PACIFIC OCE AN DIVISION FEMA mission assignments were assigned to provide national and regional support to address possible medical facility shortages. Following a presidential declaration that a major disaster existed in the state of Hawaii, federal funding was made available to the state to utilize USACE-related emergency support measures. Implementation of alternate care facilities (ACFs) is a state-led and -managed process. Soon after, several Pacific territorial governments also declared a state of emergency. “We worked closely with the counties, the state, and our federal partners to identify the projected needs and evaluate sites based on their space requirements,” said Jeff Herzog, Honolulu District’s assessment team leader. “USACE was ready to provide several simple engineering solutions to a very challenging and complex problem.” Building on long-established government, territorial, and interagency relationships across the Pacific, the district was able to quickly respond to the FEMA mission assignments. With commercial travel restricted, the district site assessment team traveled via military airlift in April to the islands of Maui and Kauai, and later conducted its first-ever virtual technical site assessments from district headquarters May 6 and May 7 with FEMA, state of Hawaii, HHS, and Hawaii County officials seeking to have the North Hawaii Community Hospital and Kona Community Hospital medical locations evaluated for potential upgrades to ACFs. In addition to locations in Hawaii, USACE conducted technical planning and site assessments at Guam locations on mission assignment through FEMA, in partnership with HHS and the government of Guam. Due to travel restrictions, Honolulu District requested direct assistance from Naval Facilities Engineer Command
(NAVFAC)-Pacific and NAVFAC Marianas on Guam to provide engineering personnel support to complete the FEMA site-assessment mission for Guam. “This was the power of partnership at its finest,” said Lt. Col. Kathryn Sanborn, who was the Honolulu District commander during the first four months of the pandemic. “When USACE got the call to provide assistance quickly, NAVFAC stepped up to support us in the COVID-19 mission fight without a moment’s delay. This was the first time USACE has partnered to conduct such a joint mission. The need for time-critical assessments for the government of Guam made this partnership more crucial to the mission. NAVFAC Marianas’ assistance in getting the mission completed was invaluable.” The NAVFAC/USACE site-assessment mission partnership was unique, as the Army and Navy each conduct specific yet different engineering services for Guam. The U.S. Navy and NAVFAC Marianas provide nearly all routine military engineering and construction services for Guam, while USACE provides regulatory and civil works services, supports FEMA mission assignments for disaster response, and provides interagency and international services. FEMA-directed site assessments for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) were also conducted by locally based engineers as directed by the CNMI government. An island-based USACE representative, working in partnership with the American Samoa government, was able to conduct several time-critical assessments and provide necessary data to make informed decisions on potential ACF construction. The American Samoa government later augmented an existing medical facility to meet their medical needs using USACE ACF planning documents. n
ENGINEERING CENTER’S EXPERTISE ENHANCES U.S. INDO-PACIFIC REGIONAL PRESENCE BY DINO W. BUCHANAN, Honolulu District
or the nearly 50 personnel who provide world-class engineering services in Honolulu District’s Regional Engineering Center (REC) , being a part of America’s engineers in the Pacific means contributing to one of the most unique Pacific missions in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) .
The REC supports the Pacific Ocean Division (POD) region – whose expanse includes the reach of Indo-Pacific Command – with design, technical review, and architect-engineering contracting support, including a full range of technical services vital to the planning, design, and construction execution missions of the district. The REC also serves as an expanded center of engineering