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CONTENTS INTERVIEW WITH LT. GEN. TODD SEMONITE.......................................... 10 USACE Commanding General and Chief of Engineers BY BIL L COS T LOW, USACE Headquar ters


MOSUL DAM TASK FORCE DECLARES “MISSION COMPLETE,” DEPARTS IRAQ..................................................................... 28 BY MOSUL DA M TASK FORCE PROGR A M OF FICE

DIVISIONS NORTH ATLANTIC DIVISION....................................................................... 34 GREAT LAKES AND OHIO RIVER DIVISION.............................................. 44 MISSISSIPPI VALLEY DIVISION................................................................. 56 SOUTH ATLANTIC DIVISION....................................................................... 66 SOUTHWESTERN DIVISION ....................................................................... 76 NORTHWESTERN DIVISION ...................................................................... 86 SOUTH PACIFIC DIVISION........................................................................... 96

CONTENTS PACIFIC OCEAN DIVISION.............................................................................. 108 TRANSATLANTIC DIVISION ....................................................................... 120

CENTERS AND COMMANDS U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS MARINE DESIGN CENTER ............ 65 U.S. ARMY ENGINEER RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT CENTER....... 128 U.S. ARMY ENGINEERING AND SUPPORT CENTER, HUNTSVILLE....... 138 U.S. ARMY GEOSPATIAL CENTER ............................................................. 144 U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERSÂ INSTITUTE FOR WATER RESOURCES.......................................................................... 146 U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS FINANCE CENTER.......................... 149 249th ENGINEER BATTALION (PRIME POWER) ..................................... 150 412th THEATER ENGINEER COMMAND.................................................. 152 416th THEATER ENGINEER COMMAND.................................................. 154

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Your top priority is to “Revolutionize” the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). Could you tell us about this initiative and how it’s maturing? Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite: We’ve had a dramatic increase in construction requirements and an unprecedented number of natural disasters in the last three years. The disaster supplementals from Congress, and increasing construction missions from the Department of Veterans Affairs to U.S. Customs and Border Protection [CBP] have propelled our budget from $26 billion to more than $58 billion. We need to evolve to Revolutionize our delivery. Revolutionize corresponds with DOD’s [Department of Defense] three priorities: readiness, modernization, and reform. I prefer the word Revolutionize over reform, though. Reform has a negative connotation that an organization is broken – that isn’t the case with USACE. We are the world’s premier public engineering capability, but we can’t rest on our laurels. USACE is going to be to engineering what Uber is to taxicabs. You can go almost anywhere in the world and use Uber Eats to order lunch on your phone from a local restaurant and have it delivered to you by a company that we would never have thought about a few years ago. That’s the level of change we’re looking for to Revolutionize our command. Think of Google and Apple and how they’ve revolutionized the way we do things. Along with our growth in mission, America’s aging infrastructure requires a new way of thinking about project funding and we need to figure that out. We need to look around, harness emerging technologies and work with stakeholders to find innovative new ways of doing things – then have the courage and drive to implement real change. 10

Some of these tasks can be done internally – I call those below-theline efforts. This is a review of our processes to make sure they are efficient. Policies that made sense a few years ago don’t always work as intended down the road ... that means constantly streamlining and “leaning down” our processes. I’m asking leaders to make risk-informed decisions: We need to take risk with bureaucratic processes that don’t meet the intent of delivering the program. We will not take risk with integrity, law, or concrete and steel. This is about empowering people to get the bigger task done, to deliver the project on or ahead of schedule, at, or below price and never, ever compromising quality. If we can reduce bureaucracy by 50 percent, it will help us deliver the program that is increasing by 200 percent. Other things we need external help with – I call those abovethe-line efforts. Most of what we do is affected by regulation, policy, or law. Sometimes those things slow us down or cost more so there needs to be a conversation that helps us meet the spirit of that policy or regulation while getting the job done. The conversation needs to be: “Hold us responsible, but untie our hands so we can be more responsive.” I’ll get into more of that later. The bottom line is we’re questioning all of our processes and other agency processes that impact the way we do business, subject to our guiding principles of project management: 1) on or ahead of schedule, 2) at or under budget, and 3) never compromise quality. Could you give us an example of a below- and above-the-line effort? We issue a lot of permits and some of the most challenging have been 408 permits. These are for third party changes to a federal civil works project. So, if a municipality wants to install utility poles


Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, the 54th chief of engineers and commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), provides remarks during the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Olmsted Locks and Dam, Aug. 30, in Olmsted, Illinois. Modernizing America’s civil works infrastructure and finding new funding and speeding construction are priorities for USACE.

on a levee we have to review that project to ensure it doesn’t impact structural integrity. Over several years, we centralized approval at the HQ level when the expertise and capability existed at lower levels. By decentralizing, we empowered commanders to approve 408 permits. Ninety-nine percent of 408 decisions are delegated to the district level and the rest to divisions. We’ve eliminated the need for maintenance and repair permits to our projects which reduced the total number of required 408 Permits by about 20 percent. We’ve established a public database for stakeholders to track their 408 permit application status (permits.ops.usace.army.mil/orm-public). In the case of hiring additional real estate specialists for the customs and border mission, that was an above-the-line effort. We didn’t have direct hiring authority for that specialty and we didn’t have time to work through the normal hiring process. We reached out to the Army and Office of Personnel Management for some relief. When we don’t control a policy, we champion a change in bureaucratic policy or requirement to better achieve the desired outcome. As you move forward with the Revolutionize effort, do you have a specific priority? The highest priority is changing our culture to focus more on delivery. But if there is one internal priority that needs to be first, it’s recruiting and retaining a world class work force.

So how do you do that? It takes an average of 133 days to hire in the federal government. If I offer jobs to 20 college graduates and tell them to report in four or five months – they’re not going to wait for us. So far, we’ve used direct hiring authorities to reduce the overall hiring time by 20 days for about 90 percent of our jobs and expect to have a 15- to 40-day turnaround within the next few years. Direct hiring has been a game-changer. Another thing about attracting talent – you need to be a great place to work. If we’re going to attract the talent we need, being a great place to work has to become part of the USACE brand. We looked at the “Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey” [FEVS (www.opm.gov/fevs)] and took the results to heart. FEVS is a tool for employees to share their thoughts about the work place in critical areas like the quality of their work experiences, their agency, and their leadership. We took that feedback and built action plans to address negative comments. We were ranked 111 out of about 450 federal work places in 2016 and are we have consistently moved up to our current position of 85. Once you’re ranked in the top 100 places to work, it becomes a lot more competitive if you want to continue moving up but I have no doubt we will. The FEVS action plan is an annual requirement for all USACE commanders. Strong senior executive service [SES] talent is key for long term planning and organizational health. When I arrived at USACE, our SES 11


USACE Commanding General Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite conducted border-barrier construction site visits near San Diego, California, on July 9, 2019. Border security is part of the growing USACE portfolio that is driving the Revolutionize effort.

members were staffed at 72 percent. There are no direct hire authorities for SES-level managers so we have to power through that hiring process. We’ve set an ongoing requirement to fill our SES positions in 30-60 days. We’ve also built an expedited onboarding program to get them quickly into the organization where they can begin leading change and building coalitions. Oversight of USACE SES succession-planning ensures the executive talent is assigned to new leadership roles every five years. Inviting internal senior civilians to apply and be considered for SES positions is another way to ensure continuity and delivery of critical infrastructure for the nation. SES talent management is key to USACE’s future successes. Where have you seen the biggest improvement in Revolutionizing USACE? That would be Civil Works taking care of America’s waterways. Traditional funding and delivery models are increasingly inadequate. New, agile processes and tools are necessary. The administration, Congress, and other agencies are asking for change in both federal permitting and delivery of federal programs. We have a historic level of Congressional oversight engagements – legislators are reaching out and asking us how they can help. I mentioned earlier that our nation’s civil works infrastructure is aging. We need to re-invest in that. But with many competing federal

appropriations requirements, we’ve looked at nonfederal funding to get a project started. In many cases there are state, municipal or federal agencies with a vested interest in the project and they will work with us on obtaining funding. We’re building on the successful Private Public Partnership (P3) efforts like the Fargo-Moorhead Flood Risk Management project. P3 is a cooperative arrangement between two or more public and private sector partners that’re primarily used for infrastructure development. A P3 option is going to save the government at least $100 million. It’s going to go from a 16-year project to a six-and-a-half-year project and things like 28 contracts down to 11. It’s just a much, much more efficient way to do it. In terms of below-the-line efforts, Civil Works has implemented concurrent reviews during the New Soo Lock Economic Validation Report to fast track project delivery and decision-making resulted in the completion of the report seven months earlier than expected with potential cost avoidance of about $100 million. USACE executes billions of dollars in contracts every year. Could you tell us about improvements to contracting under the Revolutionize effort? Contracting is an essential function for USACE, and yes, we do a lot of it. Again, we have to remember that our executable budget is doubling, so speed and flexibility, especially in procurement, are key to our success. 13


Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite (center) and team on a mission to survey the damage of Hurricane Florence in 2018. Semonite’s Revolutionize efforts with emergency response include the use of sophisticated technology to stop or channel rising waters away from populated areas and remotely survey dams and levees that are near capacity.

We’ve embraced the Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative. This is a collaborative process of working with other government organizations to leverage purchasing power, reduce cost, and improve performance; we’ve also made great effort to bring in small businesses to increase competition. You’d be surprised how quickly an established contractor will sometimes revise their estimates when new competition comes to the table. Our Fuels Program team in Huntsville collaborated with GSA [General Services Administration] on a multiple award schedule that eventually saved several hundred thousand dollars and cut months off their acquisition time. This is another great example of working with other agencies to cut through the bureaucratic process while preserving the integrity of our acquisition process. Our partners at CBP requested an unprecedented amount of work on the southern border in 2017. We developed a three-part strategy relying on short-, mid-, and long-term tactics to deliver the mission. For the long term, two large Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity contract tools, Eastern and Western, would provide up to $10 billion of contract capacity in support of border infrastructure. While we expedited our acquisition cycles, these long-term contracts would not be in place quickly enough to tackle our near-term requirements. We had to award multiple discrete construction contracts to 14

satisfy immediate program requirements. Finally, our mid-term solution relied on a seldom-used regulatory authority called, Prequalification. The team developed a series of Prequalification of Sources Lists. These lists result from publicly announced full and open competition, the output of which is a pre-vetted list of qualified firms capable of high-quality delivery on the southern border. Together, these short-, mid-, and long-term tactics are the three legs of the border program’s acquisition platform, individually critical and collectively paramount to the overall success of the border infrastructure program. How are you Revolutionizing financial management? We just finished a major overhaul of our financial management software. The next generation of software will provide users with quick, real-time access to their financial and project data and offer customizable dashboards and advanced analytics. This allows us to use complex scripting functions [bots] to consolidate repetitive work. Following a disaster response, for example, FEMA will ask us for a report detailing each of our expenses. This was initially a manual process that took up to several days, but after implementing the bot, it’s complete in about 30 seconds. We’re also looking to modify the budget process to provide increased flexibility. Currently the Corps process is to annually justify


every project even after initial investment decisions have been made. This is a congressional/OMB requirement. We’re looking at a “one federal investment decision,” where a decision to start a project is a decision to finish the project. The use of a five-year capital budget for Corps projects … can provide visibility and certainty to our team, our partners, and the public. Increased flexibility in reprogramming actions that will allow for funding to be in the right place at the right time, and the ability for us to be more accepting of other people’s money with fewer restrictions and notifications. How has Revolutionize affected IT in USACE? USACE has networks connecting more than 1,600 locations around the world. Maintaining secure, fast networks is essential to everything we do and there are a lot of challenges when you factor in floating plants, temporary field structures and deployment areas. We’re working with commercial partners to provide 4G/5G wireless throughput. This will provide a solution to remote sites that are currently experiencing challenges with wire connectivity, either because of unavailable infrastructure or excessive cost. Specific technical solutions are required at these locations to provide acceptable connections and throughput. Greater bandwidth means taking advantage of commercial networks while maintaining network security. We’re developing “cloud access

points” that allow for secure integration of our networks with those of commercial partners. Hard wire is the most secure, but it doesn’t always make sense because some locations are harder to lay wire for and also because some locations have a variable cost for data. USACE will continue to leverage cloud technologies and software to modernize, provide scalable solutions, and make sound IT investments. I’ve heard that drones were recently used to monitor flooding in the Midwest. Could you tell us how that impacted the relief effort? We call them unmanned aerial systems [UAS] and yes, we are using UASs to collect data in a variety of ways. We’re using off-the-shelf technologies to collect data now, but we’re developing some exciting future capabilities. Future UAS will be able to do things like identify invasive species like destructive vegetation or animals. Another technology called reverse bathymetry determines underwater topography using wave patterns. This would allow us to pinpoint rip tides in the ocean or determine the best spot for a [military] amphibious landing. The alternative to using a UAS was previously helicopters – very expensive – and very dangerous if you’re in a storm. A UAS can be controlled from a safe location on the ground and collect high-quality [4K] video of storm damage, fires, and rising water levels. You can share that video quickly and review it as many times as you like. 15


Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite tries out a set of vir tual reality goggles at the Engineer Research and Development Center Innovation Summit. Semonite’s Revolutionize ef for t involves significant use of technology to speed processing of information and quickly gather data during operations.

Whenever you talk aviation, there are a lot of laws and safety measures that need to be observed. We do that and more. We’ve worked with DOD and the FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] to ensure development of an effective program that meets federal requirements and Army cybersecurity requirements while reducing red tape in the field that has prevented timely employment of UASs in years past. The current program has reduced mission prep times by over 95 percent with most missions being flown within a day of mission need. We’ve enabled the field users to conduct the needed airspace and safety assessments and obtain airspace access through a specialized planning process. This process is captured in our Aviation Policy Letter 19-08, and was cited as one of the best in DOD. As the chief of engineers, you are also responsible for about 90,000 combat engineers. How are you applying Revolutionize to the Engineer Regiment? The Army is moving in new directions. For many years the threats we faced were asymmetric, smaller scale conflicts. That’s changing and engineers will be supporting heavy maneuver capabilities that are

more lethal. We’re looking at new ways of bridging gaps and breaching obstacles. With today’s heavy battle tanks, river crossings can be a nightmare. All that weight requires more structural capacity, and we’re always mindful that if units don’t cross rapidly, they become targets in today’s multi-domain warfare environment. One of the things we’re doing is redesigning force structure to build seven Multi-Role Bridge Companies [MRBCs]. These MRBCs will be fielded with new bridge erection boats that will install a new panel bridge system able to support 68-ton main battle tanks. Commanders don’t just have to cross rivers though. Our adversaries are very good at placing complex obstacles in the path of maneuver commanders. We’re working closely with Army Futures Command to build new capabilities in this area. Next year we’ll be highlighting new and enhanced obstacle breaching technologies at the AUSA Annual Meeting. We’re bringing exciting new capabilities to the table. - the Robotic Mine Clearing Line Charge (MICLIC), the Robotic Armored Breacher Vehicle, and others, are going to save lives and give commanders more flexibility in combat. Robotics are especially significant, because they reduce the number of sappers directly in the minefield during breaching operations. Robotized equipment is infinitely easier to replace compared with our people, and we expect to have this capability in place by 2035. We’re also doing a lot with talent management among our officers. We’re working to ensure we have the right officer, right assignment, and right time. We host a quarterly Combined Talent Management Forum on regimental talent management initiatives, priorities, and challenges to synchronize efforts and set the conditions for the future of the Regiment. This also helps us incorporate both the Army Reserve and National Guard engineers in the “big” Army talent management. Is there anything you’d like to add? The greatest compliment anyone can give us is to choose us, because we provide the best value. The vast majority of our stakeholders get to choose who does their work. They have options and they are choosing us. It means we’re doing our jobs right but it’s also a warning shot because we aren’t structured for growth in our headquarters or our divisions. That means delegating and leaning-down processes. I want us to continue to be the best choice and this goes back to the whole idea of the vision that “we engineer solutions for the nation’s toughest challenges.” If it’s hard, I want them to come to us. It is nice to have easy projects, but when people know they have a problem, they [can] come to the Corps of Engineers. That’s why we did the grid in Puerto Rico, the Aurora Hospital … we now have 15 hospital projects, each over $100 million, and border security. All this new business is a good news story; people like what we do, and we’re going to continue on this path. We apply our world-class professional skills, committed employees, and most importantly, an unending quest to make America a better place. I extend that challenge to all of the Corps to lean forward, anticipate our nation’s needs and find innovative options within affordable resources to implement solutions to this country’s issues. Engineers are inherently problem-solvers. We tackle demanding issues, fight through the red tape to Revolutionize our delivery, and have [the] passion to solve America’s engineering challenges. n 17


2019 was the wettest year on record in the 124 years since the United States began tracking precipitation trends. Thus far this year, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has dealt with record interior spring flooding in the Mississippi, Missouri, and Arkansas rivers’ basins, in addition to the Great Lakes basin to the north, as well as Hurricane Barry in July, as it struck the Gulf Coast and moved inland. Collectively, these events caused significant damage to levees and other structures, and affected the daily lives of thousands who live and work in these areas. This record-setting year has followed the trend of continuously escalating storm events in both frequency and severity dating back to 2016, thus prompting Ray Alexander, USACE’s director of Contingency Operations and chief of Homeland Security, to deduce that “as this has been the reoccurring pattern for the past several years, it appears that long-term missions in response to large catastrophes may be the new normal.” The 2019 and 2018 storm events occurred on the heels of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Nate, and Maria in 2017, which occurred less than a year after the catastrophic Louisiana flooding in 2016 – at the time, categorized as the worst U.S. disaster since Hurricane Sandy in 2012. USACE was fully engaged in long-term recovery missions for each of these events, often simultaneously, which has forced USACE to continuously increase, mobilize, and reallocate internal resources and personnel to meet the mission requirements and recovery needs of the affected populations. USACE is one of the nation’s leaders in storm damage reduction infrastructure, managing 50 percent of all federally owned dams nationwide, to include Puerto Rico, and owning and operating of six of the 10 largest U.S. reservoirs. USACE will continue to work closely with federal partners, key stakeholders, and the states in advance of, during, and following events such as these. “Collectively, we need to identify and consider viable long-term options for reducing risk that include investments in more resilient infrastructure and smart planning on the part of state and local governments as they work with communities vulnerable to both coastal and inland flooding,” said Alexander. Though the common theme of these events has been extensive storms with prolonged rainfall followed by widespread flooding, USACE routinely responds to all-hazards contingency events ranging from hurricanes to tornadoes, and from wildfires to periods of prolonged drought. In this capacity, USACE exercises its own response authorities under Public Law (PL) 84-99 (Flood Control 18

and Coastal Emergencies) and under the Stafford Act in support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as part of the National Response Framework (NRF). Each event is uniquely complex and resource intensive in both the response and recovery phases. Therefore, in 2018, Congress passed a $17.4 billion emergency supplemental bill to begin the long-term road to recovery; and in 2019, Congress passed an additional $3.6 billion in emergency supplemental funds to bring relief to those states affected by hurricanes Florence and Michael as well as to the territories struck by typhoons in the Pacific.

SOUTH ATLANTIC DIVISION Since 2017, the South Atlantic Division has continuously been directly affected by catastrophic events. Less than a year after sustaining severe impacts from hurricanes Irma, Maria, and Nate, Hurricane Florence made landfall on Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, in September 2018, bringing 20 inches of rain over several days. As tributaries conveyed the rain inundation to the Waccamaw, Black, Lumber, Lynches, Pee Dee, and Little Pee Dee rivers, the river elevations gradually rose to unprecedented heights as the water attempted to work its way to the coast. In anticipation of the potentially devastating affects, the USACE Charleston District, along with several partnering agencies, collaborated on efforts to reduce impacts to the population at risk. The district provided 10,000 linear feet of Hesco barriers, 26,000 linear feet of plastic sheeting, 5,000 sandbags, and 1,000 supersacks to successfully keep Highway 501, the main corridor to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, open as the Waccamaw River did indeed flood as anticipated. The district also provided 300 linear feet of Hesco barriers that were installed around the Pawleys Island pump station in order to continue to provide clean water to the island. Utilizing resources available from other USACE districts, the Charleston District was able to provide 20,000 additional sandbags via the Louisville District’s sandbagging machine. As a result of this series of hurricanes, South Atlantic Division Commander then-Brig. Gen. Diana Holland shared a similar assumption to that of Alexander: “In 2018, after everything we had been through in 2017, we were in such a better position to respond. Given everything the region and nation have faced with those storms, these are not normal times.”



Top: Rock Island District Lock and Dam 18 in Gladstone, Illinois, May 2019. When water levels rose, the gates on the dam were completely removed to prevent damage and navigation was closed. This aerial image shows the magnitude of the high water and flooding that affected several of the district’s lock and dam sites up and down the Mississippi River. Above: This map shows placement of the Hesco barriers, as depicted by the hash marks, along Highway 501.

Historic water levels generated by record levels of precipitation produced widespread flooding and shoreline erosion along the Great Lakes, subsequently leading to major ecological and economic impacts along approximately 4,530 miles of U.S. shoreline and the surrounding communities. The USACE Buffalo, Detroit, and Chicago districts worked closely with state, local, and federal officials to provide flood response support by providing sandbags and technical assistance on proper placement methods to protect shoreline property. Additionally, in coordination with the states, USACE’s Regulatory Program team developed an expedited permitting process for shoreline property owners to safeguard existing erosion control structures, roads, bridges, infrastructure, and property. These types of engagements stand to reinforce the importance of collaborations for longterm coastal resiliency planning to reduce the impacts from extreme storm-related events in the future. The Louisville District has actively supported emergency deployments across the nation and within its civil works boundary by means of resources and workforce. This past February, the district 19


responded to flooding on the Ohio River through partnering with state and local emergency management agencies for sandbagging efforts at Smithland, Kentucky. When flooding closed the Ohio River locks and stopped navigation, the district activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to oversee communication efforts with navigation stakeholders and distribute updates on the dynamic river conditions. The district manages an automatic sandbagging machine that serves as a vital resource for its capability to fill 500 to 1,000 sandbags per hour. Since the machine’s first deployment in September 2018 to support South Carolina following Hurricane Florence, teams have expended more than 100,000 sandbags. As part of their continuous preparedness and training protocol with local communities, the district currently has 10 trained operators, who have so far been requested for five flood-fight events and nine training events between USACE and local responders.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Southwestern Division Commander Brig. Gen. Paul E. Owen, along with Oologah Lake manager B.J. Parkey, surveys water flowing from the auxiliary spillway at Oologah Lake, May 30, 2019. Heavy rains fell throughout much of the Tulsa District watershed, contributing to large water inflows into the reservoirs and increased water releases, including a record release from Oologah Lake.

SOUTHWESTERN DIVISION This past spring, the Southwestern Division’s Tulsa and Little Rock districts battled high waters as Oklahoma and southern Kansas received more than a foot of rain in early May. Record flooding was witnessed along the Arkansas River and tributaries (Grand Neosho River and Verdigris River basins). Within the Tulsa District, 22 reservoirs went into surcharge. At Keystone Dam, releases hit 275,000 21

cubic feet per second (cfs), the second highest in the dam’s history. At Muskogee, Oklahoma, near the confluence of the Arkansas, Grand Neosho, and Verdigris rivers, the river peaked at more than 46 feet (flood stage is 28 feet), with flows exceeding 600,000 cfs. Water elevations did not recede back to regulating stage until June 3. In Little Rock District, record flows were recorded along the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System at five locations, resulting in several navigation locks falling out of service as dams were fully opened to accommodate the high flows. In total, 13 USACE multipurpose reservoirs set record-high pools, including five in the Arkansas River Basin and five in the Caney/Verdigris River Basin. The flooding continues to have lasting effects on recreation and navigation.

NORTHWESTERN DIVISION The Missouri River Basin is home to 45 USACE dams and 22 U.S. Bureau of Reclamation dams. From March 12-14, a storm called a “bomb cyclone,” due to explosive storm development and rapidly changing conditions, deposited 2.25 inches of rain on Plains snowpack in Nebraska and Iowa, holding 3-plus inches of snow-water equivalent, with even higher amounts in eastern South Dakota. As floodwaters began receding, additional heavy storms in April and May across parts of Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota led to high pool levels at many reservoirs, and pushed rivers beyond their containment limits. Since March, the Omaha and Kansas City districts have martialed in experts to support local communities assessing levee damages in order to initiate the rehabilitation process to restore the levees to their pre-storm conditions. The recent flood impacts have been among, if not the most severe, in the region’s recorded history. More than 700 miles of federally and privately and state-owned levees have been severely structurally compromised. It is estimated that initial repairs will take until spring 2020 to complete, while full repairs will take longer.

MISSISSIPPI VALLEY DIVISION By early February of this year, water levels on the Mississippi River and its tributaries steadily rose to the north of Memphis, Tennessee, prompting the Memphis District to engage in Phase I flood-fight activities in the Cairo, Lower St. Francis, White, Reelfoot-Obion, and Missouri rivers’ locations in the northern portion of the district’s area of responsibility. Employees deployed to the field to monitor all federal flood control structures including levees, flood walls, and pumping stations. The district also provided material assistance to local communities and flood control organizations to aid in their flood-fighting efforts. By mid-February, the effects of flooding were being seen in Memphis. The district activated and recruited additional staffing from other internal divisions to oversee flood-fight operations.

In late February, the Vicksburg District experienced extreme rain in the Ohio Valley that caused major flooding on the lower Mississippi River and resulted in a top 10 record crest of 51.5 feet at Vicksburg, Mississippi, in March. During the same time frame, tributary flooding in the Yazoo Basin occurred and four flood control reservoirs (Grenada, Enid, Sardis, and Arkabutla lakes) were put into use to reduce the peak flow of runoff by approximately 90 percent. The use of these reservoirs provided tremendous benefits to the Mississippi Delta early on; however, after the March peak, heavy rains in the upper Missouri and Arkansas River basins caused the lower Mississippi River to remain high, thus preventing the Yazoo backwater area from draining. This continuation of high stages on the Mississippi River led to a second peak of 98.2 feet in the Yazoo backwater area in May, surpassing the previous all-time record set only two months prior in March 2019. Then, in mid-July, Tropical Storm Barry exasperated the extreme flooding in the Yazoo backwater area and, in all, more than 550,000 acres of hardwood timber and agricultural land, as well as numerous homes and camps, went under water. In June, the Carrollton gage at the New Orleans District read just above 16 feet, which is approximately 5 feet above flood stage for the Mississippi River in New Orleans. In mid-July, when Barry arrived, the Mississippi River had been at flood stage for more than 250 days, which exceeded the 1973 flood of record at 225 days. This also meant that the New Orleans District had been in flood-fight operations for more than 250 consecutive days. The Bonnet Carré Spillway was opened in February, and again in May, when the river rose to nearly 17 feet at the Carrollton gage. The spillway remained open into July, marking more than 100 total days that it had been open in 2019. This is the first time the spillway has been opened twice in a calendar year, and in back-to-back years. As of mid-July, 11 dredges worked in the Mississippi River navigation channel from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to the Gulf of Mexico this year, dredging 41 million cubic yards to date. The annual average is 43 million cubic yards, and dredging will continue throughout the rest of the year. The cost for dredging so far stands at $110 million for the year, with five dredges currently in operation. Lock closures were experienced in Rock Island District due to flooding. At Lock and Dam 15, where the Rock Island District Headquarters resides, a record of 96 days above flood stage was set, more than doubling the prior record of 43 days set in 2001. In FY 2019, a record-breaking $244.4 million were allocated for maintenance of the Mississippi River navigation channel from Baton Rouge to the Gulf of Mexico, compared to average annual funding of $158 million (FY 15-19). The majority of FY 19 funds were used for dredging of the deep-draft navigation channel from Baton Rouge to the Gulf of Mexico. A portion of the funds were used to supplement FY 18 ongoing dredging in the Hopper Dredge Disposal Area (HDDA) and FY 18 ongoing Southwest Pass foreshore stone repairs. Dredging began in November 2018 and is ongoing, with 85 million cubic yards of 23


sediment – 81 percent over the annual average of 47 million cubic yards – removed thus far. This high river year also provided opportunity for beneficial use of dredged material, which also began in November 2018 and is ongoing, with 22.8 million cubic yards placed beneficially for coastal habitat creation and bank stabilization to date. This breaks the previous beneficial use record of 20.8 million cubic yards in FY 17. Of 13 bid openings for Mississippi River and Southwest Pass hopper dredge rental solicitations since November 2018, only seven yielded industry hopper dredges to respond to urgent dredging requirements. To address urgent requirements, approvals were granted for 225 days of emergency call-outs of government-ready reserve hopper dredges. Thirteen different dredges

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Omaha District fills in a breach on the Union Dike, on March 23, 2019, after it was damaged by runoff from the Platte River.

worked on the Mississippi River from Baton Rouge to the Gulf of Mexico. Channel restrictions were in place for 205 days or 56 percent of the year, compared to the annual average of 93 days or 26 percent of the year.

