critical to continued operation and begin to develop options to keep these powered in the event that the primary power source (the power grid) fails.
As in the communications PACE plan, the lower letters don’t provide the same level of capability as the higher ones do. For example, utility power provides electricity to all home systems but a homeowner might chose to only power critical systems (e.g., refrigerator, A/C, garage doors) with a standby generator. Continuing the progression, she might have battery backups (either portable or permanently installed) for even fewer systems.
Sample PACE Power Plan:
- P (Primary) – utility power
- A (Alternate) – standby generator
- C (Contingency) – battery backup (UPS for computers, lithium-ion battery for cell phone)
- E (Emergency) – charge equipment off DC power (or inverter) in vehicle
While most homeowners and business operators have clear plans for the top and bottom parts of the PACE power plan, many need to conduct an honest assessment of capabilities for the middle letters (Alternate and Contingency). Adding a standby generator to power key circuits can fill an important gap in your PACE plan, minimizing disruption to operations or lifestyle.
As they say in Special Forces: “failing to plan is planning to fail.” So develop your power plan before there is an issue!
Diesel Blog Team
| 3/23/2020 1:17:21 PM
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