In the long term, Jackson prefers renewable energy such as wind, solar and biomass, but he said those options are still many years away from replacing oil in the United States.
“We're talking about a generational problem,” he said. “Renewables are not going to solve this problem today. My first concern is to reduce the cause of the conflict overseas by reducing our reliance on foreign fossil fuels. Then we should develop more efficient, cleaner uses of fuels.”
While North America may soon produce its own energy supplies, the United States would still be at least somewhat tied to the Middle East as long as European allies are dependent on Middle Eastern oil, Jackson said.
“I don't think we've put the level of effort into this that we should. The Secretary of Defense has said we should make the defeat of the IED (improvised explosive device) be the Manhattan Project of our time,” Jackson said.
The Manhattan Project was the effort to develop a nuclear bomb and end World War II.
“My reflection is that the Manhattan Project of our time should be getting off a reliance of fossil fuels (in the Middle East),” Jackson said. “That would lead to the defeat of the IED.”