MISSION CYCLES Despite the numerous missions of recent years, USACE continues to stand ready to respond to future disasters both 25


under its own authorities and in support of FEMA mission assignments. “The Corps’ focus is and will always remain to protect life, mitigate risks, and repair damages,” said Alexander. However, this seemingly endless cycle of nonstop emergencies has taken an internal toll and affected the operations of basic USACE missions such as military construction and water resources, because the Army Corps personnel who deploy in support of emergency missions are the same personnel responsible for managing and executing such projects for their home districts. USACE has persevered by continuing to do more with less, and smartly managing personnel deployments to avoid mission fatigue. To continue to meet the increasing challenges of emergency response, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will look to implement new and innovative strategies like delegating missions to local and federal agencies best suited to accomplish

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Kansas City District’s Mobile Liaison Team supports the Halls Levee District by stationing seven pumps on the levee to drain water from the fields just south of St. Joseph, Missouri.

the task at hand. USACE continues to “revolutionize the way USACE does business” by utilizing current technologies, such as the use of unmanned vehicles to conduct aerial and underwater surveys and inspections, in addition to the development of internal USACE geographic information systems to increase the capability of real-time reporting of water elevations in rivers and reservoirs, thus facilitating real-time decision-making. Collectively, adopting such future standards and practices will reduce both costs and personnel requirements, thus helping the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers maintain a sustainable balance of emergency response efforts while concurrently managing basic USACE missions and responsibilities. n 27


After nearly three years in Iraq, the Mosul Dam Task Force (MDTF) declared “mission complete” on July 4, 2019. MDTF deployed to Mosul Dam in September 2016 at the request of the government of Iraq. The dam was built on a foundation with a geology that continues to dissolve and after decades of conflict and deferred maintenance, the dam’s collapse loomed as a humanitarian crisis that threatened regional stability. The MDTF’s job was to serve as “the engineer,” providing engineering and technical expertise for a contract between the Iraqi government and Italian contractor Trevi S.p.A. to repair and stabilize the dam. Col. Philip Secrist assumed command of the MDTF in June 2019 from Col. Michael Farrell, the initial MDTF commander. Throughout the project’s life cycle, the MDTF was comprised of 50-70 Soldiers, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) civilians, AECOM employees, and Iraqi engineers provided by Versar, Inc., working on site at the dam. An equal number of USACE and AECOM employees provided technical support from the United States via reachback, minimizing the number of workers required on site in Iraq. The MDTF objective was “not to depart Iraq until we were confident a sufficiently resourced and well-informed Ministry of Water Resources [MoWR] was fully capable of executing an improved maintenance drilling and grouting [D&G] program that sustains the integrity of the Mosul Dam grout curtain until a permanent solution is implemented,” according to Secrist. “After two-and-a-half years of drilling and grouting operations 24 hours a day, six days a week, we are confident the dam’s foundation stability has been significantly improved. Additionally, the MoWR Mosul Dam Project Office staff is trained on state-of-the-art drilling and grouting procedures, and they have the equipment and materials necessary to maintain the dam for years to come,” Secrist said.

WORLD-CLASS DELIVERY The original one-year contract to stabilize Mosul Dam’s foundation consisted of a double-row grout curtain across the entire 3.2 kilometers of the dam from both the grouting gallery and the east and west crest. It also included repairs to the bottom outlet works that are critical to the dam’s ability to discharge water into the 28

Tigris River. The initial contract was modified twice and resulted in an end to contracted D&G operations in July 2019. USACE faced significant challenges directing the D&G operations at Mosul Dam. A typical project requires years of investigations and studies prior to developing a repair strategy and awarding a construction contract. However, the Iraqi government believed Mosul Dam faced imminent failure and emergency repairs had to begin immediately. Professional geologists and dam safety engineers developed method statements and learned how to treat the complex Mosul Dam foundation in the field while executing the D&G program. Additionally, Trevi installed a new grouting program, “T-grout,” that enabled monitoring of all grouting activities in the dam. T-Grout collected pressure, depth, grout quantity, and artesian pressure information at every 5- to 10-meter stage for each borehole.

IMPROVED STABILITY Production D&G began in January 2017 and became the largest ongoing dam safety D&G operation in the world. Simultaneous to the D&G, Trevi installed 62 miles of electrical infrastructure, 9.6 miles of piping, and 2 miles of new communications lines due to the dam’s infrastructure being original to the project and not capable of supporting the huge D&G operations. Over the course of the MDTF, Trevi-MoWR crews drilled and grouted 5,200 boreholes, resulting in 400,000 meters drilled, and placed more than 41,000 cubic meters of grout in Mosul Dam’s foundation. Mosul Dam’s improved stability was demonstrated as its reservoir reached its sixth-highest pool of record in April 2019 and showed no signs of distress. The initial D&G priorities (2017-2018) were based on a potential failure mode analysis (PFMA) developed for Mosul Dam in 2016. The PFMA recommended gallery and surface grouting be focused on five priority areas (right and left abutments, in the foundations beneath the historical Tigris River flow, and around the two bottom outlet tunnels), with the intention of grouting all areas of the foundation beneath the embankment. For the second phase of the contract (2018-2019), USACE identified 34 critical D&G priorities and 36 additional dam safety recommendations. All 34 critical priorities were completed along with 33 of the dam safety recommendations.


Mosul Dam, with its hydropower plant and four water storage towers, sits in a valley along the Tigris River 30 miles outside Mosul City in Iraq. It is the largest dam in Iraq and the fourth largest in the Middle East and supplies water, hydropower, irrigation, and flood control to the region. The governments of Iraq, Italy, and the United States have combined their efforts to stabilize Mosul Dam.



INFRASTRUCTURE REPAIR AND IMPROVEMENTS Repairs to the bottom outlets began immediately upon the arrival of the MDTF. The MoWR had not been able to use the west bottom outlet tunnel for several years because the intake gate was jammed by a 34-foot-long bent indicator rod. By the end of the project, indicator rods in both bottom outlet tunnels had been replaced with mechanical improvements to prevent a similar failure in the future. Another major improvement to the bottom outlet works was the design and construction of hydraulic dentates at the bottom outlet tunnel exits to reduce backward erosion into the dam’s foundation caused by the energy of the water flow. The bottom outlet works are now ready to serve Mosul Dam for years to come. “Mosul Dam is now one of the most instrumented dams in the world,” Secrist said. “When USACE arrived at Mosul Dam in 2016, the [MoWR] had 250-plus instruments that had to be manually read. Today, Mosul Dam has over 720 instruments of which over 500 are automated and can be viewed online in near real time.” Mosul Dam’s upgraded instrumentation system is critical in that it provides the MoWR the data needed to understand how well the dam’s foundation is performing and where to conduct future grouting operations.

MODERN EQUIPMENT PROCUREMENT To execute improved D&G operations, the procurement of new equipment was critical. Two old grout mixing plants in various states of disrepair were replaced with three new mixing plants capable of providing 24/7 grout production. Eight old drill rigs were augmented with 18 new state-of-the-art drill rigs. MoWR production was limited with only three batch grouting units (BGUs) required

Participants celebrate the completion of the Mosul Dam Task Force (MDTF) mission on the bank of the Tigris River. Pictured left to right are: USACE TAD Command Sgt. Maj. Randolph Delapena; former TAD Commander Col. Mark Quander; Iraq MoWR Director General Mahdi Rashid; U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Matthew H. Tueller; Iraq Water Resources Minister Jamal al-Adili; MDTF Commander Col. Philip Secrist; Mosul Dam Project Manager Riyadh Ali; and Jamal Mohsin, Iraq director general of Planning and Follow-up. The dignitaries visited the MDTF on June 15, 2019, for a ceremony commemorating the completion of the Mosul Dam Project.

to adjust grout composition at each specific hole. Now the MoWR has 32 modern BGUs. Finally, “through the contract procurement process, the MoWR now has approximately three to five years’ [worth] of spare parts and five-plus years of grouting consumable materials on site and ready for use,” said Secrist.

STRENGTHENING THE CAPABILITIES OF IRAQ’S MINISTRY OF WATER RESOURCES Getting to “mission complete” required a lot of time, sweat, and the implementation of an integration program that resulted in the hands-on training and validation of 245 MoWR employees. Following the formation of the Mosul Dam Task Force, the need for MoWR employees to work alongside Trevi in all operations on Mosul Dam was recognized. Trevi partnered with USACE to develop a training and integration program that assimilated MoWR employees into the project’s D&G works. The objective was to build Iraqi capacity to conduct maintenance D&G using the latest technologies. The Integration Program was launched initially in November 2016, with 26 MoWR employees working in two shifts, seven hours each. Additional employees were added over time, and within a 31


month, there were 115 MoWR employees integrated with Trevi working two 12-hour shifts, six days a week. In July 2018, the Integration Program was formalized and the MoWR integration staff immediately expanded to 155 employees working alongside Trevi on the dam and support areas, including the control room, laboratory, main mixing plants, warehouse, and workshop. MoWR and Trevi worked together to integrate additional employees each month, and by the end of the project, the number of operational staff had increased to 225. An Engineer Integration Program was initiated in August 2018 so engineers and technical specialists could work side by side with their USACE and AECOM counterparts in specialties such as dam safety, quality assurance, instrumentation, and geospatial information systems. Throughout the project, the MoWR’s hands-on experience was reinforced with workshops and training courses in specific areas including Instrumentation, dam safety, mix design, water pressure testing, optical televiewer operations, and geology. Following the success of the integration programs, the MDTF took the teamwork approach to the next level and identified MoWRonly critical organizations/functions (COFs) required to maintain Mosul Dam. The COFs marked the transition from MoWR employees performing as individuals to performing cohesively as teams. As work proceeded, MoWR COFs took progressively more responsibility across all aspects of the project. During the last month of the project, the MoWR COFs operated as a “closed loop,” with MoWR operators, helpers, geologists, foremen, tablet operators, control room operators, and workshop maintenance crews coordinating efforts with minimal Trevi and

Team members from Versar, Inc., and the Ministry of Water Resources of Iraq work together, drilling a grout hole inside the grout tunnel at Mosul Dam.

USACE intervention. All COFs were validated by USACE, as they demonstrated proficiency to operate independently.

USACE GLOBAL IMPACT The accomplishments of the Mosul Dam Task Force over the past three years changed Mosul Dam from being known as the “world’s most- dangerous dam” to a dam that saw its sixth-highest pool of record this past spring and showed no signs of distress. MDTF’s dedicated team of Soldiers, Department of Army civilians, and contractors, working side by side with Trevi and Iraq’s Ministry of Water Resources, delivered the world’s largest dam safety drilling and grouting project. More importantly, the Mosul Dam Task Force ensured that almost 250 MoWR workers, technicians, and engineers completed an intense training program to develop their skills to properly maintain Mosul Dam in the future. “The MDTF is just another example of how USACE is working with our partners around the globe to develop innovative solutions aimed at strengthening partner-nation capacity to address resource security and disaster risk management challenges, which are critical to achieving state and regional stability, sustainability, and economic development,” Secrist said. n 33

NORTH ATLANTIC DIVISION • Serves as the Department of Defense’s engineering, design, and construction agent for 50 Army and 13 Air Force installations east of the Appalachian Mountains in the northeast United States, Europe, and Greenland. • Maintains five major harbors: Boston, New York-New Jersey, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Norfolk – and more than 200 smaller ports in the Northeast. • Maintains and operates four canals that make up parts of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. The Chesapeake and Delaware Canal across the top of the Delmarva Peninsula shortens distance by water between Baltimore and Philadelphia by 300 miles.

BALTIMORE DISTRICT 2 Hopkins Plaza Baltimore, MD 21201 (800) 434-0988 cenab-cc@usace.army.mil www.nab.usace.army.mil www.facebook.com/USACEBaltimore twitter.com/USACEBaltimore www.youtube.com/user/usacebaltimore www.flickr.com/photos/corps_of_engineers_baltimore


EUROPE DISTRICT CMR 410, Box 1 APO AE 09049 +49 (0) 611-9744-2703 dll-cenau-pa@usace.army.mil www.nau.usace.army.mil/ www.facebook.com/europedistrict twitter.com/europedistrict www.youtube.com/user/usaceEuropeDistrict www.flickr.com/photos/europedistrict


• The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers North Atlantic Division area of operations includes: • 23 percent of U.S. population (72 million) • 25.6 percent of U.S. coastal tonnage • 3,300 employees • 2,685 miles of navigation channels • More than 630 miles of levees/channels • 54 dams • 22 storm and hurricane barriers • 8 high-level bridges

NEW ENGLAND DISTRICT 696 Virginia Rd. Concord, MA 01742 (978) 318-8238 cenae-pa@usace.army.mil www.nae.usace.army.mil/ www.facebook.com/CorpsNewEngland twitter.com/CorpsNewEngland www.flickr.com/photos/corpsnewengland/

NORFOLK DISTRICT 803 Front St. Norfolk, VA 23510 (757) 201-7500 dll-cenao-pa@usace.army.mil www.nao.usace.army.mil/ www.facebook.com/NAOonFB twitter.com/norfolkdistrict www.flickr.com/photos/armyengineersnorfolk

NEW YORK DISTRICT 26 Federal Plaza, Rm. 2113 New York, NY 10278 (917) 790-8007 Cenan-pa@usace.army.mil www.nan.usace.army.mil/ www.facebook.com/USACE.NewYorkDistrict/ twitter.com/USACE_NY www.youtube.com/user/USACENewYorkDistrict www.flickr.com/photos/newyorkdistrict-usace

PHILADELPHIA DISTRICT The Wanamaker Building 100 Penn Square East Philadelphia, PA 19107-3390 (215) 656-6515 usace.army.mil www.nap.usace.army.mil/ www.facebook.com/PhillyDistrict/ www.youtube.com/user/USACEPhillyDistrict www.flickr.com/photos/philadelphiausace

Baltimore District construction representatives Robbie Powers and Martin Dougherty stand within the Secure Administrative/ Operations Facility’s (SAOF) courtyard on Fort Belvoir, Virginia, July 1, 2019. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Baltimore District was putting the finishing touches on the state-ofthe-art 381,000-square-foot SAOF that will provide the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command a consolidated administrative facility for future operations.




An interior view from within the four-story atrium in the Secure Administrative/Operations Facility (SAOF) for the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command on Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

USACE delivers high-tech space for intelligence command. BY BECCA NAPPI, Baltimore District


he U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Baltimore District is putting the finishing touches on a state-of-the-art 381,000-square-foot Secure Administrative/Operations Facility (SAOF) on Fort Belvoir that will provide the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) a consolidated administrative facility to well-equip them for future operations.

“We’ve created a facility that consolidates INSCOM’s operations, which were previously dispersed throughout the National Capital Region,” said Baltimore District Commander Col. John Litz. “This project is a significant investment and reflects the Army’s commitment to supporting INSCOM’s important mission. The great partnership between the Army Corps and INSCOM was a significant factor 35


in the success of this project, and I am proud of the teams that continue to collaborate on delivering INSCOM’s facilities program.” With 17,500 Soldiers, Army civilians, and contractors located at 180 locations in 45 countries, INSCOM executes mission command of operational intelligence and security forces; conducts and synchronizes worldwide multi-discipline and all-source intelligence and security operations; delivers linguist support and intelligence-related advanced skills training, acquisition support, logistics, and communications; and other specialized capabilities in support of Army, joint, and coalition commands and the U.S. intelligence community. “This new SAOF will allow INSCOM to divest of commercial-leased space and gain increased synergy from a consolidated headquarters complex,” said Col. Doug Henry, INSCOM chief of sustainment and facilities. “This facility will provide the foundation upon which INSCOM supports the Army, DOD [Department of Defense], and intelligence community operations for the next several decades.”

A FACILITY FOR THE FUTURE The six-floor SAOF consists of mostly Special Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) space that is required for INSCOM missions. These SCIF areas are built to ensure that sensitive information can be disseminated and discussed without risk of data leakage. The facility also features a four-story atrium, roof garden, outdoor plaza, cutting-edge operations center and data management center, cafeteria, and fitness center. The facility is expected to meet LEED® Silver ratings. The design, contracting, and construction of this facility were no easy feat. With a customer like INSCOM, which needs a facility that will consistently adapt to an ever-changing technology environment, designing and building an accommodating space for existing and future technology was a challenge. “Delivering world-class facilities is our strength, and that requires the use of cutting-edge information technology,” said Baltimore District Capital Area Program Manager William Tully. “So we have made sure to provide the building infrastructure to accommodate emerging technologies that will certainly continue to evolve in the years ahead.” USACE proved adaptable to technology upgrades that happened even during the design and construction of the facility. The team developed modifications that not only satisfied these new technology requirements but also made sure that minimal impacts occurred to the construction budget and schedule.

CONSTRUCTION CHALLENGES YIELD INNOVATIVE RESULTS One of the biggest challenges of the SAOF’s construction was its location. While it’s common for an agency to occupy a “swing space” during construction to allow for a temporary workspace for employees during renovations or demolition of the old building space, INSCOM needed to occupy their current space in the Nolan Building throughout construction. 36

So how does a team build a new 381,000-square-foot facility on an existing agency site while still keeping the current facility operational? USACE designed an ideal solution to this challenge. The SAOF was designed to wrap around INSCOM’s existing Nolan Building on three sides, like a horseshoe. The design ensured that INSCOM could access and occupy the Nolan Building during construction of the SAOF. This wrap-around design placed the construction of the SAOF within 9 to 20 inches from the Nolan Building, with additional entryways attached to the Nolan Building itself for future access. While this close proximity proved to be complex, not disturbing employees working in the Nolan Building during construction was set to be an even bigger challenge. The Manhattan Construction Company, contracted by USACE, began construction of the SAOF in spring 2016, carefully working to make sure there were no impacts to the operations in the Nolan Building. This included keeping construction noise levels as low as possible, not disturbing power-supply lines, and keeping the main entrance of the Nolan Building clear of construction operations. USACE and Manhattan Construction Company effectively managed to not disturb INSCOM operations even when large tower cranes required for construction were swinging materials over the Nolan Building. “Working with the entire stakeholder team, construction sequencing of the SAOF has been executed safely and in a way that has minimized the impact to the ongoing operations of INSCOM personnel inside the Nolan Building,” Tully said. “It’s important to give credit to our construction team members and Manhattan Construction Company for managing safety on a construction effort spanning multiple years and incurring zero impact overall to INSCOM’s mission.”

A PHASED APPROACH More than 2 million construction man-hours have gone into SAOF’s construction, which makes up just two phases of a larger project to provide INSCOM a new work campus. The four-phase project consists of phase one, which was completed in 2014 to give the site a large parking garage; phases two and three, which entail the construction of the SAOF; and phase four, slated to begin in 2021, which includes the renovation of the Nolan Building and its integration with the SAOF through the earlier-built access points. “We’ve had the pleasure of working with a team of extremely professional, motivated, and technically competent individuals on all sides the table, all focused on the same goal,” said Baltimore District Capital Area Office area engineer Wesley Wright. “That has been a primary contributing factor to this project being on track for a successful completion by any measure.” Once SAOF construction is complete in fall 2019, INSCOM will take the keys and outfit their new building with furniture and tech equipment over the course of the following year. The completion of all four phases will certify that INSCOM has plenty of modern, amenity-filled space and operational facilities to lead the charge for the future of intelligence and security operations. n





ollowing Russia’s illegal invasion into Ukraine in 2014, the U.S. authorized European Deterrence Initiative (EDI) – formerly known as European Reassurance Initiative – at $985 million in 2015, $789 million in 2016, and $3.4 billion in 2017. The 2018 EDI budget request is $4.8 billion, $1.4 billion more than 2017. If approved, the FY 2019 request includes a significant funding increase to $6.5 billion and continues to demonstrate the United States’ commitment to the territorial integrity of all NATO nations. “This year’s budget [FY 2019] builds on previous EDI investments that enhance our deterrence posture and improve the readiness and responsiveness of forces in Europe,” said Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, commander, U.S. European Command (EUCOM). “As we continue to address the dynamic security environment in Europe, EDI funding increases our capabilities to deter and defend against Russian aggression. Additionally, these significant investments will further galvanize U.S. support to the collective defense of our NATO allies, as well as bolster the security and capacity of our U.S. partners.” This is where the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Europe District comes in. The district delivers infrastructure, engineering, real estate, and general services to support U.S. national security interests in EUCOM and the U.S. Africa Command areas of responsibility. One major new focus area in the 2018 EDI budget request is to begin prepositioning Air Force equipment and airfield infrastructure improvements to support current operations, exercises, and activities as well as enable a rapid response to contingencies. A ribbon-cutting event held at Ämari Air Base just west of Tallinn, Estonia, is just one example of Europe District partnering with the U.S. Air Force. Leaders cut the ribbon to celebrate the completion of three projects: a hazardous cargo pad, an aircraft maintenance hangar, and a squadron operations facility. “I’m really proud of the partnerships we had, both with the Air Force and the host nation, because this was a first for us. This was the first MILCON [military construction] project Europe District built in Estonia,” said Col. John Baker, commander, Europe District. “The Estonian government has been extremely

Lt. Col. John Bacon, Europe District deputy commander, presents the ceremonial key to Lt. Col. Ular Lõhmus, Ämari Air Base commander, during the ribbon-cutting ceremony in Estonia on Oct. 11, 2018.

helpful and welcoming. I’m very proud that these projects have really accomplished the mission in terms of reassuring an ally and deterring aggression.” The Europe District supports the forward basing and posture of U.S. and NATO military forces by providing additional infrastructure at host-nation military bases across Europe. “The majority of these projects are funded through the U.S. European Defense Initiative, by which the U.S. Congress has appropriated funds every year since 2015 in order to deter Russian aggression, assure allies, and build the capacity of our partners,” said Baker. “Projects are also funded through the NATO Security Investment Program, which provides for increased NATO capability to keep Europe free, whole, and at peace.” EDI funding facilitates EUCOM’s capability as a warfighting command that is ready with assets, equipment, and experience to address regional aggression that has shaped the current European security environment. “These projects have been successful in terms of the costs, schedules, quality, and safety. We take our responsibilities very [seriously] and we address these projects as a team,” said Baker. Some other service-specific EDI-funded requests include: exercise participation and support, mission support, improvements to infrastructure, prepositioning equipment, and air and missile defense enhancements. “This base is truly an example of allied efforts that constructed in close cooperation between the host nation and NATO,” said Jüri Luik, minister of defense of the Republic of Estonia, during the ribbon-cutting event. “I’m very, very glad to welcome our American partners whose support enabled this rapid improvement. I can assure you that every dollar of the American taxpayer is money well spent. I want to thank you on behalf of the Estonian people for your support.” n 37

BY ANN MARIE R. HARVIE, New England District


fter sustaining damage during Winter Storm Juno in 2015, the Scituate Harbor North Jetty in Scituate, Massachusetts, has been successfully repaired. The New England District team and its contractor, Classic Site Solutions of Springfield, Massachusetts, completed the $1.24 million project, Jan. 16, 2019. “The North Jetty at Scituate Harbor extends from Cedar Point on the north side of the entrance channel to the harbor and is an interlocked stone structure approximately 850 feet long,” said project engineer Eric Crockett. “The jetty provides protection to the navigational channel and Scituate Harbor.” Crockett said that the jetty experiences some of the most significant storm surges in Massachusetts and the integrity of the structure is pivotal to the thriving fishing and boating industries in the area. Repair work on the jetty consisted of removing and replacing significant volumes of existing stone as well as installing 1,500 tons of new armor stone. The stones ranged in weight from 4 to 8 tons. The Scituate Harbor Project Delivery Team identified critical areas of the jetty to be repaired, which resulted in the most reuse of the existing stones. Repairing a jetty of such importance comes with its challenges. Not only is the structure an important protection to the federal channel and the harbor, it is also home to the historic, and heavily visited, Scituate Lighthouse. It was for that reason that the start date for construction was held off until September 2018. However, strong winds and waves during that time of year made working conditions difficult. “It is a frequently visited area, so the construction window was scheduled primarily by the contractor to be during the winter months so the area could be closed off,” said project manager Bill Kavanaugh. “Access was still available to the lighthouse. It was good for recreational avoidance, but not that great for construction.” Environmental considerations had to be made during construction as well. “The harbor provides for an abundance of aquatic ecosystems, and the area directly surrounding the jetty needed to be avoided due to the presence of eelgrass,” said Crockett.



High winds and strong waves made winter construction difficult.

Every effort was made to protect the precious aquatic plants. “Due to extensive eelgrass concerns adjacent to the structure, all of the stones used for the construction had to be barged in, placed on the beach, and then transported along the top of the jetty to the end where the primary repair area was, and all of the actual stone placement into the jetty had to be done from the top of the structure,” said Kavanaugh. The stone for the project arrived at the site in October 2018. Construction of the jetty began in November and took about 60 days to complete. The New Bedford Resident Office oversaw the construction. Team members included Kavanaugh, Crockett, Brendan Sprague, and Michael DeGrazia. n



onstruction of the System Management Engineering Facility (SMEF), the 40,000-square-foot, two-story addition is well underway and progressing rapidly. The construction went vertical late last fall with the installation of the steel 39



An interior view of the new System Management Engineering Facility Project at Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford, Massachusetts.

superstructure – completed in January 2019 – and is on schedule. The building shell was completed this summer, then construction moves inside until January 2020, the scheduled completion date. This is one of many projects that New England District is doing for Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford, Massachusetts. Work began on this $17 million design-build contract in January 2018. The contract was awarded to J&J/BBIX Joint Venture of North Billerica, Massachusetts. Besides the addition, it includes the associated site work: parking lots, utilities, abatement, and demolition of three existing buildings, as well as other site improvements. As this is a large undertaking for a relatively short amount of time, the team agreed to facilitate the effort by packaging the design/construction

effort in three distinct phases: demolition and abatement, site work, and the addition. “By executing the contract in three distinct phases, we were able to fast-track the construction effort, starting [with] the site work and demolition work while the interior design of the addition was being completed,” said Sheila Bergeron, district project manager. “With this process, the contractor was able to mobilize and begin the abatement and demolition work in April 2018 and site work in June 2018. By doing this, work started four months earlier than if we needed to wait for all the design to be completed.” This project is an addition to Building 1604, which was constructed in 2010. “The end product for this project is to have a single uniform building providing a consistent look and feel you would not be aware of when you transition from the original building into the addition,” said Jim Conway, Hanscom resident office engineer. “We have the advantage of having the contractor from the original project on board again, which helps maintain this uniformity.” Conway said the addition will include energy-efficient items and compliance with current codes, which differs from the construction in 2010 of the original building. Once completed, this addition will provide workspace for approximately 150 people. “These people will be relocated from a deteriorated building built in the 1950s and beyond its economic life,” said Bergeron. “I’ve worked in a deteriorated building and am well aware of the impacts all the maintenance issues have on productivity of the tenants and operating costs.” The design-build construction project is managed by the district. District team members working on the project include: Jim Conway, Michelle Jellison, Ken Paton, Joanne Burnham, John Shannon, Erin Bradley, and Sheila Bergeron. n



he U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) New York District in May 2019 marked the completion of maintenance dredging of the East Rockaway Inlet on Long Island, New York. The announcement of the project completion was made by Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, chief of engineers, and the mayor of New York City at an official news event held in mid-May 2019 on the boardwalk.


Since April 2019, the USACE contractor, Weeks Marine of Cranford, New Jersey, performed the maintenance dredging of East Rockaway Inlet and used the dredged sand to re-nourish and restore Rockaway Beach between Beach 92nd Street and Beach 105th Street. The work was completed in time for the beginning of the 2019 hurricane season.

