President Obama Friday nominated Sharon Burke, an energy researcher at a national security think tank researcher, to be director of operational energy plans and programs at the Defense Department, a new position created by Congress to lead development of a “transformational” strategy for acquiring and deploying energy required for training, moving, and sustaining military forces and weapons platforms.

If confirmed by the Senate, Burke, currently vice president at the Washington Center for a New American Security (CNAS), will be principal adviser to the secretary and deputy secretary of defense on operational energy plans, and will by law be able to communicate directly with them on those issues without having to get approval from other DoD officials.

In creating the new position, Congress was primarily focused on reducing energy demand and costs in military operations through new policy initiatives at the Pentagon to boost conservation and efficiency efforts at forward bases and develop alternative fuels to increasingly expensive petroleum-based products.

Before working at CNAS, Burke was a member of the policy planning staff at the State Department, a country director in the Department of Defense and a speechwriter to the secretary of defense. She also worked in the energy and materials program of the U.S. Office of Technology Assessment, the new-defunct agency that advised Congress on technology issues, the White House said.