The overarching goal of the Operation Free campaign is to recruit, train, and engage veterans to provide rational, personal, and values-based arguments which effectively frame climate change as a national security issue. Through Operation Free, Truman’s Energy Program aims to: 1) Decrease oil dependency and diversify the domestic energy portfolio; 2) Reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the global effects of climate change; and 3) Develop and implement a strategy to secure critical energy infrastructure.

Operation Free - Truman Project

Grant given: 2017

Grant amount: 430.000 NOK

Operation Free recruits and trains veterans to communicate the impact of U.S. energy policy on the country’s national security. In recent years, the campaign has evolved into a grasstops effort, leveraging high ranking retired military officials and national security validators to educate strategic policymakers on the national security imperative to reduce our reliance on a single source of energy, and to mitigate the threats posed by climate change. Currently, the program has a nation-wide network of veterans and national security surrogates, including 25 high-level former military officers.

This group has a record of being trusted by both Democrats and Republicans and serving as key validators on the connection between climate change and the nation’s energy security. In 2012, research by the Harvard Center for Public Leadership identified the military as the most trusted profession in America; in conservative communities, trust for veterans and members of the military is stronger than among the general public. Our validators carry significant weight, especially with moderate Republicans in Congress and in state-level offices, and target their communications toward elected and military officials, opinion leaders, and mainstream Americans that have been unmoved by traditional environmental messages. Using first-hand accounts of their time in the military and the consequences of the United States’ energy policies on national security, veterans can effectively frame oil dependence as a patriotic issue, providing rational and personal arguments for innovation and principled policy. Our validators have written scores of op-eds, which have appeared in influential national media outlets such as the New York Times, Politico, and the Wall Street Journal, in an effort to combat climate change, support clean energy development, and prevent the roll-back of environmental protections.

The project has recruited a number of veterans that appears as validators in public. You can view their profiles here: <>

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