“This is just another example of the fantastic work the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers does on a regular basis both in New York and across the nation,” said Col. Thomas Asbery, USACE’s New York District commander. “Our crews worked 24/7 to get this project done because it’s vital to the residents of this community. Our efforts to beneficially reuse the dredged material to restore this section of the Rockaway’s heavily eroded shorefront will provide additional coastal storm risk reduction benefits and increase resiliency in advance of hurricane season. I would like to thank our partners at the city, state, and federal levels for their enthusiasm and support of this project.” “For New Yorkers, summer means Rockaway Beach,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “That’s why I could not be happier to announce we will have the entire beach open in time for Memorial Day weekend.” “This project required the removal of 348,000 cubic yards,” said Semonite. “If you put that in a football field, it would be about 20 stories high. This is a tremendous accomplishment, and I couldn’t be prouder of our entire USACE team.” It took a month of round-the-clock sand-dredging to replenish the beach, not only for recreation and livelihoods. “This project will help protect those who live along the shoreline moreso from future storms that will likely come our way,” said Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Milhorn, commander, USACE North Atlantic Division. The beaches were closed last year due to significant erosion in the wake of two back-to-back nor’easters in 2018, in an area still recovering from the effects of Superstorm Sandy. New York District awarded the contract for $10.7 million to Weeks Marine to perform needed maintenance dredging of the East Rockaway Inlet Federal Navigation Channel. The city contributed $2.7 million to pump the sand 2.5 miles farther west along Rockaway Beach in order to restore this section of the beaches, which experienced significant erosion as a result of storms. The work will also restore and ensure safe passage for both commercial and recreational vessel traffic through East Rockaway Inlet. The project’s success can be attributed to the Army Corps’ New York District partnership with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation as well as significant cooperation at the state and federal levels.



Aerial view of work in progress, East Rockaway Beach, New York.

“The close relationship with the Army Corps and New York City has been phenomenal in the process of completing this project,” said Alexander Gregory, project manager, New York District. “We are even more excited about the prompt turnaround [and that] the contractor was able to complete the project before the start of hurricane season.” In August 2019, Semonite signed the Chief’s Report for the Atlantic Coast of New York East Rockaway Inlet to Rockaway Inlet and Jamaica Bay Hurricane Sandy Reformulation Study – a crucial milestone for the proposed project. This report will authorize the construction, at 100 percent federal cost, of new erosion control features, such as jetties or groins, additional beach fill and reinforced dunes, as well as flood risk reduction features on both the Atlantic and bayside shoreline of the Rockaway peninsula. The plan also calls for increased beach berm with 1.6 million cubic yards of sand for initial placement, the extension of five groins already in place, and the construction of 13 new groins – all designed to help reduce the risk from future coastal storms and provide additional resiliency for the residents of this community. n



he U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the Virginia Port Authority are proceeding with design measures to expand Norfolk Harbor’s shipping channels, which will improve navigation and energize the national, state, and local economy.

The “Wider, Deeper, Safer” dredging project will deepen the Inner Harbor channels to 55 feet, Chesapeake Bay’s Thimble Shoal Channel to 56 feet, and the Atlantic Ocean Channel to 59 feet. The Thimble Shoal Channel will also be widened up to 1,400 feet in select areas, allowing for ultra-large container vessel two-way traffic. 41



The navigation project recently secured full federal approval when President Donald Trump signed America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018. “In short, the project’s inclusion in the bill clears the path for the Port of Virginia to become the deepest and safest port on the East Coast,” said Joe Harris, a Virginia Port Authority spokesman. “The next step in the process is to complete the preliminary engineering and design work and then begin dredging next January [2020].”

FOCUS ON DESIGN With about a year left before construction starts on the western portion of Thimble Shoal Channel, USACE and port officials say engineers are focused on locking down an engineering and design plan for seamless transition into all the dredging phases. Norfolk District Senior Project Manager Robert Pretlow said the detailed engineering and design phase includes ship simulation, sediment sampling and testing for Environmental Protection Agency clearances, hydrographic assessments, dredged-material management, environmental coordination, and archaeological-resource surveys for sunken vessels in potential dredging areas. Virginia Port Authority engineers completed archaological-resource surveys and sediment sampling for the initial construction phase in December. The first stage of ship simulation with the Virginia Pilot Association took place in January at the Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies facility in Maryland. Norfolk District officials say they executed a design agreement with the Virginia Port Authority on Feb. 6 that will allow federal funds to be used to complete engineering and design work for the remaining project construction.

AN EYE ON SAFER MOVEMENT The shipping industry’s standard unit of measure for shipping containers is known as a TEU, or 20-foot-equivalent unit. A decade ago, the workhorse-vessel size was 8,000 TEUs and these ships made daily calls to the Port of Virginia, Harris said. Now, they carry more than 14,000 TEUs into the port’s six terminals, and officials are preparing for the next generation of ships, which could top 16,000. “The trend is to build bigger and bigger ships to take advantage of navigation cost savings,” Pretlow said. “That requires the dredging of deeper channels to provide additional water under the draft of a ship for safety and added maneuverability.” Harris said the Wider, Deeper, Safer project will enable the Atlantic Ocean’s biggest ships to safely transit the Port of Virginia fully laden with cargo and without tidal restrictions. Navy vessels and coal ships are expected to benefit from safer, more efficient movement as well.

COMMERCIAL BENEFIT In 2007, Norfolk Harbor’s inbound lanes were deepened to 50 feet to match outbound lanes, Pretlow said. Now, the Port of 42

The Ewell, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Norfolk District survey vessel, sails past cranes at the Virginia Port Authority’s Norfolk International Terminals. The first phase of Norfolk Harbor’s deepening project is set to begin early this year.

Virginia wants to dredge channels deeper to remain competitive with other ports on the East Coast. “From a federal perspective, deeper channels mean larger ships,” he added, “and larger ships mean lower transportation costs, the savings of which are passed on to the general population as lower commodity costs.” The modern, growing, and progressive port will attract companies seeking economical and efficient access to world markets, Harris said. “The economic impact is going to be significant and extend across Virginia,” he added. “The Wider, Deeper, Safer project, combined with ongoing terminal-capacity expansion projects at Virginia International Gateway and Norfolk International Terminals – with completion in 2020 – will create jobs, investment, and economic development across the state.”

EXPANSION AND GROWTH The Port of Virginia received four new ship-to-shore cranes in early January as part of its ongoing efforts to accommodate increasingly massive container ships, local news outlets reported. The cranes stand 170 feet tall and are the nation’s largest. The port is home to the world’s biggest naval base, a robust shipbuilding and repair industry, thriving export coal trade, and the sixth-largest containerized cargo complex in the United States, according to its website. Estimated cost of the engineering and design work is $20 million, while project construction was forecast at $330 million. Last June, Gov. Ralph Northam and the Virginia General Assembly approved state funding for the entire project. “The Corps of Engineers has been a critical partner in the success of this process, and that teamwork is going to be vital as we move into the construction phase,” Harris said. Completion of the full Norfolk Harbor navigation-improvement project is expected around 2025. n



They will conduct training on various numerical models and make recommendations for a master planning strategy for sustainable water resource development. In June 2019, England and representatives from the USACE Institute for Water Resources met with hydrologists and decision-makers from Botswana and Eswatini to discuss modeling tools for risk-based decision-making. The meeting was part of a larger engagement for the International Visitor Leadership Program, which is the U.S. Department of State’s premier professional exchange program. England also participated in a more focused discussion with representatives of Eswatini and the World Bank to discuss watershed management, drought issues, and potential involvement in a water supply master plan for Eswatini. England and Helminiak said the March visit was interesting from a cultural standpoint. They flew to Johannesburg in South Africa and drove five hours to Eswatini. Helminiak said they saw densely populated urban environments as well as rural areas. England has previously supported similar missions to share groundwater knowledge and expertise in Cambodia, Mongolia, Afghanistan, and Vietnam. n



wo U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) hydraulic engineers traveled to Africa in March 2019 to share their expertise on a variety of groundwater-related issues. Steve England and Jake Helminiak of the USACE Philadelphia District traveled to the Kingdom of Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) to participate in workshops, field visits, and to share their expertise with government officials. The mission, requested by U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), is designed to improve water security for the African nation. During drought conditions, the country has challenges in providing water to 100 percent of the population. “Ultimately, they are trying to become proactive in how they manage water,” said Helminiak. “I think the Eswatini officials appreciated working with people with similar areas of expertise. And from a personal standpoint, this was a great opportunity.” John Heaton, liaison to AFRICOM for the USACE North Atlantic Division, participated in the visit and helped organize the mission. USACE plans to provide support in three phases. The first phase, completed in mid-March, involved meeting with officials, participating in site visits, collecting information, and identifying data gaps. England and Helminiak were joined by USACE engineer Avital Breverman for the kickoff of the second phase, which involved training local officials and working on a conceptual model to document a national “water budget.” The third phase will entail developing numerical models that will be used to help decision-makers and inform an overall water security strategy. “During the visit, we got a better understanding of their challenges and needs and developed a path forward,” said England. “We plan to have periodic follow-up discussions to identify key issues moving forward.” During the visit, the group met with hydrologists and field technicians from the Department of Water Affairs. They visited multiple dams, gaging stations, and a local agricultural water impoundment. On a macro level, England and Helminiak are looking at how much water flows into the country through South Africa rivers; how much water flows out into Mozambique and South Africa and are considering rainfall patterns and existing groundwater reserves. As the mission moves forward, they will continue working with their Eswatini counterparts to improve data collection, evaluate surface and groundwater resources, and work toward the development of a conceptual model of the Eswatini water resources.

Steve England (left) discusses water security issues with government officials from the Kingdom of Eswatini. England and Jake Helminiak of the USACE Philadelphia District traveled to Eswatini to participate in workshops, field visits, and to share their expertise with government officials. During the visit, the group met with hydrologists and field technicians from the Department of Water Affairs. They visited multiple dams, gaging stations, and a local agricultural water impoundment.


GREAT LAKES AND OHIO RIVER DIVISION • The Great Lakes and Ohio River Division (LRD) is one of nine U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) regional commands, with seven operating districts: Chicago, Detroit, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Huntington, Louisville, and Nashville. LRD is a unique division with two distinct watersheds. • The region covers 335,000 miles in 17 states: Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, serving more than 17 million people. • 104 congressional districts, 34 U.S. senators, and 17 state delegations represented.

NATIONAL SECURITY: DELIVERING INNOVATIVE, RESILIENT, SUSTAINABLE SOLUTIONS TO THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE (DOD) AND THE NATION • The division’s military programs cover five states within its boundaries. • Supports 15 installations: nine Army, four Air Force, one Navy, and one DOD, with an annual budget of more than $150 million for these efforts. • Executes more than $500 million per year in work for DOD as the engineering design and construction agent in major construction. The Army and Air Force Reserve are the division’s largest military customers, as it supports its design and construction efforts nationwide. The Reserve components account for two-thirds of the major construction program. • Cleans up hazardous, toxic, and radioactive waste and military munitions at Formerly Used Defense Sites and closed military bases, with an annual budget of $70 million for these efforts.

REDUCING DISASTER RISK: HELPING THE NATION RESPOND TO, RECOVER FROM, AND MITIGATE DISASTER EFFECTS Reducing disaster risk is something USACE does every day, from routine maintenance on dams to levee safety inspections, to designing and building flood risk reduction systems, to modeling and simulations. • Readiness and Contingency Operations (RCO) is the national lead for the Temporary Emergency Power mission. In support of FEMA, the division deploys multi-skilled teams nationwide to install, operate, and de-install FEMA-owned generators at key critical facilities until commercial power is restored. • LRD is the designated USACE lead division for response, 44

• The division employs 4,200 civilian and military engineers, scientists, project managers, and technical experts. • Manages more than $2 billion in military and civil works design and construction programs. • USACE issues permits for all construction activities affecting U.S. waters. • Over the past five years, the division averaged 10,400 general permits, 555 individual permits, and 7,300 jurisdictional determinations annually. • The division is also home to three USACE virtual centers of expertise: the Dam Safety Modification Mandatory Center of Expertise; the Planning Center of Expertise for Inland Navigation-Risk Informed Economics Division; and the Inland Navigation Design Center.

recovery, and mitigation planning efforts in support of Emergency Support Function 3 (ESF #3) activities conducted under the National Response Framework – primarily in coordination with FEMA Region V as well as with the states of Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Kentucky. • The division and its districts deploy engineering experts and provide flood-fight supplies to state and local communities in times of high water at the request of governors. During late December 2015 and early January 2016 major flood events, the division deployed six engineers to the lower Ohio and Wabash River basins and provided more than 70,000 sandbags to assist local flood-fight efforts.

INTERAGENCY AND INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT • LRD provides technical assistance on a reimbursable basis to federal agencies, state and local governments, private U.S. firms, international organizations, and foreign governments at the request of the State Department or DOD. • Customers include the departments of Veterans Affairs and Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, the National Park Service, and the U.S. Forest Service.

CIVIL WORKS: DELIVERING ENDURING AND ESSENTIAL WATER RESOURCE SOLUTIONS • Navigation: The Great Lakes Navigation System is a continuous 27-foot deep-draft waterway extending from the western end of Lake Superior at Duluth, Minnesota, to the gulf of the St. Lawrence River on the Atlantic Ocean, a distance of more

than 2,400 miles. This binational resource is composed of the five Great Lakes, the connecting channels of the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River, and the gulf of the St. Lawrence. The U.S. portion of the system includes 140 harbors (60 commercial, 80 recreational), two operational locks, 104 miles of breakwaters and jetties, and more than 600 miles of maintained navigation channels. In addition, the Great Lakes Navigation System connects to several other shallow-draft waterways (Illinois Waterway, New York State Barge Canal, etc.) to form an important waterborne transportation network, reaching deep into the continent. The Great Lakes handle 175 million tons of commodities on average each year. Major commodities included iron ore (42 percent), coal (19 percent), and limestone (19 percent). • The Ohio River System (main stem and tributaries) provides 2,600 miles of navigable waters and enables 245 million tons to ship

annually, equating to nearly 30 percent of the country’s domestic waterborne commerce, with the main commodity being coal. • Flood risk management protects people and the economy. The division manages: 84 dams and reservoirs for flood risk reduction, water supply, environmental stewardship, and recreation in cooperation with local water supply managers and stakeholders; 539 miles of levees and more than 100 local flood protection projects that include walls, levees, and channel improvements; helps fight during flood conditions and repair certified levees that are damaged by storms; and manages 1.5 million acres of land and water, including 756 recreation areas at 100 lake and river sites. These areas receive more than 80 million visitors annually and generate 27,000 jobs within local communities. Recreation sites include parks, campgrounds, marinas, swim areas, hiking trails, and a host of other recreational activities and areas for outdoor enthusiasts.




ith unprecedented levels of precipitation during the spring and summer of 2019, both Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, along with other Great Lakes, are experiencing record water levels, leaving many people asking questions about how to protect their shoreline from flooding and anticipated erosion. In response, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Buffalo District is taking proactive efforts to incorporate coastal resiliency concepts into infrastructure projects along the Great Lakes’ shorelines. “We want to make sure that our actions will take care of the largest freshwater resource our nation has while reducing the risk associated with these extreme water events,” said Lt. Col. Jason Toth, Buffalo

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Buffalo District biologist Kathleen Buckler, along with a team of biologists from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, performed pre-construction wetland assessments on 12 acres of an existing wetland as part of the Port Clinton Ecosystem Restoration Project, Oct. 3, 2018.


District commander. “When we look at the Great Lakes, we are talking about approximately 4,530 miles of shoreline, so to accomplish coastal resiliency, it is going to take unified state, local, and federal efforts.” Buffalo District has been working on many projects that will result in long-term withstanding of high- and low-water-level conditions. The Braddock Bay Ecosystem Restoration Project along Lake Ontario and the Port Clinton Ecosystem Restoration Project on Lake Erie are among these projects. The Braddock Bay project, funded by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) and substantially complete as of September 2018, addresses the gradual loss of a historic barrier beach and erosion of more than 100 acres of coastal wetlands along the Lake Ontario shoreline, through construction of a barrier beach, a 3-acre headland beach, and two 150-foot-long headland rubblemound breakwaters. The project benefits Lake Ontario and its residents by restoring 185 acres of coastal wetland, re-creating wildlife and plant diversity, and creating shoreline sustainability by protecting 0.6 miles of Lake Ontario shoreline. This project has already proven resilient, having withstood the record-high 2017 and 2019 water levels. “Building coastal resiliency requires rethinking our approach to balancing coastal hazards, environmental benefits, and natural functions,” said Joshua Unghire, Buffalo District ecologist. “This must be done with an understanding of the factors that affect our coastlines, how they are changing, and what our long-term goals are for our coastal communities and environment.” The Port Clinton Ecosystem Restoration Project, under the Great Lakes Fisheries and Ecosystem Restoration (GLFER) Authority, and using GLFER funds, started this year, working to restore 12 acres and add another 1.4 acres of coastal wetlands along Lake Erie. Project benefits include improved habitat for wildlife and plants and a restored vital stop-off point for migratory bird habitat, with secondary benefits of enhanced recreation, safety, and shoreline stability.



The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Buffalo District’s Braddock Bay Ecosytem Restoration Project, funded by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, along with Lake Ontario in Greece, New York, withstood the higher lake levels this year, demonstrating a great example of coastal resiliency, June 25, 2019.

“Coastal systems are increasingly vulnerable to flooding due to the combined influence of coastal storms, development and population growth, geomorphic change, and sea-level rise,” as reported by the U.S. Army Research and Development Center report titled, Use of Natural and Nature-based Features for Coastal Resilience, published in January 2015. Restoring natural features to the Great Lakes, such as coastal wetlands, will assist with functions such as reducing flood damage and erosion while improving water quality. “Coastal resiliency is a critically important theme that will guide much of our district’s work moving forward for the next generation,” said David Schulenberg, Buffalo District Planning Branch chief. n



ince September 2010, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Chicago District has completed projects to restore more than 1,000 acres of habitat in metropolitan Chicago, most of it along the Chicago River. In 2018, partnering with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago and the Chicago Park District, the USACE Chicago District restored the riparian zones and embankments in River Park and Horner Park, to include the removal of a dam on the north branch of the river. The next project could be Bubbly Creek, a former dumping ground for Chicago’s meatpacking industry, which still bubbles to this day. In partnership with the city of Chicago, USACE has studied restoration of the creek. This restoration would not be possible without


the improvement to the river system due to Chicago’s Tunnel and Reservoir Plan (TARP). Throughout its natural history, the waters of the Chicago River fed Lake Michigan until a monumental project in 1900 altered the river to reverse the flow away from the lake. The new course would flush the water south, bringing along with it the waste of Chicago – stormwater runoff, garbage, industrial waste, and sometimes raw sewage. How to manage storm waters in an impervious urban environment would continue to be the dominant engineering challenge in Chicago for several more decades, due in part to Chicago’s stormwater conveyance pipes being combined with wastewater and sewage pipes. The



combined sewers are easily overwhelmed during heavy rain events, causing backflow into the basements of residents and businesses and overflow into city streets and highways. During massive storms, the combined sewers overflow into Lake Michigan, the drinking water source for millions of people. In the 1970s, an environmental awakening would lead to the National Environmental Policy Act, the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species acts. These trends would also begin a new approach to how cities looked at their natural environment, to include the Chicago River. TARP would be the new solution to the combined sewer engineering challenge, with USACE’s contribution being the massive McCook Reservoir to hold combined sewage overflow.

Residents and kayakers enjoy a day in Horner Park in Chicago in September 2018 shortly after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Chicago District and the Chicago Park District reopened the restored riparian zone and embankment area next to the Chicago River. Since 2010, the Chicago District has completed projects to restore more than 1,000 acres of habitat in metropolitan Chicago, most of it along the Chicago River.

Now, more than 100 years after the river flow was reversed, and after completion of miles of tunnels and the McCook Reservoir, the Chicago River is cleaner and poised to see a greener future. Because of TARP and restoration efforts, a growing ecosystem thrives throughout the river, with natural vegetation, fish and aquatic wildlife, and birds and other species that rely on the Chicago River as a way of life. n 47




onstruction of a new Soo Lock in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, is moving forward, as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District held Industry Day events in May and June for potential contractors. Industry Day events were held for two phases of New Soo Lock project construction: upstream channel deepening, and upstream approach walls. Contractors were taken on a site visit to help gain awareness of the construction site, and a formal presentation was delivered to help highlight sections of the plans and specifications where input from industry was most desired. “These events proved to be an excellent opportunity for communication with contractors interested in the upcoming New Soo Lock construction contracts,” said Mollie Mahoney, project manager of the New Soo Lock. “Their valuable feedback enables us to deliver the highest-quality product.” Construction of the New Soo Lock began in 2009 with the placement of the cofferdams on either end of the Sabin Lock and the downstream channel deepening. There are three remaining phases of construction work: upstream channel deepening, upstream approach walls, and new lock chamber.

All three phases of the New Soo Lock project are currently in the design phase with Work Plan and state of Michigan funds. The first phase of construction on the New Soo Lock, the upstream channel deepening contract, is on schedule to be awarded December 2019. The second phase of construction on the New Soo Lock, the upstream approach walls contract, is on schedule to be awarded July 2020. Lock construction could be complete, with efficient funding, within seven to 10 years of the construction kickoff. Total work is estimated to cost approximately $1 billion. For more information about the New Soo Lock project, visit: www.lre.usace.army.mil/About/Highlighted-Projects/New_Soo_Lock/. n


Right and below: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District held an Industry Day event in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, in May 2019 to seek feedback from potential contractors on the New Soo Lock upstream channel deepening plans and specifications.





Aerial photo of Bluestone Dam. Located on the scenic New River in southern West Virginia, the dam is a massive concrete structure built in the 1940s to reduce flooding across the state.

BY CHARLES MINSKER, Huntington District


he makeover at Bluestone Dam has been a slow process, but the final part of the process is now underway. Located on the scenic New River in southern West Virginia, the dam is a massive concrete structure built in the 1940s to reduce flooding across the state. It’s enjoyed a long history of success, preventing more than $6 billion in flood damages during its lifetime. However, a challenge to the dam’s ability to withstand occurred in the late 1990s. For 20 years, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has worked to bring the dam up to modern safety standards as part of its Dam Safety Assurance project, accomplished through four phases that entail the building of a massive concrete thrust block to strengthen and stabilize the dam, with a unique system of more than 500 rock anchors directionally drilled deep into the bedrock to help the dam resist the intense forces of extreme stormwaters. Work has begun on the final phase that involves redesigning and strengthening the stilling basin, the area just below the dam that includes stone and large concrete baffles that decrease the energy from the water before it continues downstream. Studies have shown that an intense storm might wash away the stone in that basin and cause erosion, undermining the dam. Huntington District Commander Col. Jason Evers said, “To keep that from happening, we’re going to use concrete to armor the stilling basin. The dam has to keep water moving while that’s happening, so we’re putting cofferdams in the middle of the basin. That way,


we can dewater half of the basin and do the work while the other half continues to keep the river flowing.” The work was made possible when Congress passed the Bipartisan Budget Act in 2018, which appropriated $17 billion to USACE for infrastructure projects. That included all the funds required for the Huntington District to complete this phase of work. The district was challenged to take this unprecedented opportunity to “move dirt” and to ensure projects like this are implemented quickly. Senior project manager Aaron Smith said, “The team at Bluestone Dam took that challenge to heart and advanced the start of the primary spillway work by over four years. In the past year alone, the Corps has awarded five contracts to start this work. We can see significant progress already, as the installation gets underway of a $22 million temporary cofferdam by Brayman Construction. The goal is to have this cofferdam in place so we’re ready to begin the stilling basin modifications next year.” The cofferdam will form a concrete dividing wall that will divide the basin: One side will continue normal water flow while the other side is lined with concrete and larger concrete baffles will be constructed. Once one side is finished (including the installation of a permanent dividing wall, allowing easy dewatering of the area for future inspections), the process is reversed. When complete, the dam will be able to handle most catastrophic weather events, and will continue doing the job it has done so well for the past 70 years: protecting the residents who live downriver from its towering walls. n



The Louisville District-based furniture team collaborates with principals and teachers on furniture types for various school rooms and settings.



or the past five years, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Louisville District has been partnered with the Department of Defense Education Activity (DODEA), providing furniture and equipment for schools around the world. DODEA is a federally operated school system, and according to its website, is responsible for planning, directing, coordinating, and managing prekindergarten through 12th-grade educational programs on behalf of the Department of Defense. “We did our first project with DODEA in 2014,” said Brian Cash, Louisville District program manager. Murray Elementary School at Fort Stewart in Georgia was the furniture team’s first project, and the completion of that project helped build the relationship with DODEA. USACE is DODEA’s construction contracting agent, and Louisville District’s Cash and Jared Korfhage are the primary project managers who oversee contract execution and furniture delivery. The DODEA furniture team also includes budget analyst Annette Mode,

who provides budget support for the program. The district’s interior designers primarily include Liche Sastro and Colleen Crum, and they provide furniture, fixtures, and equipment, also known as FF&E, with the attributes required for the 21st century style of learning. “We started with just procuring furniture, but the program has grown into much more. For example, now we provide anything from broadcast and physical fitness equipment to security cameras,” Korfhage said. “Whatever DODEA and the school needs, we are there to support.” The furniture process includes the review of products, layouts, and design colors. The team is also responsible for the contracting process, including shipping, installation, punch inspection, and a post-occupancy visit to ensure quality assurance. The district team collaborates with a school’s principal and teachers on the type of furniture they desire in the classrooms, kitchenette, storage space, group rooms, administration suites, health unit, and 51


common areas. Additional spaces that may need furniture and equipment could include an occupational and physical therapy room, computer lab, and gymnasium. The team orders anything from typical furniture like tables and chairs to audio visual, pallet jack, scissor lift, physical fitness equipment, fire extinguishers, evacuation chairs, and more. “We enjoy working with DODEA and take a lot of pride in what we do,” Korfhage said. “To see the end product and students using what we’ve helped put together is very rewarding.” In addition to working with the schools, the Louisville District DODEA furniture team works diligently with DODEA and conducts site visits at different phases throughout the project to include a closing furniture punch inspection at the end to ensure everything required has been received. The team also provides guidance and direction to each vendor, so they understand the requirements and expectations during the shipping and installation phase. “Since 2014, we have helped with approximately 30 schools and are currently working on 11 more that will open between now and

August 2020,” Cash said. “In addition, there are 45 school projects that have been identified in the next 10 years.” DODEA’s schools are divided into three areas: Europe, Pacific, and the Americas, and the Louisville District DODEA furniture team assists in all three. “We have projects in the United States, Korea, Japan, Germany, Spain, and future projects in Italy, United Kingdom, and Brussels,” Cash said. In fiscal year 2018, the DODEA furniture program awarded $13.5 million in contracts involving 19 schools, completed installs on eight schools, and was officially assigned the outfitting program in February 2018. The outfitting program is made up of a team leading the 21st century educational facility project. The team in outfitting identifies stakeholders and key players who are critical to the success of a new school opening. “I have really enjoyed growing the program and working with the schools,” Cash said. “The team has worked diligently to put ourselves in position to execute [the projects] for several years to come.” n



Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Nashville District officials are building a strong partnership with project contractor AECOM as they prepare to place concrete for a new navigation lock at Chickamauga Dam on the Tennessee River. They are actively working together to reduce safety risks as well as construction risks that could affect contract costs and schedule, and identify opportunities for improvement as part of a headquarters pilot program called the Joint Risk Register. Adam Walker, USACE project manager for the Chickamauga Lock Replacement Project, said the register is being used to identify risk, potential impacts, and mitigation measures associated with the lock chamber contract. “It highlights risk that they identify as part of their workflow and we’ll identify risk that we identify from the government’s point of view, and just talk about them as a group and figure out what is the best way to mitigate those and get ahead of them before they actually occur,” Walker explained.

AECOM mobilized equipment into the cofferdam and constructed a conveyor system that stretches about 900 feet from the batch plant, under the highway bridge, over the existing navigation lock, and into the cofferdam. Bill Groth, AECOM project manager, said having a Joint Risk Register is unique for the $240 million contract, because it does provide a systemic process to collectively mitigate risk while constructing the monoliths for the lock chamber and installing the miter gates. “Communicating early and expressing concerns on both sides makes it possible to deal with issues promptly to promote safety, save costs, and expedite scheduling,” Groth said. “Having a Joint Risk Register and being able to share the concerns of both parties, I think we’re working toward a common goal of addressing everyone’s concerns – at the same time, lowering the stress levels on the job because now we know what’s ahead of us,” he said. USACE Headquarters began testing the Joint Risk Register in 2018 at the Chickamauga Lock Replacement Project but has since 53



implemented the register across the entire Corps of Engineers, including all other projects within the Nashville District. Kenny Simmons, architect in USACE’s Construction Branch, said the Joint Risk Register makes it possible for USACE to build relationships and collaborate with private-sector partners while developing processes and tools to deliver projects more effectively. “Chickamauga Lock is an excellent test project for the Joint Risk Register,” Simmons said. “We’ve been working with them to fine tune the strategy before rolling it out as formal policy. They have been giving us feedback on a monthly basis on the progress and possible adjustments we’ll make to that policy in the future to better prepare the Corps of Engineers across the enterprise.” 54

Contractor AECOM works June 12, 2019, to install a 900-foot conveyor system that will deliver concrete to construct a lock chamber as part of the Chickamauga Lock Replacement Project at Chickamauga Dam, a Tennessee Valley Authority project. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Nashville District is working with the contractor to reduce safety and construction risk, and identify opportunities for improvement as part of a USACE Headquarters pilot program called the Joint Risk Register.

As USACE rolls out more advanced partnering techniques for construction contracts, officials plan to include the Joint Risk Register in formal policy updates. n





n its endeavor to generate the message of and vision for the future of its recreation sites, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Pittsburgh District changed the way it interacts with its stakeholders and the public. Traditionally, USACE used a relatively rigid and predictable stakeholder engagement system to ensure that the public is aware of changing conditions at critical projects. This top-down approach can lead to stakeholders feeling like a small part of the process – not anymore. To lead the change, Pittsburgh District brought in Andrea Carson as its master planner to oversee the process. This new approach to public partnering can be seen in the district’s master plan public meetings. Carson used these public meetings to augment the district’s traditional methods and create a process that brings critical information to public stakeholders and ensures each stakeholder gets an opportunity to provide input. “Getting out into the public and hearing firsthand from our recreation customers how they use and want to use our facilities [are] vital components in the decision-making process,” Carson said. “It’s important for us, at the Corps, to ensure our users play a role in the process and that it’s been transparent and as fair as possible.” The resulting process addresses the risk of stakeholders not feeling like part of the discussion by changing the top-down dynamic to one of an inclusive dialogue and strategic analysis. This type of environment fosters ideas and allows for maximum flexibility to adapt to stated public needs. “Knowing how the public wants to use our facilities allows us to make better-informed decisions,” said Carson. “We want to know what currently works well, as well as where the challenges are because it’s in those challenges that we have the greatest opportunity to improve.” Now, at the forefront of the discussion, are the district’s partners and a greater sense of community. It brings everyone onto a level field where ideas and questions can be shared openly, rather than a single entity dictating every move. Partnering with other agencies like the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) provides a broader view of possibilities. “This type of face-to-face conversation is critical to ensuring that all stakeholders have an opportunity to dive into what they see as priorities and contribute their perspective to the larger conversation,” said John Trevelline, ODNR.

Andrea Carson and members of the Pittsburgh District master plans team field questions from local constituents during a meeting in Wilcox, Pennsylvania, April 2018.

Having the opportunity to speak directly with experts allows the process to drive toward big ideas. “These master plans guide the use of government-owned and -leased lands around the lake in a way that promotes safe and healthful use while maintaining environmental safeguards to ensure a quality resource for public use,” said John Chopp, wildlife biologist, Pittsburgh District. According to Col. Andrew Short, district commander, the process is effective. “We are fortunate to have the best team helping to meet the needs of all stakeholders inside a process which is uniquely intimate and effective,” said Short. n

Pittsburgh District’s 26,000 square miles include portions of western Pennsylvania, northern West Virginia, eastern Ohio, western Maryland, and southwestern New York within the Upper Ohio River Basin. The district’s jurisdiction includes more than 328 miles of navigable waterways, 23 navigation locks and dams, 16 multipurpose reservoirs, 42 local floodprotection projects, and other projects to protect and enhance the nation’s water resources, infrastructure, and environment.




he Mississippi Valley Division is responsible for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) water resources programs within 370,000 square miles of the Mississippi River Valley. The division boundary encompasses the entire Mississippi River from Lake Itasca, Minnesota, to the Gulf of Mexico, and includes all or parts of 12 states: Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. District offices located in St. Paul, Minnesota; Rock Island, Illinois; St. Louis, Missouri; Memphis, Tennessee; Vicksburg, Mississippi; and New Orleans, Louisiana, conduct the programs and activities overseen by the division. More than 250 tributaries drain into the Mississippi River, the largest of which are the Ohio and Missouri rivers. The 1.25-million-square-mile Mississippi River drainage basin (third largest in the world) gathers

ST. PAUL DISTRICT The St. Paul District encompasses 139,000 square miles in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Iowa. Four river basins fall within its jurisdiction: the Upper Mississippi River, the Red River of the North, the Souris River, and the Rainy River. The district employs approximately 650 professionals at more than 40 sites within its five-state footprint. • 4 drainage basins • 13 locks and dams • 16 reservoirs • 102 recreations areas, with 1,189 campsites and 435 picnic sites • 280 miles of 9-foot navigation channels maintained St. Paul District (651) 290-5807 CEMVP-PA@usace.army.mil

ROCK ISLAND DISTRICT Founded in 1866, the Rock Island District encompasses more than 78,000 square miles in Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Missouri, and includes 314 miles of the Mississippi River from Guttenberg, Iowa, to Saverton, Missouri, and 268 miles of the Illinois waterway from Lake Street in downtown Chicago to the LaGrange Lock and Dam, southwest of Beardstown, Illinois. The district employs approximately 800 professionals at its headquarters and 27 field office sites. 56

water from 41 percent of the continental United States, including all or parts of 31 states and two Canadian provinces. Missions throughout the division include: • Navigation • Flood risk management • Environmental stewardship • Emergency operations • Real estate management • Regulatory • Recreation • Support for others • Water supply • Hydropower • Hurricane and storm damage risk reduction • Formerly Utilized Sites Remediation Action Program

• 3 Iowa reservoirs: Saylorville, Red Rock, and Coralville • 5 river basins: Des Moines, Rock, Iowa/ Cedar, Illinois, and Mississippi river basins • 20 lock and dam sites • 196 recreation areas, with 2,817 campsites and 451 picnic sites • 582 miles of navigation channel Rock Island District (309) 794-4200 CEMVR-CC@usace.army.mil

ST. LOUIS DISTRICT Founded in 1872, the St. Louis District is strategically located at the crossroads of three major river systems: the Illinois, Mississippi, and Missouri. The district encompasses some 28,000 square miles, almost equally divided between Illinois and Missouri. The district is responsible for 300 miles of the Mississippi from Saverton, Missouri, to Cairo, Illinois, 80 miles of the Illinois River, and 36 miles of the Kaskaskia River, and reduces flood risks to more than 3,000 acres of industrial and commercial property. The district employs more than 650 professionals at its headquarters and 12 field office sites. • 10 rivers • 5 locks and dams • 5 reservoirs: Carlyle, Shelbyville, Mark Twain, Rend, and Wappapello • 750 miles of levees • 92 flood control systems

• 416 miles of navigable channel • 70 pumping plants • 162 recreation areas, with 4,141 campsites and 498 picnic sites • 1 hydropower plant St. Louis District (314) 331-8000 TeamSTL-PAO@usace.army.mil

MEMPHIS DISTRICT Founded in 1882, the Memphis District encompasses 25,000 square miles in portions of Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, and Kentucky. Eleven major river basins fall under its jurisdiction, including the Mississippi, Ohio, White, and St. Francis rivers and West Tennessee tributaries. The district employs approximately 450 professional and skilled employees in its headquarters, Ensley Engineers Yard area offices, and pumping plants. • 4 pumping plants • 11 drainage basins • 90 flood control structures • 741 miles of navigable channel • 1,200 miles of levees, including 640 miles of mainline Mississippi River levees Memphis District (901) 544-3005 MemphisPAO@usace.army.mil



Founded in 1873, the Vicksburg District encompasses 68,000 square miles in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas. Seven major river basins fall under its jurisdiction, including the Mississippi, Red, Ouachita, Pearl, and Yazoo rivers. The district employs approximately 1,100 professionals in its headquarters and 11 field offices. • 9 watersheds • 7 Mississippi River ports/5 Red River ports • 1,252 miles of navigable channel • 12 locks and 9 dams on the Pearl, Red, and Ouachita rivers • 478 flood control structures • 3 power plants • 1,910 miles of levees • 10 flood control reservoirs • 146 recreation areas • 450,603 acres of forestry and wildlife land • 21 pumping plants

The New Orleans District encompasses 30,000 square miles in Louisiana. The district employs approximately 1,000 professionals at 33 sites within its area of operation. • 5 of the nation’s 15 busiest ports • 14 recreation areas, with 30 campsites and 20 picnic sites • 15 pumping plants • 18 locks and control structures • 325 miles of hurricane risk reduction levees • 973 miles of Mississippi River and tributaries’ levees • 2,800 miles of navigable waterway • 8,000 annual regulatory actions New Orleans District (504) 862-2201 askthecorps@usace.army.mil

Vicksburg District (601) 631-5000 or (800) 522-5672 CEMVK-PA@usace.army.mil

MISSISSIPPI VALLEY DIVISION/MISSISSIPPI RIVER COMMISSION P.O. Box 80 Vicksburg, MS 39181 (601) 634-5760 www.mvd.usace.army.mil/ www.facebook.com/mississippivalleydivision/ twitter.com/MVD_USACE www.facebook.com/mississippirivercommission twitter.com/msrivercomm ST. PAUL DISTRICT 180 5th St. E., Ste. 700 St. Paul, MN 55101-1678 (651) 290-5807 www.mvp.usace.army.mil/ www.facebook.com/usace.saintpaul twitter.com/StPaulUSACE www.flickr.com/photos/usace-stpaul/ www.youtube.com/user/usacemvppao www.instagram.com/stpaulusace/ ROCK ISLAND DISTRICT Clock Tower Building P.O. Box 2004 Rock Island, IL 61204-2004 (800) 799-8302 or (309) 794-4200 www.mvr.usace.army.mil/ www.facebook.com/RockIslandDistrictUSACE twitter.com/USACERockIsland

MEMPHIS DISTRICT 167 N. Main St., Room B-202 Memphis, TN 38103-1894 (901) 544-3005 www.mvm.usace.army.mil/ www.facebook.com/MemphisUSACE twitter.com/MemphisDistrict www.youtube.com/user/MemphisDistrictCorps VICKSBURG DISTRICT 4155 East Clay St. Vicksburg, MS 39183-3435 (601) 631-5000 www.mvk.usace.army.mil/ www.facebook.com/VicksburgUSACE

www.youtube.com/channel/UCpYFx06MglFCMVk3RYoSkVw www.twitter.com/Vicksburgusace

NEW ORLEANS DISTRICT P.O. Box 60267 www.instagram.com/usacerockisland/ New Orleans, LA 70160-0267 www.linkedin.com/company?us-army- corps-of-engi- (504) 862-2201 neers-rock-island-district www.mvn.usace.army.mil/ www.facebook.com/usacenola ST. LOUIS DISTRICT twitter.com/teamneworleans 1222 Spruce St., St. Louis, MO 63103 www.flickr.com/photos/teamneworleans (314) 331-8000 www.youtube.com/user/teamneworleans www.mvs.usace.army.mil/ www.facebook.com/teamsaintlouis twitter.com/teamsaintlouis www.youtube.com/user/TeamSaintLouis





The group examines a sand boil.



ater management experts from the Netherlands visited the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Memphis District during the first week in March 2019 to collect information on how USACE water management systems and partner agencies work together during a flood fight. USACE and the Rijkswaterstaat (the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management of the Netherlands) have a memorandum of understanding to exchange water management information and experiences to benefit both countries. The agreement was the basis for an international flood response exercise held in the Netherlands in 2016, where USACE invited its Dutch counterparts of Rijkswaterstaat and the Regional Water Authorities to the United States to observe USACE flood-fighting techniques. This, in turn, prompted the Dutch delegation’s visit to Memphis during the spring high water. The delegation consisted of seven subject-matter experts in crisis management, levee inspection, and levee engineering. The Dutch contingent toured three of the eight areas involved in the Phase II flood fight with Memphis District Levee Safety Program Manager Nick Bidlack and Geotechnical Chief Cory Williams as their guides. Bidlack and Williams explained the system design and


decision-making processes that are producing successful results during this current high-water event. “We are 5,000 miles apart with comparable challenges and we’ve arrived at similar solutions by very different routes,” Williams said. According to members of the Dutch delegation, the many miles of levees, dikes, and seawalls in the Netherlands helped the public develop and maintain a high level of levee awareness and everyone has a personal lifetime commitment to it. “This is a wonderful opportunity for real-life observations of the processes and practices used here in Memphis to build on our own experiences and skills,” said Bart Vonk of the Rijkswaterstaat. USACE’s Bidlack said, “We are all very passionate about protecting our people, and it was great to know that our counterparts around the world also take this government responsibility so very personally.” Memphis District Commander Col. Mike Ellicott expressed his support for the international visit by stating, “This sharing of knowledge and skills builds continued confidence that the very best in systems and resources are used in the protection of the people in both our nations … The Memphis District is proud to share the many successes we’ve achieved in the district, and we look forward to the continued study and dialogue with these very qualified peers.” n




Benjamin Mack. “As an engineering student, we can read blueprints and create certain structures, but the construction aspect is a bit harder to understand with the limited experience we have received.” The work performed during this winter’s maintenance project at Lock and Dam 11 included drilling relief wells, placing caps on the new relief wells, demolishing embedded miter gate anchorages, and placing new anchorage plates. During their visit to the lock, students got an eagle-eye view of the dewatered lock chamber from the site’s observation deck and learned why relief wells are needed for the lock to be dewatered safely. After the overview from above, students split into two groups and traveled down into the dewatered lock chamber for a rare look inside. Providing tours of the dewatered lock is not something USACE regularly offers to the public, but Stephens saw it as an opportunity to showcase the district’s work.


group of students with the University of WisconsinPlatteville (UWP) American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) chapter got an inside look at Lock and Dam 11 in Dubuque, Iowa, while it was dewatered for winter maintenance. The tour was led by civil engineer Erica Stephens, Lock and Dam 11 lockmaster Gary Kilburg, and construction project engineer Charles Bauer. While touring the dewatered lock, students learned how winter maintenance on the Rock Island District’s locks are critical to keeping aging infrastructure up and running. Getting to walk on the bottom of the lock chamber was a unique experience for the students, as very few people outside of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and its contractors ever get to visit the inside of a dewatered lock. “As an engineer, it is important to see what is going on in a construction zone,” said UWP ASCE Student President-elect (now President)

Gary Kilburg, lockmaster for Lock and Dam 11, explains the winter maintenance process to University of Wisconsin-Platteville engineering students.



“As a UWP graduate and ASCE member myself, I thought it would be a good opportunity for the students to see real-world application of what they are learning in the classroom,” Stephens said. “It makes students aware of what kind of work the Rock Island District does and the benefits we provide to the public.” When asked what the students get out of tours like this, Mack said that the real-world engineering examples are the biggest benefit of the trip along with speaking to the folks on the ground. “Talking with experienced professionals about what is happening on the jobsite helps just a bit more when creating a certain structure, especially for the efficiency of constructability,” Mack said. The UWP ASCE chapter includes more than 200 students with about 50 to 75 of those students maintaining an active role in the group. In addition to attending meetings and tours like the one at Lock and Dam 11, the group competes in competitions like concrete canoe building and steel bridge building. They also attend many K-12 outreach programs, where they go to schools and present about civil

engineering and ASCE. Additionally, they participate in a once-per-semester highway cleanup along designated routes. While the ASCE chapter stays busy throughout the year, the tour of the dewatered lock provided a unique experience that extended beyond their typical goal of acquiring engineering information and allowed them a chance to step back in history a bit. “The group was very excited for this opportunity and we all left amazed,” Mack said. “After the tour, we had the chance to look at photos of the lock and dam construction in the 1930s, and these photos were quite amazing. Compared to the machinery they used in the ’30s, the equipment that we have now is far superior.” Not only was this an opportunity for the students of UWP, but USACE employees benefited from the tour as well. “It is a great opportunity to get to know engineering students and to promote a career that is very rewarding,” Stephens said. “I love being able to discuss with them how the material they are learning in college will ultimately be applied in their careers.” n




s America’s lead engineering organization, it is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) responsibility to promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)-related curriculum and careers. The St. Louis District K-12 Outreach Program serves as a model outreach program for USACE. Led by the public affairs outreach coordinator, the program relies completely on volunteers and ties the missions of the St. Louis District and its partners with the needs of local students. By partnering with local federal and nonfederal agencies and organizations, the outreach team has been able to continue to successfully support and expand the Outreach Program. These partnering organizations include: the Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Defense Contract Management Agency Boeing St. Louis, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center, the St. Louis Zoo, the Audubon Center at Riverlands, the National Park Service, and St. Teresa Catholic School. Additionally, the team has entered into memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with local high schools and universities. These MOUs help enhance and expand the district’s Outreach Program. The program truly is invaluable. Professionals take their knowledge and skills and share them with students who would otherwise never have the opportunity to talk to an engineer, archaeologist, or park ranger.

The St. Teresa Catholic School program utilizes in-class presentations, workshops, activities, and field trips that promote the missions of USACE, its partners, and stakeholders. Environmental managers from the Weldon Spring Department of Energy spoke with students about groundwater monitoring, radiation, and unstable molecules.



During the past four years, the St. Louis District outreach team conducted and par ticipated in hundreds of STEM events, interacting with more than 53,000 children and adults. In 2018, the team continued its success, reaching more than 15,000 adults and children locally, nationally, and internationally. The program continues to establish new directions and partnerships along with a growing and enthusiastic volunteer

base. The synergy achieved through these partnerships not only serves the nation by promoting STEM careers, it has also strengthened the relationship the local community has with the federal government. By investing in a new generation of American engineers and scientists, the St. Louis District Outreach Program continues to help prepare the next generation of leaders to face the transformational challenges that lie ahead. n



rmor 1, the replacement for the Mat Sinking Unit (MSU), reaches an important milestone in 2019, as the program transitions from design to construction. Armor 1 has been through a detailed concept-to-design prototyping process over the last several years. Construction contracts were awarded in September 2019 to build Armor 1. The marine barge contract, which is for the superstructure of the vessel, was awarded to Thoma-Sea Marine Constructors in Houma, Louisiana. The robotics integration contract was awarded to SIA Solutions LLC, the same contractor that led the design and prototype efforts. The construction will begin in late 2019 and will take three years. Armor 1 will be built at the Thoma-Sea shipyard in Louisiana, and the robotics will be installed and tested on site. The team responsible for delivery of the design will also be coordinating and assisting during the construction, including the USACE Marine Design Center, SIA LLC, NREC, Bristol Harbor Group, and the American Bureau of Shipping Group. The project schedule also includes a full-scale test of Armor 1 on the Mississippi River. Armor 1’s design is not focused solely on robotics but is driven along three overarching standards: safety, reliability, and efficiency. • Safety - Marine safety design is in accordance with the American Bureau of Shipping Group (ABSG) standards. The ABSG standards are used for both commercial and governmental marine vessels to ensure these vessels are in compliance with all modern design specifications. • Reliability - The current mat sinking has been in operation since 1948 and is both difficult and expensive to maintain. Many of the MSU components are no longer manufactured and have to be either machined on site or specially ordered, which often results in repair delays. Modern common components, modern winching systems, and marine hull design are among the many features that will dramatically increase reliability. • Efficiency – Armor 1 will be built to double the production rate, use fuel more efficiently, and be easier to move from place to place. Increased efficiency also reduces impact to industry


partners who rely on an open waterway with fewer restrictions for the commercial movement of goods. The design process for Armor 1 consists of extensive prototyping and testing to ensure that all of the systems work both individually and collectively. This very deliberate process helps ensure that the best design available is used for the final construction plans. Part of the testing process is to source parts and components that are readily available and are checked for best cost and durability. Prototype robotic components are run through a series of tests at the National Robotics and Engineering Center (NREC) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. These tests result in the robotics being disassembled, redesigned, and improved. This iterative method is the best approach to ensure a complete design that fully meets the needs of USACE. The Armor 1 systems are designed to work with the district’s standard specification articulated concrete mattress (ACM). The district provided NREC with different quality levels of ACM early on in the process for use in robotic system development. This led to improvements such as cable grabbers that fit into the scarf box to pull cables into the tie head and greatly improved lifting arms that pick up and secure the ACM to help prevent breakage. A new active deck roller system allows the alignment of scarf boxes supporting the robotic tie gantry system. Improved robotic systems will allow Armor 1 to meet a full production rate of 4,000 ACM squares a day, more than doubling the current output. One of the more hands-on aspects of the design is the development of a new manual tie tool. This new electric tie tool is for revetment workers doing quality control on Armor 1 who will use the tool to make ties that the robotics are unable to make. The first and second generations of this new tool were tested on the MSU during this past sinking season. Revetment workers were able to use the tool and provide onsite direct feedback to the NREC engineers who are designing and building the new equipment. The new tie tool is battery operated using a chargeable lithium battery similar to that of a drill or leaf blower. This will eliminate the yellow pneumatic hose lines that often are a safety nuisance



Artist rendering for the new Armor 1, the replacement for the Mat Sinking Unit.

across the deck of the MSU. The tool is also substantially lighter at 35 pounds and easier to use with many upgrades over the older tie tools. NREC built three of the new tie tools and delivered them

to the MSU. The tools will be used during the upcoming season. NREC will further evaluate the tools based on feedback from the MSU revetment workers and mechanics. The most important aspect of Armor 1 is support to the workforce. Vicksburg District is partnering with Hinds Community College (HCC) for training to help prepare workers for the transition to Armor 1. As the design is complete over the next year, NREC will define tasks necessary to run and maintain the robotic machinery and new equipment on Armor 1. HCC will develop a training curriculum that supports those skills and provide the necessary training to make the transition successful. This training program is anticipated to be introduced in 2020, with training becoming available in 2021. Armor 1 will be built over the next three years, with a full trial test in 2022. The mat sinking season in 2023 will be the first full sinking season with the new equipment. Armor 1 will allow reliable armoring of the channel for the next 50 years to protect the nation’s waterway infrastructure along the Mississippi River. n




he Vicksburg District hosted a signing ceremony for two water storage space agreements at DeGray Lake near Arkadelphia, Arkansas, April 3. Vicksburg District Commander Col. Michael C. Derosier, along with Central Arkansas Water (CAW) Chief Executive Officer Tad Bohannon and city of Hot Springs Mayor Pat McCabe, signed the agreements. The agreement with CAW is for an estimated 157,014 acre-feet of storage and will supply approximately 100 million gallons a day (MGD) of water to its customers. The agreement with the city of Hot Springs is for an estimated 31,456 acre-feet and will supply approximately 20 MGD. Representatives from the Vicksburg District, CAW, and the city of Hot Springs provided remarks during the ceremony. “This is absolutely remarkable – what is being achieved today,” said Dale Kimbrow, CAW’s manager of planning, regionalism, and future water sources. “The older you get, the more you start thinking about your family, your kids, and your grandkids, in my case. I know they are taken care of for the most important thing that’s going to be in their lives 30 to 40 years from now. We have now secured their future.” CAW and the city of Hot Springs have requested a combined 188,470 acre-feet of storage space, which equates to approximately 120 MGD, to be withdrawn from the main reservoir or upper pool of DeGray Lake. The agreements are the largest water storage space

From left to right, Central Arkansas Water Chief Executive Officer Tad Bohannan, Vicksburg District Commander Col. Michael Derosier, and city of Hot Springs Mayor Pat McCabe pose following a signing ceremony for two water storage space agreements at DeGray Lake near Arkadelphia, Arkansas.

agreements executed in the Vicksburg District and throughout the Mississippi Valley. Located on the Caddo River in Arkansas, DeGray Lake is a multipurpose reservoir with flood control, hydropower, water supply, environmental, and recreational functions. “It’s very exciting to have these multipurpose projects and to be able to move them in a direction that provides the benefits that Congress and all of you expect them to deliver,” said Derosier. CAW and the city of Hot Springs initiated the request for a water storage agreement with the Vicksburg District in October 2013. n 63




eplacing a complex and truly unique system like the Mat Sinking Unit sounds like no simple task – and indeed it is not. The next-generation Armor 1 is actually being developed as two distinct subsystems, each with its own project team, that will ultimately be combined into one. And the responsibility for bringing it all together for the Vicksburg District falls to the Army’s “boat builders”: the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Marine Design Center. Armor 1, designed to double mat placement capacity while increasing worker safety and lowering operating costs, will integrate a robotically controlled superstructure atop a new and improved mat boat. Team members to date include Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC); naval architecture and marine engineering firm Bristol Harbor Group, Inc. (BHGI); SIA Solutions LLC, coordinating the overall design effort; and, of course, the customer, Vicksburg District, fully engaged in all phases and aspects of the project. Still to be added are the shipyard that will construct the barge, and the contractor that will build the full-scale robotics package and then combine and deliver the two systems as one. Currently, mat sinking is a very labor-intensive process. Four gantry cranes move concrete squares from supply barges to an assembly barge (the mat boat), where workers use pneumatic tools to wire the mat together into 16 square sections. As the mat is being assembled, the assembly barge inches away from shore to launch the mat along the sloping river banks. NREC is designing the new robotic cranes and tying gantry, which will fully automate this mat sinking process. As more squares are placed on the launch deck, winches pay out cable, allowing the concrete fabric to slide down the launch deck. Once the appropriate number of squares have been connected, automatic clamping and tying units will cut the cables and let the mat slide off into the river. Completion of the initial design was followed by the prototype phase to test and validate its key elements. The prototype alone is already the largest robot ever built by NREC – a unit of the Robotics Institute, the largest robotics R&D organization in the world. Its 45-foot-tall gantry supports a single 55-foot-long, 24-ton arm that is about 20 feet above the ground. A carriage suspended from the arm is equipped with two hoists for picking up, transporting, and positioning concrete squares so they can be tied together with wire to create the mats. Each concrete “square” is 25 feet long, 4 feet wide, and 3 inches thick, and weighs 3,600 pounds. A deck has been installed for moving four rows of concrete squares as they are tied together by an automated mat tying system; in the final, deployed robot, the conveyance system also will launch the completed mats into the river.

Armor 1 prototype with lifting arm gantry and mat deck structure, already the largest robot ever built by Carnegie Mellon’s National Robotics Engineering Center.

Meanwhile, BHGI was tasked to design, size, and specify details for the new mat boat, mat assembly process, and mat placement process. This has involved coordinating with NREC to ensure that the structure for the mat deck can incorporate the robotics that will be installed over it. Under the new design, the mat boat itself will be a double-ended raked barge with another rake along the length of the starboard side to allow it to get as close to the shore as possible. It will be larger than the current mat boat to accommodate the faster production rate. Additional safety and operational improvements include four deck houses, one at each corner of the mat boat, that will allow operators to see the entire launch deck and supply barge operation as well as provide redundancy; and larger cable reels, which will reduce the number of times crew members have to splice and work with the cable. Electric hoists and monorails will move the larger reels in and out of the reel alley. As big as it is, the abovementioned prototype will be dwarfed by the final, much larger robot – the brains of the floating factory called Armor 1 that eventually will be deployed on barges along the Mississippi. It will have not just one, but six, of the 55-foot arms for moving concrete squares. Once installed on the new mat boat, Armor 1 will measure approximately 180 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high, and it will produce mats with 35 rows of concrete squares. n 65

SOUTH ATLANTIC DIVISION MULTI-PURPOSE PROJECTS IN THE SOUTH ATLANTIC DIVISION: NAVIGATION • 5,337 miles of navigable channels • 1,268 miles of levees • 234.4 million tons of commerce • 49 dams • 32 locks • 10 major harbors • 32 deep-draft harbors • 121 shallow-draft harbors

ENVIRONMENTAL/REGULATION • Everglades ($9.5 billion) WATER SUPPLY/CONSERVATION/STORAGE • 4.1 million acre-feet of storage for multi-purpose municipal and industrial use • 36 percent of potable water for Raleigh, North Carolina • 35 percent of potable water for Atlanta, Gorgia • 20 percent of potable water for South Florida

RECREATION • 31 lakes (6 of 10 most visited in the nation) • 26 visitor centers • 469 recreation sites • 199 boat ramps • 6,718 campsites

FLOOD DAMAGE REDUCTION • 5 percent of flood storage nationwide • 14 dams and reservoirs • 303 miles of federal channel • 1,323 miles of local levees/channels

HYDROELECTRIC POWER • 14 plants in 5 states • 3,131 megawatts capacity • Approximately 5,714 gigawatt-hours generated • Approximately $192 million in sales revenue

MILITARY CONSTRUCTION/MANAGEMENT • 5 major commands • 14 Army installations • 13 major Air Force bases • 32 percent Army (in the continental United States)

South Atlantic Division 60 Forsyth St. SW Atlanta, GA 30303 (404) 562-5011 www.sad.usace.army.mil www.facebook.com/USACESAD twitter.com/AtlantaCorps CHARLESTON DISTRICT 69A Hagood Ave. Charleston, SC 29403 (843) 329-8123 www.sac.usace.army.mil/ www.facebook.com/CharlestonCorps twitter.com/CharlestonCorps www.instagram.com/charlestoncorps/ www.youtube.com/user/USACESAC


JACKSONVILLE DISTRICT 701 San Marco Blvd. Jacksonville, FL 32207 (904) 232-2568 www.saj.usace.army.mil www.facebook.com/JacksonvilleDistrict twitter.com/JaxStrong www.flickr.com/people/jaxstrong www.youtube.com/JaxStrong

SAVANNAH DISTRICT 100 W. Oglethorpe Ave. Savannah, GA 31401 (912) 652-5279 www.sas.usace.army.mil/ facebook.com/SavannahCorps twitter.com/SavannahCorps flickr.com/SavannahCorps youtube.com/SavannahCorps

MOBILE DISTRICT 109 Saint Joseph St. Mobile, AL 36602-3630 (251) 690-2505 www.sam.usace.army.mil www.facebook.com/USACEMOBILE twitter.com/USACEMobile www.flickr.com/photos/usacemobile/albums www.youtube.com/channel/UCt9ig7LmPjUrUAaSWWV_Mw

WILMINGTON DISTRICT 69 Darlington Ave. Wilmington, NC 28403 (910) 251-4626 www.saw.usace.army.mil/ www.facebook.com/USACE.Wilmington twitter.com/USACEWilmington www.instagram.com/USACE_wilmington/ www.youtube.com/CORPSCONNECTION




Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) logistics and technical advisers joined forces with South Carolina National Guard engineering battalions in 2018 as part of Hurricane Florence response and recovery operations in Horry County, South Carolina. “I just want to say what an honor it was for the Corps of Engineers to support our FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency], local, and state partners in the post-storm period,” said then-USACE South Atlantic Division commander Brig. Gen. Diana M. Holland. “One of the ways we helped here was with flood mitigation efforts along U.S. Highway 501.” Philip Bethea, a construction engineer with the South Carolina Department of Transportation, underscored the importance of keeping the 501 corridor open as long as possible. “Our goal was to keep at least one lane open in each direction of the highway to ensure local residents had access to medical

Emergency Operations planner Andrew Fleming, Louisville District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, operates a hydraulic sandbag filler in Horry County, South Carolina, in support of Hurricane Florence flood risk management efforts, Sept. 16, 2018. The sandbagging system can generally fill up to 500 sandbags per hour and greatly enhances USACE’s ability to provide sandbags during natural disasters.

services, food, and supplies,” said Bethea. “Fortunately, the Army Corps and National Guard helped make that happen.” Lt. Col. William A. Matheny, commander, 122 Engineering Battalion, was the South Carolina National Guard’s senior engineer on the ground and was at the center of efforts to mitigate the risk of flooding in the area. “This actually wasn’t the first time I’d had the privilege of serving with Brig. Gen. Holland,” said Matheny. “She was my commander during a 2013 deployment to Afghanistan, and we really appreciated the resources she and her personnel were able to provide in support of our operations here on the ground in South Carolina.” With that in mind, USACE personnel worked around the clock to support the effort. According to Tommy Fennel, USACE’s onsite liaison officer assigned to the Horry County Emergency Operations Center, there were USACE personnel from across the country integrated into state and local efforts to provide logistics and technical advice regarding Hurricane Florence flood response efforts. “We supplied more than 22,000 linear feet of wire mesh barrier material and 125,000 sandbags to Horry County alone,” said Fennel. “These mission-critical supplies were deployed at the direction of the South Carolina Department of Transportation to help protect areas impacted by flooding.” n 67


Material dredged from the Charleston Harbor Entrance Channel is pumped into barges to be taken to the offshore dredged material disposal site.


redging in the Charleston Harbor Entrance Channel is underway as the first part of the Post 45 Harbor Deepening Project. Executing the first two contracts for the $529 million project, three dredges and roughly 40 support vessels began deepening and extending the Entrance Channel to 54 feet in March. “The first two contracts revolve around the Entrance Channel to remove more than 19 million cubic yards of material from the federal navigation channel,” said Holly Carpenter, project manager. “The Entrance Channel construction is the most time-consuming portion of the project. The next contract for the Lower Harbor deepening and widening construction is planned to be awarded next year and completed concurrently with the Entrance Channel work.” Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company was awarded both contracts for the Entrance Channel. They are using the cutterhead suction dredges Texas and Carolina, the two largest vessels of their kind in the United States, for the majority of the work. The material from these dredges is pumped into scows, which are essentially floating dump trucks, and transported to the Ocean Dredged Material Disposal Site, where it is placed. The excavator dredge New York is being used to scoop out larger chunks of material, compared to the finer material created by


BY SE AN McBRIDE, Charleston District

the cutterhead dredges. The larger material being dredged up by the excavator is also being placed into a scow, but is then being transported nearby to create two mitigation reefs equaling approximately 66 acres of hard-bottom habitat. “Creating the two mitigation reefs is a big part of this project,” said Carpenter. “We are also able to create more hard bottom as a beneficial-use placement for some of the material.” In addition to the three dredges and their scows are pipes, pumping decks, tug boats, survey vessels, and more, all working together to ensure the job is done properly. More than 200 people work on these vessels daily and the dredging operation takes place 24/7, unless delayed for weather or mechanical issues. The Post 45 Project construction is anticipated to last 40 to 76 months and will include the Upper and Lower harbors in addition to the Entrance Channel. n



he U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Jacksonville District turned megatons of dirt and sand in the past year as it executed disaster-recovery projects in Florida and Puerto Rico. And, by the end of this year, officials anticipate executing 60-plus contracts to keep the focus on reducing risk. Jacksonville District’s massive effort will make a significant difference in helping protect millions of people and their communities damaged by hurricanes Maria and Irma.

“This is an opportunity for us to make tomorrow better for many Americans, and we’re in warp drive to get the job done,” said Col. Drew Kelly, district commander. “From reducing risks to dozens of coastal communities in Florida, to massive inland flood damage reduction projects in storm-damaged Puerto Rico, these projects are improving the safety and quality of life for the citizens and communities that we serve, contributing to the economy, and putting people to work,” he said. 69

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (Public Law 115-123) and Flood Control and Coastal Emergencies (FCCE) funds are providing the district with roughly $4 billion for disaster recovery work. The FCCE funds allowed teams to immediately start repairs on federal risk reduction projects. Six county shore projects are in various phases of work today and two more are already completed. The district completed the full restoration of the Duval County Shore Protection Project in January, placing sand on 8 miles of critically eroded shoreline. The American Beach and Shore Preservation Association nationally recognized this project in May as one of the nation’s best-restored beaches for 2019. Outstanding teamwork led to finishing major back-to-back sand nourishments after two wicked hurricanes – Matthew in 2016 and Irma in 2017 – to ensure protection was in place prior to the following hurricane season. “The team’s emergency preparedness and response restored the beach in record time,” Project Manager Jason Harrah said. The team took advantage of existing beach construction contracts to cost-effectively make the repairs after Matthew, and again following Irma, he said. Innovation isn’t just a word; it’s a way of doing business to get massive and challenging work done. A $387 million base multiple-award task order contract awarded in January 2019 expedited construction on 28.6 miles of seepage cutoff wall in the 143-mile Herbert Hoover Dike, which surrounds Lake Okeechobee, the largest lake in Florida. The district also awarded a regional Indefinite quantity delivery multiple-award task order contract for maintenance dredging and shore protection projects within the South Atlantic Division area of operations. The contract is valued at $450 million and addresses 23 projects, with the majority of them in Florida. The district team is also making great strides in Puerto Rico on several massive flood risk reduction projects that will help protect thousands of residents. A few examples are the Rio de La Plata project in Dorado and the Rio Puerto Nuevo project in Metropolitan San Juan. In March 2019, a groundbreaking ceremony took place for the Rio de La Plata project. The $17.3 million project will extend the western levee and straighten the existing La Plata River along with scour protection to the existing Dorado Bridge. Construction will happen in three phases over the next two and a half years. The Rio Puerto Nuevo project, which was appropriated $1.552 billion under the 2018 Bipartisan Budget Act, includes the Rio Piedras



Jacksonville District completes the Duval County Shore Protection Project for the second time in January 2019, restoring it to pre-Hurricane Irma conditions.

Drainage Basin and its tributaries, which drain 24 square miles. The majority of the project area is highly developed, with an affected population of 250,000 and commercial and public structures valued at more than $3 billion. The project includes six discrete project segments that will be constructed through separate contracts between now and 2027. “We have the opportunity to build a generation of infrastructure in Puerto Rico to reduce risk and help protect populations from future events,” Kelly said. In tandem with the non-federal sponsor, the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources, USACE has hosted several public meetings to inform residents about the projects, the affected areas, and the benefits the projects will provide to the communities in addition to hosting Industry Day events both in person and via the internet. “We’re very interested in sharing the projects with members of industry,” said Milan Mora, Antilles Section chief, “as well as hearing what they may bring to the table in terms of workforce expertise, equipment, materials, and more.” USACE has extensive flood-control experience in Puerto Rico, including the construction of the Portugués and Cerrillos dams, multimillion dollar projects to reduce flooding impacts in Ponce from the Portugués and Bucaná rivers. Those USACE projects withstood the devastating hurricane events of 2017. “As we add new infrastructure there, we want to make sure it’s built to the same standards and level of resilience,” said Deputy District Engineer for Programs and Project Management Tim Murphy. n



t was like 100 pressure washers going on all at once.” Those were the words of Kelly Bunting, a park ranger with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Mobile District at the Lake Seminole Project Office, who, along with her husband, Nate, a biologist with the Florida Wildlife Commission (FWC), their nine-year-old


daughter, Norah, and their Boston Terrier, Roxie, survived the harrowing ordeal known as Hurricane Michael. When you have a hurricane barreling down on you, bringing with it 130 mph hurricane-force winds, and you happen to live in the middle of the forest, where trees are already beginning to fall around you, the



Kelly Bunting, a Mobile District park ranger at the Lake Seminole Project, her husband, Nate, and her daughter, Norah, pose in front of their bulldozer behind their house on Oct. 16, 2018, in Sneads, Florida. The Buntings survived Hurricane Michael by riding out the Category 4 storm in their bulldozer.

time to evacuate has already passed. Now you have to improvise and strategize to survive. That is just what the Buntings did as they rode out and lived through Hurricane Michael. Thanks to some quick thinking by Nate, the Buntings got into their bulldozer and rode out into an area on their property where there was no possibility for trees to fall on them, waiting for the storm and winds to finally pass. Four long, and sometimes terrifying, hours later, the Buntings had survived their ordeal – thankful to have come out of it alive. “We didn’t evacuate, because we never expected a hurricane to still be a Category 4 storm when it came 80 miles inland,” Kelly said. “After we saw the first tree go down, my husband did some quick thinking and came up with the idea of getting in a bulldozer and driving to an area where no trees could fall on us and we would be safe from fallen debris. And we just sat in the bulldozer, waiting for the storm to end.” As Kelly, Nate, Norah, and Roxie waited out the storm, they watched grimly as Hurricane Michael lifted up and smashed the pole barns – essentially, large carports – that housed Nate’s FWC vehicles. The Bunting family also saw numerous trees around their house — the life blood of Nate’s work with the FWC — snap, break, and fall right before their eyes. With what she described as seeming like 100 pressure washers blasting at once all around the bulldozer, Kelly continued recalling her family’s survival in the onslaught of the storm. “We saw everything being blown all around. We saw humongous pine trees and oaks snap and break right around our house. During all that time, we could not see what was happening to our house.” To Kelly’s amazement, nothing significant happened to her house, as only a small corner of her roof received minor damage. Another thing that surprised Kelly was the resilience of her daughter. Kelly said Norah rode out the storm just fine and showed no signs of fear.

“We got into the bulldozer and Norah had her tablet with her and she was just focused the whole time on her game. I don’t think she ever felt extremely scared. I just hope she isn’t too traumatized by the whole experience.” The help and care the Buntings have received from the USACE and FWC families has really touched them. Kelly said the support their co-workers have provided has helped them recover and be thankful. “The support we have received has just been wonderful. They have been calling and texting, checking on us. To have Col. [Sebastien P.] Joly come by and visit, that meant so much. Nate’s FWC co-workers from Pensacola and Tallahassee have all come and helped us clean up and helped to make the house safe. They have been very supportive.” The one thing Kelly said has affected her the most from Hurricane Michael is the devastation the storm left behind in an area near and dear to her heart. “The first place I lived after I got my master’s degree was Panama City [Florida]. I love this place. I’m just so distraught for everybody.” Overall, Bunting said she is truly thankful to have survived the storm and also thankful for her husband’s quick thinking to have their family literally ride out a hurricane in a bulldozer. “I’m thankful that my family and I are alive. I’m thankful that our house survived. This area is so devastated. I’m extremely thankful for the presence of mind of my husband. I’m thankful for our lives and our house. It could have been so much worse. I’m thankful that we were able to find a safe place and that we made it through.” n



ith a celebratory air on Earth Day 2019, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Mobile District and the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center opened the doors to its latest successful joint venture: the completed Building 4221 – a $38 million major construction project built by USACE for its NASA partners at its Huntsville, Alabama, campus. 71

The April 22, 2019, ceremony attended by numerous dignitaries, including U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., and NASA senior leaders from Washington, D.C., highlighted the construction of the eco-friendly five-story facility, slated to become the Marshall Space Flight Center’s new Program Office Administration Building. The structure will house several programmatic offices, including Marshall’s Human Exploration Development and Operations Office, its Science and Technology Office, and the NASA Engineering and Safety Center, among others. The state-of-the-art Building 4221 was built by USACE as part of its growing Interagency and International Services. Under the program, USACE is currently building new modern hospitals for the Department of Veterans Affairs across the nation, new border infrastructure for the Department of Homeland Security, as well as administrative and scientific facilities for the Department of Energy. Mobile District itself has enjoyed a results-driven interagency partnership with NASA since 2007, providing the aerospace agency with constructability reviews and construction management for earlier projects at the Marshall Space Flight Center, as well as for projects at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi and the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, Louisiana. At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, USACE Mobile District Commander Col. Sebastien P. Joly praised Building 4221 as a significant milestone in Mobile District’s partnership with NASA and the Marshall Space Flight Center. “Ensuring the success of our longtime partnership with the Marshall Space Flight Center is a matter of tremendous pride to Mobile District,” Joly said. “It’s clear from the fine results we see here today in Building 4221 that our teaming continues to be a major success story.” Jody Singer, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center director, complimented USACE’s Mobile District team for its project execution, noting that USACE’s efforts will make it possible for NASA to continue its work in outer space. “It’s great to have such a good partner as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers taking care of this work so we can do our mission, which is getting humans back to the moon,” Singer said. “We truly have a great partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and we appreciate them very much.” Designed to rigorous federal guidelines on energy and water efficiency, the new NASA building spotlights the many and varied capabilities of USACE Mobile District’s engineering expertise. Building 4221 is currently undergoing certification by the U.S. Green Building



The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mobile District constructed Building 4221, a five-story facility that will serve as the Program Office Administration Building for NASA at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Council for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®). The new structure will serve as the ninth LEED-certified facility at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. Building 4221 was designed by the Nashville, Tennessee-based architectural firm of Thomas Miller & Partners and constructed by Yates Construction of Philadelphia, Mississippi, under the construction management of Mobile District. Jason Usery, project engineer at Redstone Arsenal Resident Office, who also oversaw the construction of Building 4221, said completion of the project shows what Mobile District can provide. “The completion of Building 4221 marks another successful collaboration between NASA and the Mobile District,” Usery said. “Successful projects like this will further advance the opportunities for customers like NASA to choose the services that Mobile District can provide. Completing a project like this is a great honor, knowing that we had a hand in helping NASA achieve its mission goals of returning to the moon and human exploration of Mars.” In his final remarks to the gathered celebrants, Joly tapped into the pride of partnership that USACE and NASA share, aptly referencing each agency’s motto with a unity of purpose: “… together we look forward to ‘Building Strong’ for our nation’s future, with our sights set on the stars ‘for the benefit of all.’” n 73



SHORT-FUSE MISSION When Hibner accepted the mission to restore MOTSU, he knew the damage was significant. It required the heavy lifting of USACE expertise and major contracts – contracts that needed to be designed, negotiated, put out for bid, and awarded. Hibner’s team refined this process to just under two weeks – breakneck speed in the construction contracting world, as this would normally take up to six weeks or more. But this wasn’t fast enough. MOTSU had six days to get its infrastructure in functional order. 74



t’s new. Not the concept of dropping bulldozers from the sky. The Army has been doing that for decades. The 27th Engineer Battalion (Combat) (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, has perfected the art of loading an aircraft with Soldiers, weapons, and earth-moving equipment and dropping them into enemy territory. They come in like a wedge to make an opening for heavy conventional forces. This capability isn’t new, but it is low density. According to Maj. Randy Summerhill, operations officer (now executive officer) for the 27th Engineer Battalion, the 27th has the only two companies in the Army that can drop a 17-ton bulldozer from an aircraft and use it after landing. “We have a very niche capability,” he said. That capability requires the 27th to maintain extraordinary agility, speed, and self-sufficiency. But these qualities do lead to something new when combined with the King-Kong-size engineering capability of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). The concept had its genesis in the mind of Col. Daniel Hibner, commander of USACE’s Savannah District, the day after Hurricane Florence mulched North Carolina with destructive winds and 30 inches of rain. The Defense Department took offense at Florence’s wind, primarily because one important Army installation was in the cyclone’s path. After landfall, officials realized this key logistical facility, a facility designed to transport ammunition and other explosives to combat operations overseas, was crippled. The Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point, in North Carolina – referred to as MOTSU – suffered flooding, road washouts, rail erosion, and wharf damage – all threatening to halt its quiet but crucial output operations. In the words of one battle-hardened operations sergeant: “If this place were to be compromised, the troops down range would be [in a bad way].” This from Sgt. 1st Class Eric Bradford with the 27th Engineer Battalion – and a beneficiary of MOTSU in numerous combat deployments.

A paratrooper with the 161st Engineer Support Company (A) uses a dozer to remove damaged fencing as part of major road repair at the Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point (MOTSU), North Carolina, Oct. 1, 2018. The company is part of the 27th Combat Engineer Battalion (A) from Fort Bragg, temporarily working under the USACE Savannah District. The district was leading the Hurricane Florence recovery effort at MOTSU.

So, at the request of USACE, U.S. Army Forces Command organized Fort Bragg’s combat airborne engineer battalion under Hibner’s command, and the 27th Engineer Battalion was on the ground at MOTSU less than 12 hours after ordered to go. “Adding this airborne engineer battalion to our recovery process enabled us to begin repairs immediately without waiting on contracts,” said Hibner. “We had sappers [combat engineers] out here clearing large trees off roads and rails – 30 trees a day until they wore out 12 chainsaws. Then they took hand saws and axes and went at it like samurais.” The sappers from the 57th Combat Sapper Company, Combat Airborne Rough Terrain, are specialized airborne Soldiers trained to breach terrain obstacles, among other roles. According to Spc. Dylan Britton, a sapper with the 57th Combat Sapper Company under the 27th Engineer Battalion, his unit is trained to jump from aircraft into trees, firebreaks, and other rough terrain, and clear large areas for landing zones. “Lethal lumberjacks,” said Hibner, “that jump out of the sky.” Downed trees were MOTSU’s first obstacle, because they blocked container movement. Britton said rapidly clearing trees is a big part of what they’re trained to do. And he said few things could keep him from it.


“I love my job. Love dealing with explosives. Love jumping out of planes,” said Britton. The Army, he said, rescued him from his former life and gave him purpose. Now he’s committing to a career as a Soldier, and it’s apparent by the kind of energy he puts into clearing trees at MOTSU. But the fallen trees were only the beginning of MOTSU’s problems. Floodwaters eroded large portions of roads and railway. In several cases, floodwaters washed away entire sections of road with their culverts. So accompanying the sappers were specialized airborne paratroopers trained to jump from aircraft with earth-moving equipment and repair airfields. They came in armed not only with equipment, but determination. “We’re going to bring this base back to 100 percent operational [status],” said Spc. Angie Mercado, 161st Combat Engineer Support Company (Airborne). “The entire company is motivated to do so.” Mercado is a native of Colombia, South America, who said she is a career Soldier because, back where she’s from, women are prohibited from serving in the armed forces. When talking about putting MOTSU back in order, her body shifted and her face hardened. It seemed the same determination that made her a Soldier was animating her personal interest in repairing MOTSU – not to mention the other 92 paratroopers at MOTSU, who each brought personal drive to the table for a fast recovery. MOTSU demanded this kind of resolve if it was going to be put back in order. The 161st was facing 19 road washouts, some of them so vast that larger equipment was needed – equipment that is impossible to deploy by air. Summerhill said when the 161st arrived, they were using the same methods they would use to do an airfield damage repair when structural fill isn’t available. This enabled them to get the roads functional immediately, but until they got structural fill material, their repairs were temporary. “They were squaring the holes and using sand grid, [which keeps material regardless of its compaction rating],” said Summerhill. “This rapid repair is what enabled MOTSU to continue with its critical mission requirements without impacting operations overseas.” Bradford, who seems like he’s everywhere all at once, embraced the struggle, saying, “It’s good for the Soldiers to muscle through it. “You’re not going to know how to push your limits until you get the stressors [of the challenge],” he said.

THE THREE BENEFITS A boxer in the ring will typically come at his opponent first with a series of jabs. These jabs serve to groom his rival before delivering the knockout punch. The 27th Engineer Battalion (Combat) (Airborne) rolled into MOTSU delivering engineer jabs, mitigating Florence’s damages enough to keep cargo flowing to critical areas overseas. This enabled USACE, which is the Army’s engineer gorilla, to position itself for a knockout. The arrangement was the first of its kind for the Army, and Hibner pointed out three ways the nation benefits. First: The task organization of a combat engineer battalion under a USACE command demonstrated incredible speed and efficiency for

disaster recovery. The 27th Engineer Battalion gave Hibner’s experts the space they needed to assess damages, draw up scopes of work, design repairs, and negotiate contracts. Relying on the battalion to deliver the jabs, USACE’s experts put their full weight behind the major contractual efforts. And these contracts were executed in record time – less than two weeks from assessment to construction. “No one has ever executed a process like this in less than two weeks,” said Tracy Hendren, Savannah District Engineer Division chief. He added that the normal time to organize comparable efforts is typically measured in weeks or even months. Given these remarkable results, experts will likely be referring to MOTSU’s recovery in future disaster responses – and this makes the nation more resilient. Second: The vast repairs executed by the battalion added zero cost to the effort. “There’s no overtime for us,” said Summerhill. No lodging costs, no per diem costs. “We brought our tents, our food, our equipment. It is costing the government no more to have us here operating under USACE than it would if we were training at Fort Bragg.” Indeed, since the 27th Engineer Battalion arrived, all 93 Soldiers have been living in one of the parking lots on the installation, full combat style in tents and eating MREs. Mercado shrugged over this, merely saying this is what they do. “We’re given a space, and we occupy that space with our own living arrangements.” So it saves taxpayer money. Third: The MOTSU experience sharpened the Soldiers’ capabilities; they are now better-equipped combatants. “This mission has most certainly helped the sappers get better at what they do,” said Britton. “There are five new people in the company, and clearing the trees has given them the experience they need with the chain saws and other tools.” Bradford said it also sharpened their mobility. “We brought everything with us. We pack it in, we pack it out. It’s good practice setting up and tearing down in a parking lot.”

WHAT SOLDIERS GOT OUT OF MOTSU There are other benefits less tangible in Hibner’s mission to secure MOTSU. Many Soldiers said they hadn’t heard of MOTSU before Hurricane Florence due to its quiet operation. But they said when they realized its strategic significance, when they heard how the MOTSU recovery was a Defense Department priority, it was something they’d put their backs into. “Securing this place, to protect this place, it’s an honor,” confessed Bradford. “This mission is special, knowing what this place is and what it does. Being able to help Soldiers down range, needing the product this place provides … it hasn’t been easy, but it’s been worth it.” Mercado agreed. It wasn’t just the extent of the damage, she said. It was working while dealing with alligators, snakes, and mosquitoes, the mud and quicksand, and smaller equipment. When it got tough, she said she remembered: “We’re not here for us. This is to help contribute to relief efforts for the sake of other people. It’s what we do.” n 75

SOUTHWESTERN DIVISION The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Southwestern Division (SWD) oversees hundreds of water resources development and military design and construction projects in all or parts of seven states: Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, and Louisiana. • Covers 2.3 million acres of public land and water, with an annual program in excess of $2 billion. • Includes three of the nation’s Top 10 ports. • Maintains more than 1,000 miles of navigation channel, including 28 Texas ports – 10 of which are among the nation’s Top 75. • Inland navigation mission includes two major waterways, a 423-mile portion of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, and the 442-mile McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System (MKARNS). • 18 locks and dams contribute to the MKARNS total of $8.5 billion in sales, $289 million in taxes, and 55,872 jobs to the national economy. • The region’s 74 multipurpose reservoirs provide 3.1 trillion gallons annually for municipal and industrial water supplies and satisfy the demand for 1.8 million households and 4.5 million people. • Reservoirs hold about 33.2 million acre-feet of flood storage, or enough to fill 13,900 Dallas Cowboys stadiums.

FORT WORTH DISTRICT 819 Taylor St. Fort Worth, TX 76102 (817) 886-1306 www.swf.usace.army.mil/ www.facebook.com/usacefortworth/ twitter.com/usace_fortworth youtube.com/user/USACESWF GALVESTON DISTRICT 2000 Fort Point Rd. Galveston, Texas 77550 (409) 766-3004 www.swg.usace.army.mil www.facebook.com/GalvestonDistrict twitter.com/USACEgalveston youtube.com/user/GalvestonDistrict


LITTLE ROCK DISTRICT 700 West Capitol Little Rock, AR 72201 (501) 324-5551 www.swl.usace.army.mil facebook.com/littlerockusace twitter.com/#!/usacelittlerock youtube.com/user/USACELittleRock instagram.com/usace.littlerock/ TULSA DISTRICT Citiplex Towers 2488 E 81st St. #188 Tulsa, OK 74137 (918) 669-7366 www.swt.usace.army.mil/ www.facebook.com/usacetulsa/ twitter.com/usacetulsa youtube.com/user/usacetulsa


SOUTHWESTERN DIVISION 1100 Commerce St., Suite 831 Dallas, TX 75242-1317 (469) 487-7007 www.swd.usace.army.mil www.facebook.com/swdusace/ twitter.com/usace_swd youtube.com/USACESWD

• Reservoirs have prevented more than $168 billion (as of FY 18) in damages over the life of the projects. • Second-largest producer of hydropower in USACE; 18 hydropower plants produce enough energy to power 339,135 homes – 10,800 kilowatt hours – for one year. • Revenue from the power produced returned $150 million to the U.S. Treasury. • No. 1 in USACE in both recreation visitation and fees collected, with 55 million visitors at 87 operating projects located in five states, contributing $2.5 billion in visitor spending annually to the regional economy. • 19,000 jobs created within 30 miles of SWD lakes. • More than $20 million went to the U.S. Treasury from the division’s recreation fees. • Military missions include all or parts of five states, serving nine major Army and nine major Air Force installations, covering almost a half-million square miles. • Constructing 17 military construction projects valued at more than $751 million.



aftermath,” said Rea, who is now the chief of Emergency Management at the Galveston District. “So many families lost everything; it made me realize how imperative it was for the Corps to work at a solution to protect the Texas coast.” Texas’ entire Gulf Coast historically averages three tropical storms or hurricanes every four years, generating coastal storm surges and sometimes bringing heavy rainfall and damaging winds hundreds of miles inland. Future projections suggest increases in


s Alicia Rea drove through the streets of Galveston, she wept for her community at the destruction left from Hurricane Ike – virtually every house in her neighborhood was flooded. At the time of Hurricane Ike in September 2008, Rea was an operations manager in the Navigation Division with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Galveston District. “Although our home was damaged and riddled with mold, many others were in worse condition, and it was devastating to witness the

During the annual meeting of the I-STORM Network June 6-7, 2019, in Venice, Italy, members of the project management team for the Coastal Texas Protection and Restoration Feasibility Study at USACE Galveston District tour the Mose System barrier at Lido Barrier Inlet; the barrier is a system of mobile gates installed at the lagoon inlet that is able to temporarily isolate the Venetian lagoon from the Adriatic Sea during severe storm surge events, thus ensuring acceptable water levels. Pictured are (left to right) Tom Smith, Sharon Tirpak, Himangshu Das, and John Winkelman.




Hurricane Ike devastated areas along the Texas coast in September 2008.

hurricane rainfall and intensity. The expected rise in sea level will result in the potential for greater storm surge damage along the Gulf Coast. Home to the fourth-largest city in the United States, Texas, which is often referred to as “the energy corridor,” accounts for 40 percent of the nation’s petrochemical industry and 25 percent of national petroleum-refining capacity. Texas is the nation’s top state for waterborne commerce, with Texas ports representing more than $82.8 billion in economic value to the state. More than 522 million tons of cargo pass through Texas ports annually, including machinery, grain, seafood, oil, cars, retail merchandise, and military freight. Three Texas ports are designated by the Department of Defense as “strategic military ports,” providing surface deployment and distribution for strategic military cargo worldwide. According to Rea, not having a plan to protect the Texas coastline leaves Texas’ economic value and, more importantly, the lives of Texas residents highly vulnerable to storms like Hurricane Ike. With the need

for storm surge protection, the USACE Galveston District, in partnership with the Texas General Land Office (GLO), launched a study in 2015 to determine which actions could be taken to ensure the Texas coast remains resilient. “The GLO stepped up to be the non-federal cost-share sponsor of the study,” said Kelly Burks-Copes, Ph.D., project manager of the Coastal Texas Protection and Restoration Feasibility Study at USACE Galveston District. “Our strong federal-state partnership will enable us to explore innovative ways to get this study complete as expeditiously as possible.” The Coastal Texas Protection and Restoration Feasibility Study is currently the largest civil works feasibility study in USACE and in the United States, with plans of coastal protection spanning across 76 miles of Texas coastline. The plan calls for coastal storm resiliency measures to include surge gates, vertical lift gates, ring barrier, and height extension of the seawall as well as beach and dune measures. Over the course of the study, more than 600 storms were modeled and analyzed by a state-of-the-art Coastal Storm Modeling Suite. 79


Burks-Copes went on to explain the importance of the study in regard to the viability to the nation and the Texas coast, adding that the GLO and USACE have worked cooperatively with the Dutch to model an innovative design that can protect lives and property from storms and rising sea levels. In March 2019, USACE and the GLO hosted the Coastal Texas Protection and Restoration Study Gate Design Workshop with members of I-STORM – International Network for Storm Surge Barriers – management experts, to participate in a knowledge-sharing workshop to help inform the Coastal Texas Study Team on expertise and knowledge of design, construction, operations, and maintenance of large coastal storm surge barriers. “The Dutch are world-renowned for building large barrier systems on the coast,” said Burks-Copes. “We have been consulting with them through I-STORM, and they were heavily involved in the Gate Design Workshop in March.” In addition, multiple agencies independently decided to study the Texas Gulf Coast in hopes of developing a solution that would provide protection to reduce the propensity for loss of life and property. Wanting to maximize efforts, USACE and the GLO collaborated with the Severe Storm Prediction, Education and Evacuation from Disasters Center at Rice University, the Gulf Coast Community Protection and Recovery District, and Texas A&M University at Galveston on data and analyses, including preliminary storm surge modeling, engineering design, and economic values. “We encourage input of the study, because it gives us the ability to optimize the design plan,” said Burks-Copes. “When we had our first public comment period for the study, we received approximately 13,000 comments.”

As a result of those comments, designs for the Coastal Texas Study have evolved from the original plan and will continue to evolve with the upcoming public comment period scheduled for September 2020, Burks-Copes explained. “Although we have made progress in taking steps to protect the Texas coast, we are still only halfway finished with the study.” According to Burks-Copes, USACE and the GLO are set to deliver the report of the Coastal Texas Study to Congress in 2021, while the design phase of the project is expected to take approximately two to five years, with another 10-15 years of construction, and that’s if USACE receives the required funding. “The estimated cost for construction is projected at from $23 [billion to] $32 billion,” she said, “which seems like a substantial amount. However, I’d like to add that the estimated cost of recovery from Hurricane Ike was $38 billion. When you look at it from those terms, the barrier would pay for itself in one storm.” While preparedness continues to play a key role in mitigating against the loss of lives and property, as the Texas economy continues to grow, and the coast still remains largely unprotected, BurksCopes stresses the necessity for a lasting solution to be identified and implemented. “Today, Texas is just as vulnerable to a major storm as it was in 2008,” she said. “With a barrier system protecting the Texas coast, it will exponentially reduce the risk to public health and safety, substantially reduce the risk to critical infrastructure, reduce the economic impact, and increase resiliency along the energy corridor – all efforts that are directly in line with the USACE mission of providing vital public engineering services in peace and war to strengthen our nation’s security, energize the economy, and reduce risks from disasters.” n



he U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Little Rock District is moving the Three Rivers Study closer to construction. Currently, the project is in preconstruction, engineering, and design. “We are currently working on the design documentation report and the plans and specifications for this project,” said Project Manager Dana Coburn. The study, which was cost-shared with the Arkansas Waterways Commission, identified a long-term environmentally sustainable


solution to ensure the continued safe use of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System (MKARNS) and prevent long-term lost navigation. The study area is located at the confluence of the Arkansas, White, and Mississippi rivers in Arkansas and Desha counties, focusing on 208 square miles where the rivers all meet in southeast Arkansas. Implementation of the Three Rivers project would not alter hydrology in surrounding bottomland hardwood forests, and navigation would

continue with no operational changes to the MKARNS. The study was completed in coordination with local, state, and federal agencies, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. The Three Rivers project consists of four construction components: a new containment structure at an elevation of 157 feet; a relief channel through the historic cutoff; removal of the existing Melinda structure; and opening the Owens Lake structure between Owens Lake and the White River. The risk of a cut-off or breach forming is caused by water elevation differences or “head differentials” that occur when one or both of the White or Arkansas rivers are above their bank during a high-water event. When one or both rivers are out of their bank, flood waters flow over land across the isthmus along several paths of least resistance. This is what causes significant erosion issues and leads to bank instability and head-cutting. If a cut-off or breach forms in the Three Rivers Study area, navigation would cease until repairs to the MKARNS could be made, causing a negative economic impact throughout a multi-state region. “The McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System is an economic driver for the nation,” said Deidre Smith, director of the Arkansas Waterways Commission. “A recent regional impact study indicated that more than 56,000 jobs, $1.6 billion in transportation cost savings, $8.5 billion sales impact nationally, and $4 billion in Arkansas alone can be attributed to this asset on an annual basis. “On average, about 12 million tons are shipped annually. The MKARNS creates a competitive advantage for enticing industries to locate where this indispensable resource resides in Arkansas and Oklahoma, giving the states an incomparable economic development tool. The Three Rivers permanent fix is imperative to ensure



t approximately 275,000 cubic feet per second (cfs), the flood of May 2019 resulted in the highest releases from Keystone Dam into the Arkansas River since 1986. Though significantly smaller than the approximately 305,000 cfs release in 1986, potential impacts to downstream flood



A long-term environmentally sustainable solution known as the Three Rivers Study, designed to ensure the continued safe use of the McClellanKerr Arkansas River Navigation System (MKARNS) and prevent long-term lost navigation recently moved closer to construction. If a cut-off or breach forms in the Three Rivers Study area, navigation would cease until repairs to the MKARNS could be made, causing a negative economic impact throughout a multi-state region. Currently the project is in preconstruction, engineering, and design. The new structures outlined in red will ensure the reliability of the navigation system and sustainability of the unique ecosystem that exists in the Three Rivers Study area.

a reliable navigation system that remains viable for generations to come.” Current structures are in place to ensure that the Arkansas and White rivers do not merge. However, USACE has spent about $23 million, since 1989, on repairs to the navigation system after each high-water event. This project will ensure the reliability of the navigation system and sustainability of the unique ecosystem that exists in the Three Rivers Study area. n

risk reduction structures caused enough concern that local officials requested the expertise of the Tulsa District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). When flows on the Arkansas River below Keystone Dam reach approximately 150,000 cfs, the entire length of the Tulsa-West Tulsa Levee System is loaded. The system stretches approximately 20 miles from Sand Springs, Oklahoma, to Tulsa, and reduces flood risk for approximately 10,000 people who live or work behind the structure. As flows on the Arkansas River increased, Tulsa County Drainage District 12, which owns and is responsible for maintenance of the levee, requested assistance from the Corps of Engineers. USACE responded by providing consultation and technical advice on methods to protect the structure. “For this event, we were requested by the Levee District 12 through emergency management channels, but the Tulsa District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, provides continual support and technical assistance to the levee sponsors that are in the Tulsa District Levee Safety Program,” said David Sconyers, the district’s chief of Infrastructure. The district provided engineers, including geotechnical engineers, and other technical specialists who made assessments in the field during the flood. 81



Bill Minock, Logistics Office fleet manager for the Tulsa District, ensures a pump is appropriately placed to remove ponding water at the Tulsa-West Tulsa Levee during flooding caused by heavy May rains in Oklahoma and Kansas. Minock and other USACE employees were assigned to provide assistance to local community leaders to help ensure Tulsa County’s levee system withstood the deluge during the May flood.

These USACE professionals identified areas of concerns and applied appropriate flood-fight techniques to mitigate impacts of a loaded levee flooding during the event. The engineers also provided training to members of the National Guard who were called up by the Oklahoma governor. USACE experts trained the guardsmen to identify potential problems like sand boils, embankment slides, and seepage. “The National Guard was very beneficial to maintaining the integrity of the levee by providing personnel that could patrol and monitor areas for possible progression of issues,” said Sconyers. “The Guard would notify the levee sponsor and USACE of any issues that they noted, so that we could make an assessment of those areas. Finally, they provided personnel to assist in flood-fight efforts, moving and placing sandbags, in a very timely and proficient manner to address areas of major concern.” Other Tulsa District offices provided support for the flood fight, including Emergency Management, Logistics, Contracting, and Hydraulics and Hydrology. David Williams, Ph.D., chief of the Hydrology and Hydraulics Engineering Section of the Tulsa District, was stationed in the city of Tulsa’s Emergency Operations Center during the flood to explain USACE operations to local officials. “The coordination between USACE and local officials, including the city of Tulsa and [the] Tulsa Area Emergency Management Agency, was essential during the recent flood,” said Williams. “By communicating and explaining the release plan with as much advance notice

as possible, the city of Tulsa and local agencies were able to make preparations to infrastructure and to provide warning to citizens who live and work within the affected areas.” The Levee Safety Program for the Tulsa District consists of annual and periodic five-year inspections that include risk assessments. The inspections identify deficiencies and USACE provides guidance on remedial measures, so that the levee and levee district personnel are prepared for a potential flood event. “The relationship between the Corps of Engineers and the levee sponsor is important for an effective Levee Safety Program,” said Jordan Holmes, Levee Safety Program manager. “We work closely with levee sponsors so that deficiencies are acknowledged and addressed, and we listen to the sponsors’ concerns.” Levees inspected by USACE are included in the National Levee Database, which is available to the public at: levees.sec.usace.army.mil/. The database provides information about the status of levees to improve public awareness of risks associated with residing behind levees. “After the water recedes, Tulsa District personnel will continue to work with the levee sponsors to identify any additional deficiencies and assist in the mitigation of these issues within the bounds of our authority,” said Sconyers. The Tulsa-West Tulsa Levee System was constructed by the Tulsa District and turned over to Tulsa County Drainage District 12 for operations and maintenance in the 1940s. The structure provides a level of risk reduction to portions of Tulsa County along the Arkansas River. The Flood Control acts promulgated by Congress between 1936 and 1985 resulted in nearly a half-century of unprecedented infrastructure spending and construction for flood risk reduction structures. By boldly declaring “flood control” to be an “interest of the Federal Government” through the Flood Control Act of 1936, Congress opened the gates to studies, authorizations, and appropriations designed to stymie the flow of uncontrolled waters that ravaged the nation in the first 30 years of the 20th century. As the lead agency for these projects, USACE began constructing dams, levees, and reservoirs throughout the country. The offspring of those decisions resulted in the levees, dams, and even navigation channels that exist today. n



he U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Tulsa District Emergency Management Office leads the district in planning for and responding to natural disasters and national emergencies in order to save lives, prevent suffering, and mitigate

damages to homes and businesses. The office exists, in part, to support and assist civil authorities during emergency activities. In an emergency, the office works hand in hand with city, county, and state emergency management agencies. Information relayed to these agencies by 83



Personnel from city, county, state, and federal entities gather in Muskogee, Oklahoma, and work together during spring 2019 flood events to disseminate information to affected areas.

the Emergency Management Office expedites communications and ensures these agencies have timely information needed to manage the consequences of a flood. May 2019 was the wettest month on record in Kansas. With the record rains received during April and May 2019, the efforts of the Emergency Management Office were focused close to home. In order to better communicate the district’s mission as well as the needs of many agencies helping manage the high-water event, Tulsa District employees, known as liaison officers, worked with multiple city, county, and government agencies across Oklahoma and Kansas. These liaison officers left their normal daily duties behind to enhance communication capabilities between USACE and the entities working to keep the public safe. They took on multiple responsibilities, including reporting real-time data provision and interpretation for flood releases, elevations, inflow, and gate changes for projects in order for the local emergency management offices to have up-to-date information to pass along to those who might be affected. “I felt like I was most helpful to the folks there by being able to provide real-time data interpretation for reporting directly to the satellite

offices where first responders could use the information immediately,” said Louis Holstead, a Tulsa District operations project manager, who served as liaison officer to Pittsburgh County, Oklahoma. “We were able to provide direct support to a great group of public servants who were working diligently to ensure that they were doing everything they could to help [those] impacted.” Kristin Shivers is an employee of the USACE Galveston District who worked with the Department of Emergency Management, Department of Transportation, Highway Patrol, and National Guard in the state of Kansas. “I think I was most helpful relaying levee monitoring standards to the National Guard,” said Shivers. According to Renee Cummins, who also worked in Kansas during the event, the experience taught her a lot about the dams and levees as well as the roles of different agencies. Bryan Murdie, Planning and Mitigation Branch director, Kansas Division of Emergency Management (KDEM), said, “The KDEM values the relationship established with the USACE, which supports pre-incident planning and enables more effective incident response and recovery.” n



he Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area is growing at a rate of 1 million people every eight years. To support this growth, there are a number of infrastructure planning groups working to ensure infrastructure will be available to serve the increasing population. Increased risk from flooding associated with severe storm events brought Texas members of Congress together with local, state, and national agencies for a bipartisan roundtable discussion.


“Increased flooding has become a progressively difficult challenge to overcome, with Texas far exceeding other states in flood-related fatalities,” said Fort Worth District Water Resources Chief Jerry Cotter. The roundtable consisted of approximately 45 key leaders and staff representatives who will become a working group of partners and stakeholders to carry out a comprehensive stormwater planning effort encompassing Wise County and portions of Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Johnson, Parker, and Tarrant counties.


Arnold Newman, director of regional planning and environmental center; Kathleen Spillane, chief of civil branch; Col. Kenneth Reed, Fort Worth District commander; and Eric Verwers, deputy district engineer for programs and project management, attend a July 8, 2019, panel presentation about flood-related issues in Texas.

“We [U.S. Army Corps of Engineers] must get to a point of being more responsive, and we will do our part,” he stated. Each agency in attendance echoed his sentiments and offered their support of the project in addition to a helping hand when called upon for action. With everyone on board, Johnson reminded attendees that prevention is the key to doing what is best for Texas, and closed the roundtable with words of gratitude for coming together on such an imperative issue no matter the political affiliation. n


The purpose of the comprehensive planning effort will be to improve delivery of consolidated, adaptive stormwater infrastructure before expected population growth makes addressing these issues more difficult and costly. According to Cotter, “our focus needs to shift from response to prevention.” In an effort to make this shift, a six-step cycle of project tasks and cost components will be considered: inventory of relevant data; inventory of stormwater management structures; land inventory and site-specific design considerations; stormwater infrastructure planning; project management and organization; and finally, the development of a broad range of flood-related products and technical tools that can be used by community officials to better manage flood risk. This project will utilize available data, tools, analysis, and other resources to minimize redundancy and duplication of effort. “With a funding goal of $10 million, the project will decrease the threat of flooding with state-of-the-art data, tools, and analysis designed for regulating the floodplain and recommending more compliant infrastructure,” said Michael Morris, the North Central Texas Council of Governments director of transportation. Success of this project is important because tools, analysis, and data developed as part of this study can be used as a roadmap for duplication by other states with flooding concerns. At the conclusion of the presentation, the Hon. U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson from Texas opened the floor to local, state, and national agencies in attendance for remarks. Col. Kenneth Reed, commander of the Fort Worth District, began by expressing his concurrence with the presentation.

In this July 8, 2019, file photo, (left to right) U.S. Reps. Colin Allred, Ronald Wright, Eddie Bernice Johnson, and Marc Veasey from Texas weigh in on the bipartisan roundtable discussion related to flood issues in Texas.




he Northwestern Division is affectionately known as the “Lewis and Clark Division” in recognition of the famous expedition that traveled through the region in 1805-06 during its storied trek across the continent. The territory explored by Lewis and Clark remains awesome in its geographical breadth and its economic, political, and cultural diversity. Nearly 2,000 miles wide, the present-day Northwestern Division touches all or parts of 14 states, 48 congressional districts, and more than 90 sovereign tribal nations, making it the largest of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) nine division offices. Two of the country’s longest rivers – the Missouri and Columbia – drain nearly 1 million square miles within its boundaries that stretch from Seattle, Washington, to St. Louis, Missouri. Its civil works, military, and environmental programs surpass $3 billion annually. The formation of the new Northwestern Division was a long time coming. In the early 1990s, USACE began to take a hard look at its missions, capabilities, customers, workforce, and funding projections. After lengthy study and review, Congress passed legislation reducing the number of division offices. For purposes of geographical balance, regional interface, and similarity of issues, the North Pacific and Missouri River divisions were officially realigned and combined into one division in April 1997. Division headquarters offices were located in Portland, Oregon, with a regional office in Omaha, Nebraska. The Northwestern Division commander directs all USACE activities in this area by providing direction and guidance for five subordinate district offices, each headed by a military officer and military deputy, located in Kansas City, Missouri; Omaha, Nebraska; Portland, Oregon; and Seattle and Walla Walla, Washington. The division office also oversees the upward coordination of technical policy and budgetary issues that

NORTHWESTERN DIVISION P.O. Box 2870 Portland, OR 97208-2870 cenwd-pa@usace.army.mil (503) 808-3800 www.nwd.usace.army.mil www.facebook.com/NWDUSACE www.twitter.com/NWDUSACE www.dvidshub.net/unit/usace-nwd KANSAS CITY DISTRICT 601 E. 12th St. Kansas City, MO 64106-2896 dll-nwk-pa@usace.army.mil (816) 389-2000 www.nwk.usace.army.mil www.facebook.com/usace.kcd www.twitter.com/kc_usace


cross district boundaries and interfaces with other federal and state agencies, congressional leaders, key stakeholders, and international commissions. The Northwestern Division, like all other USACE divisions, manages its districts’ civil works activities based on river basins rather than state boundaries. Its primary civil works missions encompass flood damage reduction, navigation, hydropower, fish and wildlife, water quality, irrigation, recreation, and disaster response. Within its jurisdiction are 77 dams and reservoirs, 29 hydropower plants, and 1,600 miles of navigable channels. Military boundaries, in contrast, are organized along state lines. Major military programs include providing design and construction support to 55 major Army and Air Force installations and dozens of smaller ones. The Northwestern Division also manages more than 2 million acres of military real estate for the Department of Defense. An Interagency and International Services-Environmental Program provides environmental restoration and cleanup of hazardous, toxic, and radioactive sites for the military, Environmental Protection Agency, and other federal agencies. In recent years, Northwestern Division volunteers have stepped to the forefront in support of military units in Iraq and Afghanistan, lending their skills to the reconstruction efforts. While USACE districts have civil works and military missions, they are frequently distinguished by the nature and amount of civil or military work they perform. In the Northwestern Division, the districts that have a preponderance of military and environmental work are Kansas City, Omaha, and Seattle. The Portland and Walla Walla districts tend to have larger civil works programs. In all cases and from all quarters, the five Northwestern Division districts consistently achieve top marks for mission execution, customer satisfaction, and quality products.

OMAHA DISTRICT 1616 Capitol Ave., Ste. 946 Omaha, NE 68102 Omaha.USACE-PA@usace.army.mil (402) 995-2417 www.nwo.usace.army.mil www.facebook.com/OmahaUSACE www.twitter.com/OmahaUSACE www.youtube.com/OmahaUSACE www.flickr.com/OmahaUSACE PORTLAND DISTRICT P.O. Box 2946 Portland, OR 97208-2946 cenwp-pa@usace.army.mil (503) 808-4510 www.nwp.usace.army.mil www.facebook.com/PortlandCorps www.twitter.com/PortlandCorps www.dvidshub.net/unit/USACE-NWP

SEATTLE DISTRICT P.O. Box 3755 Seattle, WA 98124 paoteam@nws02.usace.army.mil (206) 764-3750 www.nws.usace.army.mil www.facebook.com/USACENWS/ www.twitter.com/seattledistrict WALLA WALLA DISTRICT 201 N. Third Ave. Walla Walla, WA 99362-1876 cenww-pa@usace.army.mil (509) 527-7020 www.nww.usace.army.mil www.facebook.com/WallaWallaUSACE www.twitter.com/WallaWallaUSACE www.youtube.com/wallawallausace



A Kansas City District truck stations to reduce growth of invasive species plants at Smithville Lake near Smithville, Missouri, Sept. 29, 2016.



he Kansas City District has a large Natural Resource Management Program, which provides many recreational opportunities. While lake staff specializes in managing natural resources, several practices provide ancillary benefits to recreation and multiple authorized purposes. “Through natural resource management, we work to improve the land, which benefits recreation activities as part of our

environmental stewardship program and the Corps overall mission,” said Lora Vacca, Smithville Lake operation project manager. “We wear many hats and support many initiatives, but a main practice that coincides with recreation is natural resource management. We work to maintain thousands of acres of public lands and water for the benefit of both the public and fish and wildlife.” 87


The Kansas City District owns, operates, and maintains 18 lakes and dams in four states. Through several natural resource management efforts, some additional benefits spill over into recreation opportunities such as wildlife viewing, hunting, trapping, fishing, and hiking. Maintaining populations of a variety of native plants provides important habitat for butterflies and bees and helps sustain the ecosystem by maintaining diversity of plant and animal life. In addition to providing abundant food sources for insects such as monarch caterpillars, pollinator-driven actions can benefit visitors in many ways. Large insect populations provide additional food sources for birds and increase nesting success, which increases wildlife viewing opportunities. Due to the amount of spectators at several locations, some lakes have constructed trails around pollinator-planting locations for designated viewing areas. Wetlands provide suitable habitat for nesting and places for lots of amphibians, reptiles, waterfowl, and shorebirds to live. This increase in species diversity provides more opportunities for hunters and bird-watchers. By providing shallow-water marsh areas, or wetlands, migrating birds use those locations to stop and refuel along migration routes. “Kanopolis Lake has a very unique 20-acre wetland in Venango Park,” said Ryan Williams, Kanopolis Lake park manager. “The wetland shares similar recreation benefits for our visitors, as it provides an aesthetic view of a very accessible area that is rich with wildlife. A trail has also been constructed around this wetland, providing visitors a designated path to enjoy an abundance of wildlife and scenic view.” Invasive species can be an animal, plant, or fungus. Typically, it’s a species that has been brought into a new environment and believed to cause damage to the environment, human economy, or human health. “Invasive species pose a threat to our project lands and waters and can adversely impact the recreational experience of our project visitors. Certain species can impact the operation of our dams and have serious adverse impacts on our native vegetation and fish and wildlife populations,” said David Hoover, Kansas City District’s conservation biologist. “Some species are a priority and high on our radar, so we are actively working to monitor or eradicate them.” When you drive to the lake in the spring and see a plume of smoke, it might be planned for a reason. USACE conducts controlled burns at several locations to help clear out invasive species and strengthen new growth for the spring. Staff is trained in fire management and fire behavior. They understand and monitor conditions prior to burning and coordinate these activities with local emergency responders. This burning practice improves wildlife populations, removes woody vegetation encroachment, and provides food sources for young animals and insects. With a clean slate, diversity in new plants and wildlife, such as quail, pheasant, and song birds appears, making bird-watching plentiful. USACE’s Agricultural Lease Program helps maintain the lands and provides a lot of food source for wildlife. The management of the lands keeps areas from becoming overgrown and increases public use to cross these areas for recreational opportunities, such as hiking, bird-watching, and mushroom-hunting.

However, managing wildlife isn’t always about helping species thrive; sometimes it’s also about controlling the population numbers, such as deer, so they don’t damage the habitat. Wildlife refuge areas are restricted and very controlled to outside access. Although typically closed to public access, USACE manages these lands similar to public areas. They work to control invasive species, manage agriculture leases in some refuges, and conduct control burns on a scheduled rotation. At some locations and within certain hunting seasons, USACE opens up these wildlife gems to assist in controlling populations where hunting typically is not allowed. “Smithville Lake’s managed deer hunt is vital for us to manage our large deer herd, and it provides an excellent opportunity for disabled hunters to return to the outdoors,” said Derek Dorsey, Smithville Lake park manager. “Since this event started in 1990, nearly 1,500 deer have been harvested, providing an incredible opportunity for disabled hunters. Hunters apply nationwide hoping to secure a spot. Smithville Lake provides 65 blinds, making our event the world’s largest managed deer hunt.” The Kansas City District also works to protect multiple resources through a robust Cultural Resource Program, providing stewardship to all 18 lakes. Park rangers are first-line support for protecting cultural resources such as burial grounds and Native American artifacts. Working with USACE archaeologists, they ensure construction activities do not take place near identified cultural resource locations and work to comply and protect these resources under federal laws and USACE regulations. The bald eagle is another gem found at USACE lakes. It was placed on the endangered species list in 1967, but with the right habitat, the first successful bald eagle nest in the Kansas City District was documented at Clinton Lake in 1989. Since then, eagle populations have rebounded significantly. For more than 50 years, the district’s lakes have provided prime habitat for several thousand wintering birds. Standing timber in lakes and large trees along shorelines serve as nesting and hunting perches, allowing bald eagles to continue to thrive at USACE lakes. In April 2018, a record-breaking 125 active bald eagle nests were recorded in Kansas. Additional eagle-viewing opportunities are provided every winter at several lakes. USACE hosts several Eagle Day events with live eagle programs, exhibits, viewing stations, and activities. Shoreline stabilization practices help protect the shoreline and provide additional recreation opportunities. Lake staff works to maintain acceptable fish and wildlife habitat, aesthetic quality, and natural environment conditions while promoting safe use for recreational purposes and providing general public use. Some practices include armoring the shoreline with rip-rap and jetty construction. These provide shallow-water habitat for fish and increased public access for fishing, provide increased water quality by reducing sedimentation, and protect infrastructure such as campgrounds, roads, water lines, utilities, and more. Keep in mind recreation surrounds thousands of miles at each of the lakes, and USACE works hard to maintain these lands for the public to enjoy. When recreating, remember to be courteous, respect the land, and play it safe. n 89




“Through our computer, we continually monitor the aircraft during flight, especially the battery capacity. If battery power begins to drop, we will bring the aircraft back to the home waypoint, land it, and install a new charged battery,” said Jeff Cowman, district UAS pilot and aircrew training program manager. “After the install, we relaunch the aircraft, and send it to continue the mission it was already assigned and performing.” The Omaha District UAS section continues to develop its program but hasn’t done it alone. When the flood occurred in March, the district reached out to USACE Headquarters Aviation for assistance. It was quick to respond, and within 24 hours of receiving Omaha’s request, Headquarters sent one of its own, as well as experienced pilots from across USACE – and additional aircraft to ensure the Omaha District was able to meet the flying requirements brought about by the flood. “HQ Aviation’s quick actions helped the Omaha District UAS program get out in front of the flood recovery effort,” said Lt. Col. James Startzell, deputy district commander. “When weather allows for unmanned flights, the products provided to the district from the UAS team add great value to the levee rehabilitation program. There is still a lot of work ahead to fully realize UAS capabilities, and our team will continue to leverage the HQ UAS team whenever the mission calls for it.” USACE has always been a leader in the use of advanced technology to get the job done, and as we usher in a new era, USACE is both “Building Strong” and flying strong. n



mid-to-late March, floodwater covered much of eastern Nebraska, western Iowa, and northern Missouri. Due to the extreme amount of water in the area, members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Omaha District had trouble getting to the more than 500 miles of compromised levees to surveil for damage, so they turned to a new option to the Omaha District: drones. Drones, or unmanned aerial systems (UAS), offer the district the opportunity to fly over affected levees and other flooded areas without putting district employees in danger. “Anytime we send district personnel out to survey an area, there is a chance for something to happen ... be it getting stuck in the mud, fall into the water, or be affected by other hazards,” said Jon Kragt, Omaha District chief of Surveys, Mapping, and GIS. “Surveying by unmanned aircraft offers the district an expedient and accurate option to gather data that can very quickly be transferred to our district engineers to process.” In addition to surveying levees, the district’s unmanned aircraft offer direct observation capabilities, photography, videography, measurement, inspections, surveillance, and 3-D modeling. Dam or bridge inspections are also opportunities for drone usage. The pilot will fly a multi-rotor aircraft along the face of a dam or bridge, observing for cracks or other potential issues, removing the requirement for a person to do the same. Due to the deep water at a dam’s face, it can be timely and costly for a person to set up the equipment to observe the dam face. Utilizing an unmanned aircraft removes the person from the potentially dangerous situation. The aircraft pilot can stand safely away from the water to observe, and upon completion, there is photo and video evidence for people to reference. The Omaha District currently owns and flies multi-rotor and fixed-wing aircraft. The multi-rotor aircraft, quad-copters, allow unmanned pilots the opportunity to fly smaller, tighter areas and still complete all of the missions previously mentioned. Battery life is shorter than that of the fixed-wing aircraft, but the multi-rotor gives the pilot the ability to hover and fly backward to closely observe the mission. The fixed-wing aircraft fly faster and longer than the multi-rotors, so missions can be planned over a greater distance. A typical flight for a fixed-wing can cover more than 100 acres in just over an hour, dependent on weather and other mitigating factors, such as the weight of a camera. Because the fixed-wing aircraft generates its own lift across the wings, the battery life is extended when compared to that of a multi-rotor. However, missions can be larger than the battery life of either aircraft because both allow battery changes mid-mission.

Drone aerial footage of repair work being completed at Union Valley Dike near Valley, Nebraska, after the 2019 runoff event. The flood event was due to water runoff from unregulated tributaries, which compromised more than 500 miles of levees along the Missouri River.



lue River Dam is a heavy collection of rock, 270 feet high and more than 1,200 feet long. It, along with Cougar Dam, another massive rock-fill structure, works in coordination to provide flood risk management along the McKenzie River, a tributary of the Willamette River. Blue River Dam turned 50 years old in 2019 and marked the 50th commemoration of the completion of the entire system of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) 13 dams in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, which has been systematically protecting people, infrastructure, and a way of life since 1969. Flood control was the main driver behind the multipurpose development of the Willamette River Basin after World War II. The Flood Control Act of 1938 outlined the basic development and prompted the construction of the Willamette Valley Project’s first two dams: Fern Ridge and Cottage Grove. Additional flood control acts resulted in the construction of a total of 13 dams and reservoirs that make up the Willamette Valley Project. The great flood in December 1964 put these projects to the test. The end result was flood prevention benefits amounting to $514 million (about $4.2 billion today), more than twice the cost of the projects completed at the time. “It’s interesting to think about how settlement patterns have changed in the valley,” said Cameron Bishop, Willamette Valley Project environmental specialist. “We’re occupying areas where we normally wouldn’t because of the lessened risk from floods. It’s a strange tension.” Portland District owns and operates Blue River Dam and the 12 others within the Willamette system. The district estimates that the system reduces the impacts of flooding enough to save the state of Oregon, its taxpayers, and the roughly 70 percent of the state’s residents who live in the valley more than $1 billion dollars on an annual basis.



The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built Blue River Dam and Reservoir in 1969 to manage flood risks from the McKenzie River, a tributary of the Willamette River, east of Eugene, Oregon. It is one of 13 dams and reservoirs in the Willamette Valley System and has helped USACE reduce the severity of floods, which saves the region an estimated $1 billion per year. Portland District commemorated the 50th anniversary of the system last year.

Even with the annual savings and an estimated savings of $26 billion dollars since 1994 from the reduction of floods and flood severity, the system has presented challenges. For one, many of the highhead dams block fish passage to Endangered Species Act-threatened species. Additionally, when USACE built the structures, some lands were inundated with water, resulting in the government relocating homes and towns. These reservoirs also change water temperatures, which can have multiple effects, some to fish and wildlife, others to water supply and quality. “Our system has allowed Willamette Valley residents to live with less disruption from flooding, because we can take the peaks off of flooding events,” said Dustin Bengtson, Willamette Valley Project deputy operations project manager. “But people have to realize that there are trade-offs, and our agency has to balance those competing needs.” As one can conclude by the amount of money saved throughout the system’s history, even with the challenges it represents, the Willamette Valley Project has had an immense impact on communities downstream of the dams for the past 50 years. Learn more about the Willamette Valley Project at: www.nwp.usace.army.mil/Locations/Willamette-Valley/. n 91




Discover Your Northwest (DYNW) Executive Director Jim Adams (left) and board member Christy McDanold (right) talk with Seattle District Commander Col. Mark Geraldi in the Carl S. English Jr. Botanical Garden. DYNW received the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 2018 Excellence in Partnerships Award as a key partner of the district’s Hiram M. Chittenden Locks.

BY BILL DOWELL , Seat tle District


he U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, locally known as the Ballard Locks, are one of Seattle’s top tourist destinations. Each year, hundreds of thousands flock to the more-than-acentury-old locks to wander atop the gates and lock walls, marveling at the engineering feat and watching vessels transit from the fresh waters of lakes Washington and Union to Puget Sound’s salt waters, and back. They visit the fish ladder to view salmon migration, and walk among plants from around the world in the Carl S. English Jr. Botanical Garden. “It truly is a magical place to visit,” said Discover Your Northwest (DYNW) Executive Director Jim Adams. “It holds a special place in my heart.” DYNW and Adams have been key partners at the locks for decades. The Seattle-based nonprofit was selected for the USACE 2018 Excellence in Partnerships Award. “It is without question [that] their contributions have helped make the Ballard Locks a top Seattle

destination spot,” said District Partnership Program Manager Alana Mesenbrink. The large nonprofit serves more than just USACE facilities in the Pacific Northwest and operates in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California, and Montana. It serves national park sites, national forests, and many others. Yet, according to Mesenbrink, DYNW dedicates time and energy to each project as if it were its only partnership. Adams was personally involved in supporting nine months of special activities held in 2017 for the locks centennial commemoration. DYNW was the first partner, and Adams was a key member on the centennial planning team. Even while the centennial festivities were going on, Adams and another partner, the Corps Foundation, and its founding director, Rich Deline, were working on the next project at the locks: a $1 million fish ladder viewing area renovation. 93


“It’s been nearly 50 years since the fish ladder was updated, and the current exhibits and space [are] simply worn out and out of date,” said Deline. USACE’s natural resource management mission needs these types of collaboration, according to Mesenbrink. The challenges facing this mission require a new way of doing business to ensure USACE is meeting public needs. “Our partners and volunteers are organizations and people who want to give back to their communities and are interested in being involved in the Corps’ natural resource management

program,” Mesenbrink said. “While not a substitute for Corps’ resource management, they help accomplish programs and activities when funding isn’t available and wouldn’t normally be performed.” The value of the partnerships is more than just about money. “It’s about building community support and constituencies,” she continued. “Whether it is an environmental ethic, a love of parks, or enthusiasm for the outdoors, these partners and volunteers share their expertise, resources, time, and energy to work together toward common goals.” n



he Walla Walla District is open for business. Expanding opportunities for American business is one of the goals of the district’s annual community engagement program, and each fall, Industry Day is a big part of that effort. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Walla Walla District hosted more than 130 business owners during its Industry Day in October 2018 in Walla Walla, Washington. The daylong event was open to those interested in learning about how to do business with USACE, upcoming contract opportunities, competing for contracts, or showcasing capabilities. “We hold these types of events to provide our customers, stakeholders, the public, and large and small businesses the best opportunities to learn how to work with and for the federal government. This in turn becomes a true value to our nation and our communities,” said Lt. Col. Christian Dietz, commander of Walla Walla District. District personnel presented informational briefings and discussed upcoming contracting opportunities and processes, and a panel of district staff members, who are frequently involved with reviewing contract proposals, answered a wide variety of questions posed by attendees. The district is responsible for managing environmental, hydroelectric, navigation, engineering, construction, emergency management, and recreation services within a region covering 107,000 square miles that includes parts of six states. The Walla Walla District operates and maintains six hydroelectric power facilities, four flood risk reduction projects, and $2.5 billion of infrastructure. For many attendees, Industry Day offered the chance to network with other businesses that do work for USACE.


“We are a small business in the area, but this is our first time to Industry Day,” said Adam Swedberg, owner of Swedberg Contracting. “I received a lot of really valuable information and was able to network with some of the local large businesses that came out. We weren’t sure what to expect, but after attending, we have a better idea of how the process works and how to navigate it,” Swedberg explained. That small business-to-large business networking can be key to successful federal contract performance. “Large businesses, which have capacity to perform complex, high-value work, often subcontract with small businesses to perform portions of [the] total scope of work. This event also allows small businesses and large businesses that work with, or plan to work with, the government to network, share information, and ask imperative questions to the Corps, sparking and promoting economic viability,” Dietz said. “This is my first Industry Day with the Corps,” said Jon Schliep, an account manager for Timken Power Systems. “I am with a large business, and my main reason for being here today is to network with local small businesses. We want to leverage their capabilities with our own staying power to see what the future could bring for the both of us.” The Walla Walla District awards more than 1,000 contracts each year for construction projects, architect-engineering studies, and supplies and services needed to operate its facilities. These contracting opportunities annually total $90 million to $130 million. n



Chris Alford, a natural resources specialist with USACE’s Walla Walla District, answers questions at the annual Industry Day held at the Marcus Whitman Hotel and Conference Center in Walla Walla, Washington, on Oct. 10, 2018.


SOUTH PACIFIC DIVISION • 10 states (5 shared with other divisions) • 170 Native American nations • 81 members of the U.S. House of Representatives • 20 U.S. senators • 15 of the 25 fastest-growing U.S. metropolitan areas • 2,286 miles of federal levees

SOUTH PACIFIC DIVISION 450 Golden Gate Ave. San Francisco, CA 94102 spd-pao@usace.army.mil (415) 503-6517 www.spd.usace.army.mil www.facebook.com/SouthPacificDivisionUSACE www.twitter.com/USACE_SPD www.instagram.com/USACE_SPD www.youtube.com/user/Southpacificdivision

LOS ANGELES DISTRICT 915 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1105 Los Angeles, CA 90017 PublicAffairs.SPL@usace.army.mil (213) 452-3921 www.spl.usace.army.mil www.facebook.com/ladistrict www.twitter.com/CorpsLAdistrict www.flickr.com/photos/losangelesdistrict www.youtube.com/user/USACE90017

ALBUQUERQUE DISTRICT 4101 Jefferson Plaza, NE Albuquerque, NM 87109 cespa-pa@usace.army.mil (505) 342-3349 www.spa.usace.army.mil www.facebook.com/albuquerquedistrict www.twitter.com/USACE_ABQ www.flickr.com/photos/usace_albuquerque

SACRAMENTO DISTRICT 1325 J St. Sacramento, CA 95814 spk-pao@usace.army.mil (916) 557-5100 www.spk.usace.army.mil www.facebook.com/sacramentodistrict www.twitter.com/USACESacramento www.flickr.com/photos/sacramentodistrict www.youtube.com/user/SacramentoDistrict


he U.S. Army Corps of Engineers South Pacific Division (SPD) provides federal and military engineering support in California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and New Mexico, and in parts of Colorado, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, and Texas. Comprised of 2,300 Soldiers and civilians at four operating districts (headquartered in Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Francisco, and Albuquerque), the division manages a broad range of challenging missions across an economically, environmentally, and culturally diverse region. The South Pacific Division’s military construction program supports 25 Army and Air Force installations, including Military Ocean Terminal Concord, California, a crucial component of military logistics and


• 46 dams and reservoirs • 5 strategic ports • Less than 20 inches annual precipitation; prone to flood/drought cycles • 30 recreational areas hosting 15.7 million visits annually • 300 of 1,200 threatened/endangered species

readiness, as well as Nellis, Cannon, Hill, and Kirtland Air Force Bases. The division is also partnering with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to build world-class medical facilities supporting veterans. SPD is managing a $3 billion mega-program to modernize seven VA hospitals in California and Nevada, working in partnership to deliver projects that will serve those who have served our country. The division’s civil works program leverages federal resources for navigation, flood damage reduction, and ecosystem restoration. In the predominantly arid Pacific Southwest, water resources are vital to agriculture, urban development, natural ecosystems, tribal interests, and recreation. Major river basins include the Sacramento,

SAN FRANCISCO DISTRICT 450 Golden Gate Ave. San Francisco, CA 94102 cespn-pa2@usace.army.mil (415) 503-6804 www.spn.usace.army.mil www.facebook.com/USACESPN www.twitter.com/USACESPN www.youtube.com/user/USACESanFrancisco

San Joaquin, Santa Ana, Colorado, and Rio Grande, which are governed by complex water rights. Accordingly, South Pacific Division works in partnership with other federal agencies, state governments, and local communities on collaborative solutions to these complex water resource issues. Under the Bipartisan Budget Act Storm Supplemental, the division is executing $2.5 billion in long-term investment construction focused on flood risk resiliency to reduce risk to communities and infrastructure. SPD is also home to the Urban Search and Rescue Program, which trains and deploys structural engineers to augment FEMA task forces, the military, and others in evaluating immediate structural conditions in a natural or man-made disaster. n




BY TUCKER FE YDER, Sacramento District; ELIZ ABE TH LOCK YE AR, Albuquerque District; AND JONATHAN TAGUE, Albuquerque District


12-person multi-disciplinary team of engineers from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Albuquerque District found the concrete of John Martin Dam’s stilling basin to be in good condition during an inspection, Feb. 21-25, 2019. The concrete stilling basin sits immediately downstream of the concrete dam and contains nearly 200 8-foot-tall concrete baffle blocks, which dissipate the energy of the water that is released from 16 massive tainter gates. Without this important feature, the water released by the tainter gates could undermine the dam’s foundation. “The inspection found very little damage in the stilling basin. In fact, some areas of concrete looked nearly new,” said Tracy Aragon, civil engineer in the Albuquerque District’s Operations Support Branch and inspection team lead. The inspection team was primarily looking for damage in the concrete that would expose the reinforcing steel to corrosion

Photo taken Jan. 10, 2019, of the stilling basin as seen from the end sill at the John Martin Reservoir, in Colorado. Baffle blocks are on the left; on the right are pump lines to remove water from the basin.

and offset in the joints that would indicate instability of the structure. “The results of the inspection showed that the structure is performing as designed and also exposed a few additional unanticipated concerns, which the engineering team was able to correct before the contract was complete,” said Aragon. “The biggest surprise of the inspection was that the 2,000-plus drain holes in the stilling basin floor were partially clogged. These drains were cleaned before refilling the stilling basin.” Drain holes serve to relieve water pressure from underneath the concrete of the stilling basin floor, said Aragon. 97



The contractor uses an excavator to remove equipment from the stilling basin, March 25, 2019. Baffle blocks are visible on the left.

“In every dam, some water ‘leaks’ through the foundation and under the dam,” she said. “If we trap this water, it can create a buoyant force underneath the dam that could destabilize it. The drain holes need to be kept clear to relieve the pressure under the dam from this leakage water.” John Martin Dam is a gravity dam, consisting of a concrete middle section and two earthen wing dams on either end. The concrete section contains the 16 tainter gates at the top of the dam, and six service gates near the bottom. The service gates control most of the water released into the stilling basin, and ultimately, control the flows downstream on the Arkansas River. The 64-feet-tall and 30-feet-wide tainter gates are used during flood control releases. To ensure the stilling basin performs as expected during flood releases, USACE regulations recommend inspecting a dam’s stilling basin every 10 to 25 years, depending on the dam. After several years of including this project in the budget request, Congress authorized and appropriated funding for this project in fiscal year 2018. At John Martin, the concrete of the stilling basin has been underwater since it was completed more than 75 years ago. In addition to removing the water, approximately 55,000 cubic yards of sediment that had built up from regular conduit releases over the years also had to be removed to inspect the concrete. According to the John Martin Dam Concrete Spillway Investigation report, the baffle block concrete is overall in good condition. The majority of the baffle blocks appeared to have been covered with sediment, which reduced the possibility of damage from erosion or abrasive water flows. The dewatering portion of the $4.8 million John Martin Reservoir Stilling Basin Sediment Removal and Dewatering project began Nov. 1, 2018. Contractors installed six high-powered pumps in the stilling basin to begin the process of removing the basin’s water for the first time since the dam was constructed in the 1940s.

Due to the high nutrient content of the water in the stilling basin, this area has become a high-quality, well-known “honey hole” for local anglers. In fact, the stilling basin has produced multiple state record bass and catfish in the past. USACE John Martin project staff teamed up with local Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) staff and a few hardworking volunteers to relocate the game fish from the stilling basin to the main body of the reservoir. The fish were collected through various means, including electrofishing, seine-netting, and dip-netting. Electrofishing involves a high-tech boat that is capable of delivering high-voltage currents through the water, which essentially stuns the nearby fish, causing them to float to the water’s surface. Upon breaching the surface, USACE and CPW employees captured the fish via dip-net and placed them in an oxygenated holding tank on the boat. After a few minutes in the holding tank, the fish recovered from being shocked and were back to normal. Once the holding tank was full, the fish were transferred by hand to a hatchery truck that was provided by CPW’s Las Animas Fish Hatchery. The hatchery truck shuttled the fish up and over the dam to the main body of the reservoir, where they were released into the lake to continue life in their new, much bigger home. The fish salvaging lasted for 14 days, with tens of thousands of fish relocated to the main body of the reservoir. The fish species relocated included channel catfish, blue catfish, flathead catfish, saugeye, walleye, white bass, striped bass, wiper, drum, bluegill, crappie, and shad, as well as the undesirable common carp. With most of the water and the fish finally safely out of the way, crews were able to begin hauling sediment out of the stilling basin. Backhoes, skid-steers, excavators, and dump trucks worked tirelessly to move the water-saturated dirt from the stilling basin to a settling area for the dirt to dry out. Once dried out, the sediment was used to improve the grade of one of John Martin’s numerous food plots to make irrigation easier and more effective, said Jonathan Tague, project office manager at John Martin Reservoir. The John Martin staff also grows crops that support local wildlife. “We generally grow triticale – which is similar to winter wheat – buckwheat, pumpkins, and other crops to enhance the food available for local wildlife. They primarily support wild turkeys and deer, but there are also others like rabbits and other small rodents,” said Tague. “We have somewhere around 30 wild turkeys and an unknown number of deer, as they have a larger territory.” “The project delivery team did an outstanding job designing and monitoring the construction to completion. The project was constructed on time, no fatalities, and within budget,” said Felton Prosper, project manager in USACE’s Albuquerque District Civil Project Management Branch. The USACE Albuquerque District began construction on its second major dam project, the John Martin Dam, known as the Caddoa Reservoir Project in 1940. After a three-year delay during World War II (1943-1946), the dam was completed in 1948. n 99





hen most people think about extreme weather events in Southern California, earthquakes and wildfires might come to mind. Although both of these natural, and, sometimes, man-made disasters do happen frequently in the arid Southwest, another kind of disaster, often overlooked but with potentially devastating effect to the state, is from periodic flooding. Whether in the coastal areas of California, inland, or in the valley, all 58 counties in California have experienced at least one significant flood event in the past 25 years, according to the California Department of Water Resources. These floods result in loss of life and billions of dollars in damages. With a large population living near or downstream of dams, these urban sprawls – coupled with the right mixture of heavy rainfall – can equal disaster. That is one of the reasons the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Los Angeles District is being proactive by reassessing its inventory of dams. “Public safety is our No. 1 priority,” said Col. Aaron Barta, commander of the Los Angeles District. “The primary objective of the Corps’ Dam Safety Program is to review our dams and ensure resources are prioritized to address the highest risks.” Dams are assigned Dam Safety Action Classification, or DSAC, risk ratings of 1 to 5, with 1 being “very high urgency,” 2 being “high urgency,” 3 being “moderate urgency,” 4 being “low urgency,” and 5 being “normal.” USACE defines “high urgency” as dams where failure could begin during normal operations or be initiated as the consequence of an event. The likelihood of failure from one of these occurrences, prior to remediation, is too high to assure public safety. In the last several months, the Los Angeles District’s Dam Safety Program has reclassified two of its dams – Whittier Narrows and Prado – and is reassessing several more.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District Whittier Narrows Dam Lead Project Engineer Doug Chitwood, left, and Whittier Narrows Dam Project Manager George Sunny, right, pose for a picture near the spillway gates of Whittier Narrows Dam during an interview with a Los Angeles Times reporter in January 2019 at the dam in Pico Rivera, California.

WHITTIER NARROWS Whittier Narrows Dam, located in Pico Rivera, California, is one component of a complex Los Angeles County Drainage Area flood risk management system that consists of five dams, 33 debris basins, and 180 miles of main and tributary channels. USACE recently completed a draft for the Whittier Narrows Dam Safety Modification Study that recommends important modifications to the dam to ensure it continues to reduce flood risk for 1.2 million people living downstream from it. The dam, built nearly 60 years ago, continues to perform as it was designed; however, due to the combination of the potential loss of life with a very high likelihood of failure during a rare flood event, it was reclassified from a DSAC 2 to a DSAC 1, from high urgency to very high urgency. The study showed should this rare flood occur, the dam could fail through erosion underneath or even overtopping, putting the population downstream at risk. “The dam was designed consistent with the standards of the day and it has succeeded in reducing flood damages,” said lead project engineer Doug Chitwood. “However, floods larger than we have experienced since the dam was built will occur at some point. The proposed modification project and community preparation are key components in reducing the flood risk.” The Los Angeles District continues to seek opportunities to communicate with the public and its partners about the importance of the study and the value of the dam to Southern California. Downstream 101



Looking out toward the spillway at Prado Dam on June 17, 2019, near Corona, California. Phoebe Percell, USACE’s chief of the Dam and Levee Safety Branch and Deputy Dam and Levee Safety officer, and members from the Risk Management and Dam Safety Production Centers traveled to the Los Angeles District to visually inspect and assess the Prado, Whittier, and Sepulveda dams, meet with project managers, and learn more about each dam during their visit.

communities have begun actively preparing evacuation plans to minimize risk, should a rare flood event occur in the future. “There are no guarantees when it comes to Mother Nature,” Barta said. “Residents downstream from the dam should be aware of evacuation routes, local emergency communication procedures, and be prepared for any flood event, whether big or small.” Whittier Narrows Dam is the only DSAC 1 dam in the nation not in the design or construction phase yet. Getting it to construction is a USACE priority. The dam modifications do not require congressional authorization, because it is already an authorized federal project. The study was completed in June 2019 and is being reviewed by USACE Headquarters. The goal is to get the study approved in 2019, initiate design, and start construction in 2021. From 1982 to 2009, flood damages prevented by the dam were valued at $4.7 billion, with an average annual benefit of $169 million. Additionally, about 2.1 million people visit the dam’s recreation area annually.

PRADO DAM Prado Dam is a flood risk management project located on the Santa Ana River near the city of Corona, California, and is in the process of being modified.

Constructed in 1941, the dam’s primary purpose is flood risk management, protecting 1.4 million people living and working in 29 cities in Riverside and Orange counties and more than $61 billion in property. Additionally, it also provides recreation and water conservation benefits. Modifications to Prado Dam began in 2002 to provide additional capacity to store floodwaters and sediment. Modification of the spillway will be the last feature of the project to be constructed. In early 2019, a site-specific evaluation was conducted to assess conditions associated with the dam as part of a periodic review of its performance. Risk factors identified at that time indicated the potential for poor spillway performance in the event of a rare flood event. Although the dam is typically dry and has never experienced a large enough storm to cause water to flow over the spillway, because of the high population living downstream, USACE reclassified its rating from a DSAC 3 to a DSAC 2, from moderate urgency to high urgency. The Los Angeles District is working with a national team of experts to reduce the risks associated with the spillway and implementing interim risk-reduction measures – structural and nonstructural – until modification of the existing spillway is complete. Construction is expected to begin in 2021. “We are definitely aware of the population that is relying on us,” said Lillian Doherty, chief of the district’s Operations Division. “We are committed to finding a solution in the short and long term.” The agency also is actively coordinating with its partners and conducting public outreach as interim risk-management strategies. “We value transparency and our relationships with our local, state, and federal partners,” Barta said. “We will continue to work together to keep the public informed about Prado Dam.”

PUBLIC OUTREACH ACTIVITIES Communicating flood risk to communities downstream of its 16 dams is a top priority for the district. “The Los Angeles District Dam Safety Program, in partnership with emergency management, has been actively engaging our partner stakeholders to improve interagency coordination, community flood-risk awareness, and emergency preparedness,” said Kristen Bedolla, Los Angeles District Dam Safety Program manager. During spring and summer 2019, the Los Angeles District hosted several outreach events, including two media press conferences at Whittier Narrows and Prado dams; a Santa Fe Dam Tabletop Exercise with local, state, and federal emergency management agencies; Whittier Narrows and Mojave River dam seminars with local, state, federal, and congressional officials; and congressional and city staff tours of Whittier and Prado dams. Additionally, the district is continuously conducting outreach events with local schools and communities through its new ranger program. “This year’s program has rolled out an unprecedented amount of outreach programs,” Doherty said. “Our collective efforts will build the bridge to stronger communications, trust, and credibility, so we can all be better prepared should a large storm event or series of storms affect our Southern California area.” n 103


FLOOD MANAGEMENT AND ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION Hamilton City Project entails both. BY J. PAUL BRUTON, Sacramento District




he Hamilton City Flood Damage Reduction and Ecosystem Restoration project is the first of its kind in the nation and earned the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Sacramento District an American Society of Civil Engineers award for Small Flood Management Project of the Year. Approximately 90 miles north of Sacramento, Hamilton City sits in a low-lying area behind a bend in the Sacramento River. For years, the town’s only defense has been the J levee – an un-engineered earthen levee built in 1904 – which provides such minimal benefit that there’s about a 10 percent chance of flooding every year. The town has long been at risk. There have been five recorded instances when flood-fighting prevented major flooding. The town was evacuated six times during a 15-year period between 1983 and 1998, and portions of the town did, in fact, flood in 1974. For years, the small town of roughly 2,000 people pursued federal help, hoping to secure a USACE federal project to build a new levee system. However, the combination of the town’s small size and the cost of a federal flood risk management project dwarfing the value of nearby property and structures made it nearly impossible to justify a project that warranted federal participation. That didn’t stop the community from continuing its pursuit to replace the aging J levee. Approximately 30 years after beginning to look for opportunities to reduce Hamilton City’s flood risk, the solution came about in a first-ofits-kind project that aligned flood risk management with ecosystem restoration. The formation of strong partnerships led to a willingness to work together on a multipurpose project: the community wanted to create flood relief for the people of Hamilton City; The Nature Conservancy wanted to find a way to restore native habitat; and area farmers wanted to reduce damages from flows that scoured their property along the edge of the river. The Hamilton City Flood Damage Reduction and Ecosystem Restoration project was able to address these problems with one solution. “The Hamilton City Flood Damage Reduction and Ecosystem Restoration project focused on measures that provide both flood risk reduction and ecosystem restoration benefits, establishing a restored riparian corridor along the Sacramento River,” said Bryon Lake, Hamilton City project manager. The project, authorized in the Water Resources Development Act of 2007, will cost approximately $91 million to build 6.8 miles of setback

This aerial map shows how the original J levee hugged the Sacramento River in many locations near Hamilton City, leaving little defense to high waters flowing through the region. Construction of a new setback levee widens the river channel and allows high water to remain low within a natural channel, lowering the flood risk for the town and nearby agricultural lands.

levees and restore nearly 1,500 acres of riparian habitat, reconnecting the floodplain to the Sacramento River. Rather than build up levees along the river, setback levees are placed farther from the river and have a better foundation, allowing the river to expand more naturally during times of increased water flows. Setback levees also create space to allow for more habitat within the floodway. “The key feature is the setback levee. Building a new levee on sound foundation significantly reduces risk of flooding to the community,” said Alicia Kirchner, the district’s deputy engineer for Programs and Project Management. “Building that same new levee setback from the Sacramento River creates space to restore native floodplain habitat and more natural floodplain function. One feature yielding two types of benefits resulted in a project that had funding priority.” During any substantial increase in river flows, the river will now widen into the restored floodplain channel, rather than flow over or through the levee, spilling into the town. Another benefit is that riparian habitat now has connectivity up and down the river, providing wildlife increased native riparian habitat. The first phase of the project was completed five months ahead of schedule, and area wildlife has already benefitted from the restoration. “This project is special. Everyone came together at the right time and place, and it is an example of the best that collaborative project planning has to offer,” said Kirchner. n


MOVING DIRT FOR THE SHORELINE Agencies prepare for levee construction in the South San Francisco Bay. BY BR ANDON BE ACH, San Francisco District


round is moving in Alviso, California, and it’s not an earthquake. The first fleet of delivery trucks arrived May 7 at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, home to the South San Francisco Bay Shoreline Project, to offload thousands of cubic yards of dirt, material that will be later used for future levee construction in the area. More than a decade in the making, the $177 million project aims to bolster dikes in a densely populated region of Silicon Valley, parts of which are below sea level, while also restoring habitat in what will be the largest wetland restoration project west of the Mississippi River. When complete, the project will create 4 miles of levees, 2,800 acres of tidal marsh habitat, and a vast network of recreational trails. Partnering with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) on a project of this scale are a number of local, state, and national agencies including Santa Clara Valley Water District, (Valley Water) California State Coastal Conservancy, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Santa Clara County Parks, and the city of San Jose.

Moving dirt at this early stage in the project timeline serves as the “foundation for success,” said Lt. Col. Travis Rayfield, San Francisco District commander. “This is a critical step in the development of a project that will ultimately safeguard the local community and critical infrastructure [in the South Bay].” Valley Water District 3 Director Richard Santos, a native of Alviso, echoed that sentiment, saying, “This [project] is needed to prevent devastating flooding from sea level rise and coastal flooding.” Next step for project managers is teeing up and awarding a construction contract to begin levee construction later this year. In the meantime, the daily comings and goings of delivery trucks are a visible sign of the path forward. “This is one of the best days of the job. After many years of reviewing documents and having meetings and conference calls, we get out on site and see dirt moving,” said Anne Morkill, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service complex manager at the 30,000-acre Don Edwards Wildlife Refuge. For more information on the project, visit www.southbayshoreline.org. n


A truck driver unloads fill material at the Alviso, California, site of the South San Francisco Bay Shoreline Project, while a safety specialist monitors the delivery, May 7, 2019.



The group of hikers reaches the John Muir Memorial Shelter, aka Muir Hut.



t’s a subject that has launched countless books: What is it that best prepares someone for leadership and success and the ability to inspire others? For Lt. Col. David Kaulfers, who has managed the San Francisco District’s highest-priority project for the past three years, leading a hike through several hundred miles in the wilderness has had as much to do with unlocking that secret as commanding troops in battle. After seven years with the district, Kaulfers is preparing for his next assignment with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, overseeing military construction in Afghanistan, and looking back on his time in California, “living the dream,” as all those who bump into him in the district’s hallways of 450 Golden Gate know he is fond of saying. Part of that dream, and part of what has helped him develop the skills he believes are necessary to lead and motivate others on critical projects, didn’t come about on the job, but through another more personal goal that had long been on his bucket list: hiking California’s John Muir Trail, a more than 200-mile trek through the Sierra Nevadas beginning at Yosemite National Park and ending at Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the continental United States. “Putting together a plan to hike the trail is just like being a project manager. It’s all about scope, schedule, and budget,” said Kaulfers, who has led the district’s South San Francisco Bay Shoreline Project, a massive undertaking designed to protect some of California’s most valuable real estate from flooding and predicted sea level rise. It is also the largest wetland restoration project west of the Mississippi River. Last year, he led several adults and five Boy Scouts on a path that covered 243 miles in 21 days, over areas so remote that the group,

at times, went for days without seeing anyone else. It’s a journey that required a tremendous amount of planning, organizing, training, and preparing for a multitude of unpredictable contingencies, from bad weather to sickness to injury. Cellphones were useless. Great training, he found, for leading a multimillion-dollar project for the district that, when completed, will affect the lives of millions of Bay Area residents. “You had to look at each portion of the trail and plan for every possible scenario and in locations where it could take days to return to civilization,” Kaulfers said. “What would you do if you needed to get assistance? How would you resupply? Where were you going to sleep, get water, what would you do in the event of an emergency?” It was an experience he likens to his time as a company commander when his National Guard unit was activated and sent to Iraq at the height of the war in 2004. “A deployment gives people an opportunity to really show who they are because you’re under a microscope. The same thing with the John Muir Trail,” said Kaulfers. “Whether it’s an Army deployment or a long backpacking trip, those things are personality amplifiers and you really get to see who’s who.” It’s those characteristics, he said, that led to success on the Shoreline Project. “If you don’t have the right people to deliver a project, you’re not going to get it off the ground, and if you don’t have the right people to do a backpacking trip like this, you’re not going to be successful.” So don’t be afraid, the engineer in him tells others, to attempt what might seem like a bridge too far. “Do things that other people don’t want to do, but also take advantage of opportunities, because they might not be presented to you again.” n 1 07

PACIFIC OCEAN DIVISION The $10.7 billion multiyear, massive Korea Relocation Program includes the construction of 655 new and renovated facilities, which will enable the relocation of approximately 12,000 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea to U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys, in support of the United States-Republic of Korea alliance. • A multibillion dollar, multiyear U.S.-Japan Defense Policy Review Initiative results in the rebuilding of 77 percent of Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni. • The Okinawa Consolidation and Futenma Replacement Facility’s scope of work includes 400 projects, which will reduce the U.S. military’s footprint in Okinawa. These projects highlight the nation’s commitment to the U.S.-Japan alliance. • Hosts meetings and conferences with U.S. military service components and Japanese alliance partners to adapt processes to improve construction, address acceptable Unified Facilities Criteria alternatives and develop a better framework to better manage project planning in Japan. • Builds partner capacity and all-hazards response through disaster risk management, technical •


• Integrates and employs engineer capabilities to deliver solutions that promote security and stability in the IndoPacific region and protects the nation through its four engineer districts – Alaska, Far East, Honolulu, and Japan – located across the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) and U.S. Northern Command areas of responsibility. • Operates in a complex and diverse region that encompasses the largest area of division responsibility within the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. • Spans 16 time zones. • Covers 52 percent of the Earth’s surface and includes half of the world’s population. • Includes the four most-populous nations, the two largest democracies, seven of the world’s 10 largest armies, and five of seven U.S. mutual defense treaties. • Enables basing, force projection, protection, and sustainment by providing Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps forces and defense agencies the infrastructure to operate effectively, sustain readiness, and enhance quality of life. The Pacific Ocean Division (POD) is responsible for three of the four largest military/host-nation construction programs since the end of the Cold War – totaling nearly $28 billion.


engineering, water security, humanitarian assistance (HA), and Foreign Military Sales activities. POD works closely with INDOPACOM, U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC), and interagency partners in a whole-of-government approach to train and develop local leaders, engineers, and organizations, while conducting general engineering tasks with U.S. partners so that they may effectively protect and govern citizens. • Conducted more than 400 partner capacity-building activities in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region since 2012, sharing best practice and lessons learned; providing subject-matter expert exchanges; enhancing trust and communication; and enabling alliances and partnerships. • Delivered more than 300 INDOPACOM humanitarian assistance (HA) “brick and mortar” construction projects, such as schools, clinics, blood banks, wells, and emergency shelters since 2007. • Currently managing nearly 44 INDOPACOM HA construction projects in eight countries. • Executed or planning 70-plus capacity building engagements and activities in 16 countries during FY 19. • Executes integrated water resource management in Hawaii, Alaska, the U.S. territories of Guam and American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. POD delivers enduring and essential water resources solutions and infrastructure, which includes navigation (deep-water commercial ports, small boat harbors, and harbors of refuge); flood and coastal risk management; and aquatic ecosystem restoration. • Maintains 89 harbors to ensure safe and efficient operations, enabling more that 65 million tons of cargo to pass annually in Alaska and Hawaii – locations that depend on commercial and subsistence navigation. Anchorage Harbor is designated as one of only 19 Department of Defense “strategic seaports.”

PACIFIC OCEAN DIVISION Building 525 Fort Shafter, HI 96858-5440 (808) 835-4715 POD-PAO@usace.army.mil www.pod.usace.army.mil/ www.facebook.com/PODCorps ALASKA DISTRICT P.O. Box 6898 Anchorage, AK 99506-0898 (907) 753-2520 Public.Affairs3@usace.army.mil www.poa.usace.army.mil www.facebook.com/AlaskaCorps www.twitter.com/AlaskaCorps www.flickr.com/AlaskaCorps www.youtube.com/user/AlaskaCorps

Maintains 273,600 square miles of wetlands, about 7,390 miles of coastline, 34,960 miles of tidal coastlands, and 89 ports or small boat harbors. The professional management of these resources has resulted in no serious environmental incident or loss of aquatic habitat for 25years. • Takes its role as environmental steward very seriously. Protects the nation’s aquatic resources while allowing reasonable development through fair, flexible, and balanced permit decisions. Notably, the state of Hawaii is ranked first in the nation with 454 listings of endangered species. • Processed more than 4,500 regulatory program actions during FY 19 while balancing reasonable development with protection of the waters of the United States. Currently, the team is processing a permit application for a proposed gold mine in Alaska that would become the largest in the world – if permitted – at an estimated value of $1 trillion. • Protects the public and restores the environment through the Defense Environmental Restoration Program for Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS) in Alaska and Hawaii, with an approximate amount of more than 180 projects and more than $58 million in clean-up actions during FY 19. One example is the Waikoloa site on the island of Hawaii, where more than 29,000 acres of this 123,000-plus-acre site have been cleared of more than 2,400 munitions and explosives of concern. This is the largest active FUDS site nationwide. • Supports FEMA under the National Response Framework, with engineering resources for disaster response and the recovery of public works and critical infrastructure in a region where 80 percent of the world’s natural disasters occur. • Depends on a diverse and exceptional blend of all engineering and support competencies from its POD team of 1,600-strong active-duty military, U.S., and host-nation civilian engineers, scientists, and support staff to accomplish its mission. Agile and adaptive leaders and empowered team members are the strength and foundation of the Pacific Ocean Division. •

FAR EAST DISTRICT USAEDFE CEPOF-PA Unit 15546 APO AP 96271 (011) 82-50-3355-6300 Unit 15546 APO AP 96205-5546 (011) 82-2-270-7501 DLL-CEPOF-PA@usace.army.mil www.pof.usace.army.mil www.facebook.com/USACE.FED.Korea www.twitter.com/FarEastDistrict www.flickr.com/photos/fedpa www.youtube.com/user/FarEastDistrict

JAPAN DISTRICT Unit 45010 APO AP 96-338-5010 (011) 81-46-407-3021 CEPOJ-PA@usace.army.mil www.poj.usace.army.mil www.facebook.com/JapanEngineerDistrict

HONOLULU DISTRICT Building 230, Room 302 Fort Shafter, HI 96858-5440 (808) 835-4004 CEPOH-PA@usace.army.mil www.poh.usace.army.mil www.facebook.com/HonoluluDistrict www.twitter.com/CorpsHonolulu www.flickr.com/HonoluluDistrict www.youtube.com/HonoluluDistrict





fficials for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Alaska District spent decades planning and preparing for the “next big one,” a catastrophic earthquake on the scale of the massive 9.2 seismic event that rocked the southcentral region of the state on March 27, 1964. Experts agreed another potential disaster lurked beneath the tundra, but no one could predict when or where it would strike. On Nov. 30, 2018, at 8:29 a.m., forecasters’ long-held fears were realized when a magnitude 7.1 earthquake erupted just 7 miles north of Anchorage. While not as powerful as the Good Friday earthquake – the infamous disaster from more than a half-century ago that ranks as the world’s second-strongest temblor ever recorded – the Cook Inlet earthquake generated the most violent shaking in the area since its predecessor’s historic episode. Making matters worse, the upheaval occurred when winter temperatures hovered in the mid- to high-20s. “Sooner or later, we knew it would happen,” said Herschel Deaton, chief of the district’s Emergency Management Office. “Fortunately, we were ready. We’ve conducted an annual cold-weather earthquake exercise for this exact situation, so everyone knew what to do.” Immediately after the thunderous jolt, the district headquarters on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson lost power briefly before its backup generator kicked in. It operated for about two hours to keep lights and computers functional until the installation restored electricity to base facilities. In the sudden aftermath, the organization’s first priority was to ensure the welfare of its local workforce. After quickly assessing the situation and determining that all 350 employees were safe and accounted for, the district leadership ordered the evacuation of its headquarters and surrounding buildings. A short time later, team members were dismissed to take care of their families and check on their homes.


BY TOM FINDTNER, Alaska District

Robert Koruna (left) and Eric Adams of the Alaska District’s structural assessment team examine a crack in a stairwell during an evaluation of critical facilities on Dec. 4, 2018, at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

“We were extremely fortunate that no one was killed or seriously injured,” Deaton said. “It was a unique incident because we were directly affected by the earthquake, but also expected to engage in support missions.” Some personnel were traumatized by the experience and further troubled to discover damage to their homes and household items. Many people were inconvenienced by power outages, dismayed by cracked interior walls, and mourned the loss of shattered dishes or broken keepsakes. In severe cases, employees reported structural damage, misaligned chimneys, ruptured gas lines, and snapped water pipes at their residences. As a result, four displaced workers and their families were forced to move into temporary lodging until their homes could be repaired. To help employees cope with these challenging circumstances, the district offered mental health counseling services and the opportunity to meet with a military chaplain. In the spirit of taking care of its own, the organization also established a relief fund on Dec. 6 to provide one-time grants to employees affected by the earthquake. The financial assistance was intended to help with the immediate replacement of essential items such as food and kitchenware or perhaps offset a larger expenditure. The account was funded by voluntary donations from the workforce and the plan was to issue $100 allotments on a first-come, first-served basis. 111

According to Jodie McCarty, chief executive officer for the Alaska District Engineers Federal Credit Union, multiple team members contributed to the fund. However, apparently in keeping with the self-reliant attitude of many Alaskans, no grants were requested or issued. As a result, the money was returned to its original owners. With the peace of mind that the workforce was securely out of harm’s way, the organization’s focus shifted to response and recovery activities. Soon after the incident, the crisis management team assembled and the Emergency Operations Center activated inside the district headquarters. In addition, officials conducted hasty inspections of both the agency’s facilities and its projects currently under construction. They identified minimal damage at each site. “The headquarters building was built in the 1940s, but it remains an impenetrable fortress,” said William Egeberg, facilities manager for the district’s Logistics Office. “Other than a few cracks in the walls, all of our facilities held up well and are still structurally sound.” A tour of offices and workspaces revealed items knocked off shelves and scattered about as well as a sprinkling of white powder on desktops from rattled ceiling tiles. “It took some additional housekeeping to clean up the mess, but there was nothing major to contend with,” Egeberg said. “Overall, we came away in good shape. It could have been worse.” On the day of the Cook Inlet earthquake, then-Alaska Gov. Bill Walker issued a disaster declaration. Within hours, President Donald Trump authorized federal emergency aid for disaster relief efforts in the Municipality of Anchorage, Matanuska-Susitna Borough, and Kenai Peninsula Borough. Unlike the widespread loss of life and devastation caused by the Good Friday earthquake and follow-on tsunamis, no fatalities or major injuries resulted from this latest seismic event in the region. Despite an epicenter near the state’s most populated area (hosting about 400,000 people), destruction from the Cook Inlet shock waves was mostly limited to fractured infrastructure that included buildings, roads, and bridges. From day one, the district’s Emergency Operations Center coordinated support for response and recovery missions in the affected area. For two months, it assisted federal, state, and installation partners with post-earthquake actions in Anchorage, Matanuska-Susitna Valley, and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. Greg Schmidt, deputy chief of the district’s Engineering, Construction, and Operations Division, served as the organization’s liaison assigned to the Alaska State Emergency Operations Center in Anchorage. In this role, he monitored activities and collaborated with other agency representatives by providing recommendations and expediting requests for district services. For example, the organization quickly arranged emergency overnight hydrographic surveys of both the Port of Alaska and its corresponding shipping channel in Anchorage on Nov. 30. The urgent need arose from concerns about possible shoaling that could block access. By the next morning, the collected data was available to ensure the safe passage of vessels in the vicinity. “It was extremely important to identify potential navigation hazards to keep vessel traffic and port operations running smoothly in the hours after the earthquake,” said Julie Anderson, chief of the district’s Operations Branch.

Meanwhile, at the request of the Air Force’s 673rd Civil Engineer Squadron, the organization assigned a structural assessment team to assist with the inspection of critical facilities for earthquake damage at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. Augmentees from USACE’s Honolulu District and 71st Forward Engineer Support Team-Advance at the Baltimore District participated in the effort as well. “We needed to make sure the structures were still safe to occupy and use,” said Brian Trzaska, team leader and chief of the Design Branch for the Engineering, Construction, and Operations Division. Armed with the Applied Technology Council’s post-earthquake safety evaluation checklist, the group split into two-person teams to examine on-base facilities for structural hazards. Following each assessment, members posted color-coded placards with the status determination for each building. Categories included green (safe to occupy), yellow (restricted use because of damage), and red (unsafe to occupy because of serious damage). Representatives investigated 443 facilities between Dec. 4 and Jan. 29. None of the USACEinspected structures received a red rating. “We identified some damage – both cosmetic and minor structural,” Trzaska said. “In turn, we provided the inspection reports to the Air Force for review and evaluation.” He credits sound engineering and construction practices for the minimal impacts to buildings on the installation. “It’s a testament to how well built the facilities are,” Trzaska said. “They were designed and constructed to withstand seismic activity in an arctic environment – not an easy task. But after being put to the test, they came away relatively unscathed. It validates the expertise of our government engineers and capabilities of our industry partners.” According to Valerie Palmer, chief of the district’s Military Project Management Branch, officials for the 673rd Civil Engineer Squadron followed up, seeking the agency’s help to repair and reinforce key facilities that sustained damage during the earthquake. The organization awarded contracts for three earthquake repair projects in fiscal year 2019 and has seven in development for fiscal year 2020. “It’s a positive reflection of the strong partnership we have with the Air Force,” she said. In March, the district assembled a team of 15 rehired annuitants to assist the Federal Emergency Management Agency with conducting inspections of private dwellings and public facilities that may be eligible for federal disaster assistance. The mission endded in September. The Alaska District officially completed the majority of its response and recovery missions for the Cook Inlet earthquake on Feb. 1. The team gained valuable, real-world experience during this period. In particular, the incident tested the abilities of the organization’s senior leaders and staff to quickly collect information, assess the situation, and make critical decisions during the initial minutes and hours after the seismic activity occurred. “Our training prepared us for a worst-case scenario, but impacts to the ‘Anchorage bowl’ were not as bad as expected,” Deaton said. “The big takeaway is to continue to fine tune our plan and exercise the team annually to maintain awareness and understanding.” Building on its successful actions in the wake of the Cook Inlet earthquake, the Alaska District remains vigilant in providing response and recovery assistance for any natural or man-made disaster within the Pacific Region. n 113




Col. Lee Woo Sig (left), MURO Program Management Team chief, and Col. Garrett Cottrell, FED deputy commanding officer-transformation, sign the Acceptance of Release Memorandum of the Camp Humphreys Golf Course, Oct. 29, 2018.

BY ANT WAUN J. PARRISH, Far East District


or more than 10 years, one of the Department of Defense’s (DOD) largest construction projects has been underway, and through a shared partnership between the United States and Republic of Korea (ROK), this process been able to succeed. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Far East District (FED) is overseeing the design, construction, and execution of a multiyear, massive relocation effort currently underway in the (ROK). The move, part of the Yongsan Relocation Plan (YRP), relocates most U.S. forces and Headquarters United Nations Command activities from the Seoul metropolitan area to areas south, most notably to U.S. Army Garrison (USAG) Humphreys. USAG Humphreys has grown exponentially over the past 10 years due to projects led by the Far East District. “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Far East District celebrated its 62th anniversary on the peninsula this year, and we remain committed as ever to delivering engineering solutions in the Republic of Korea to further strengthen our alliance,” said Col. Teresa Schlosser, FED commander. “We have executed thousands of projects for U.S. Forces Korea, as well as host-nation projects. None of this could have been done without the steadfast work of the FED team, half of which are Korean national citizens. Our team works closely with the ROK Ministry of Defense and other partners in South Korea ensuring a strong


relationship as we continue to go together and build strong here in the ROK.” Throughout this massive project, USACE FED and the Ministry of National Defense U.S. Forces Korea Relocation Office (MURO) have developed and sustained a strong partnership in an effort to see overall success and longevity in the interests of the United States and ROK on the Korean peninsula. “The bottom line is that it’s critical to be able to develop that personal relationship with my counterpart,” said Deputy Commanding OfficerTransformation Col. Garrett Cottrell, USACE FED. “It’s only through that cooperation that we can try to find a common ground to achieve the desired end state.” Cottrell, along with Col. Lee Woo-Sig, chief of MURO’s Program Management Team, are currently leading the teams that are in charge of this massive project. Improving quality of life and mission readiness of both militaries is their focus. “It’s a key task and an underlying factor in the success, to be able to bring on the new facilities to meet and improve the standard of living for the Soldiers and their families,” said Cottrell. Soldiers often have several missions and tasks to focus on at once, and the clarity of knowing their family is taken care of helps to keep the Soldier’s mind at ease.


Cottrell stated that the critical mission here is to defend the Republic of Korea. He said that it’s important to maintain a minimum standard for the Soldiers and their families, so they can focus on the required mission, which is to be ready to fight tonight and defend the Republic of Korea if needed. Ensuring mission success hasn’t come easy, as the teams have both faced challenges throughout the development of projects. According to Cottrell, three factors go into program delivery: quality, cost, and time. Cottrell said quite often it comes down to time – getting the projects finished sooner rather than later. Also, he stated that maintaining a standard of quality is key. “We have to work closely with our ROK counterparts, so they can influence the contractor to achieve the completion at a planned time frame and at a certain minimum quality standard,” said Cottrell. “They’re not unique, but those two items are common throughout the delivery system.” Cottrell and Lee are often pictured together, shaking hands and signing a form known as the acceptance release letter (ARL) during ceremonies to mark the completion of a project and acceptance from the ROK government to the U.S. government. Cottrell explained that, without all the team members, they would not be able to meet the mission, which is critical for developing facilities for the Soldiers and their families. Many elements have relocated to Camp Humphreys as a part of the YRP program, and there are only a few key elements still located in Seoul. Cottrell has his sights set on a group of projects known as “5+1.” The group of projects include the medical facility, communications center, expanded airfield parking, U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) operations center, phase III facility, and the USFK commanding general housing. He stated that the hospital completion is critical to maintain the individual readiness of Soldiers and their families. “We are close to achieving construction completion, but we still have some time to work with the medical command so they can do fit out and get all the certifications required for the operation of the hospital,” said Cottrell. “That’s my target right now. I think we are on the right glide path to be able to complete that construction and be able to take care of the individual Soldiers and, as importantly, their families.” When Soldiers arrive in Korea with their families, they are in need of temporary accommodations until they secure residence either on or off post. Camp Humphreys lodging wasn’t sufficient enough to provide accommodations for the increase of incoming personnel, who were often directed to find temporary lodging off post. Recently, construction was completed for the expansion of U.S. Army Garrison-Humphreys (USAG-H) Lodge. The expansion adds an additional 80 guest rooms to the hotel. “Starting Jan. 2, 2018, the in-processing mission for Soldiers and families relocated to USAG-H,” said Jay Kim, a district engineer. “Since the relocation of the in-processing center to USAG-H, our occupancy has been at full capacity. Therefore, the Soldiers and families have no choice but to move off post, which affects the training and travel fund as well as the morale of incoming personnel.” Kim stated that the relationships built throughout this process were paramount in completing such an important element of YRP, adding

the relationship with the contractor was a crucial part to execute and complete the unique project. “Program Management Consortium [PMC] was assigned to manage the project’s application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques applied to project activities in order to meet the project requirements for both U.S. DCA [design construction agents] and ROK DCA,” said Kim. “PMC’s responsibility is to discuss and report to both DCAs, putting the project, plan into action and measuring progress and performance.” Kim said that MURO’s responsibility is to balance the budget approved for the project, including all necessary expenses needed to deliver it to completion. According to Kim, the next step in the process was for FED to establish a channel of communication with MURO, PMC, and the contractor to make a solid work execution platform to monitor all of the construction activities to improve construction quality. “With all of the stakeholders’ collaboration and effort, as its goals and objectives are accomplished, now we can say that the project is completed,” said Kim. Once Soldiers have completed their in processing, they need housing for themselves and their families. Oftentimes, Soldiers have access to only one vehicle while stationed in Korea, so ensuring that there is enough housing on base can help reduce their stress. To assist with the population increase, apartment towers have been completed and there are plans to build more. The initial set of towers, which is a set of three, was completed in 2012, and another set of towers was recently completed. Each tower includes 210 units of three- to five-bedroom units. “There has been and will continue to be significant population increase at USAG-Humphreys, and completion of additional family housing will provide the most comfortable on-post housing to Soldiers with family members,” said SeukHwan Son, FED corporate communications specialist. Son said that in order to provide quality housing, USACE FED provides general construction surveillance with leveraging the resources of the overall program manager responsible for quality assurance and partnering with the contractors to employ quality control to ensure that all construction meets the standard of the U.S. Army. Son stated that a positive productive working relationship is critical to make the mission successful. “YRP projects symbolize and epitomize the ROK-U.S. alliance,” said Son, “working together to provide better living for Soldiers, civilians, and family members, and defending the nation as brothers in arms.” Throughout his career, Cottrell has worked alongside international partners in countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Germany, and now Korea. He stated that throughout his time abroad, it takes commitment at all levels and working with the tools and within the constraints of the system to be able to achieve success. “Here in Korea, the partners are committed to the alliance and meeting the intent, which is to set the conditions to and protect the alliance,” said Cottrell. “They are great partners and dedicated professionals, and I can’t say enough about their focus to the mission.” Lee commented on the relationship between MURO and U.S. DCAs and how it contributes to the overall success for both partners. 115


“YRP shows and reflects how close we are in the ROK-U.S. relationship in this nation,” said Lee. “Support for the YRP program in essence is the entire support to Soldiers’ morale, welfare, and recreation, and makes sure Soldiers have a better quality of living while they are here in Korea.” As previously stated, Lee and Cottrell work closely together to strengthen the partnership. Lee shared his feelings for his colleague and the work they’ve been able to accomplish thus far. “Col. Cottrell is an engineer, and he is putting his best efficiencies on this project, as am I, in order to ensure that the well-being of U.S. Soldiers is being met,” said Lee. “As much as he cares for U.S. Soldiers, he cares for our nation as well.” Kapchi Kapchi Da is a Korean phrase that translates to “let’s go together.” This phrase guides all operations on the peninsula, and is often used as a motivational chant among service members within the U.S.-ROK partnership. Along with this phrase, “ready to fight tonight” is often heard as there are service members always on guard and ready to defend the nation. Lee stated that building facilities to enhance the preparedness of Soldiers makes for a better fighting force. “We understand that in order to be ready to fight tonight, all the Soldiers must be prepared and get ready in the best possible safe and

wellness position to execute their mission,” said Lee. “I understand that this takes all of our leadership, and both U.S. and ROK’s intent [is] to make sure U.S. Soldiers and ROK soldiers are in the best posture.” Lee said that when it comes to the alliance, it means the two nations working together in concert, but at the same time, there are many separate entities. “As the DCA for MURO, I’d like to say that we are working together as partners to ensure we have a successful future.” According to Cottrell, the program is unique, as it is the largest construction project in DOD history, and it’s only made possible through cooperation and commitment. “It’s only through the common interest and common goals that we have been able to achieve what we have to date,” said Cottrell. “We are almost complete, but we still have some challenges, but through the cooperation, we can complete the critical projects and move on to new opportunities.” Construction continues all in an effort to complete the YRP. As Soldiers, civilians, and family members continue to relocate to Camp Humphreys, many are greeted with new living, working, and entertainment facilities that will continue to improve their quality of life. n




he proposed $345 million congressionally authorized Ala Wai Flood Risk Management project is the largest civil works project in the history of the Honolulu District. The project will take approximately five years to design and construct. A high risk of flooding exists within the Ala Wai watershed due to aging and undersized flood conveyance infrastructure. Based on the peak flows computed for the flood risk feasibility study, it is estimated the Ala Wai Canal has the capacity to contain about a 20 percent annual chance exceedance (ACE) flood before overtopping the banks. The risk of flooding is exacerbated by the flashy nature of the streams in the watershed, with heavy rains flowing downstream extremely quickly due to steep topography and relatively short stream systems. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) estimates a major flood in the watershed could damage 3,000 structures and cost more than $1.14 billion. The Ala Wai Canal Flood Risk Management Project completed the feasibility stage in December 2017 when the USACE chief of engineers submitted his report to Congress. The Record of Decision for the Environmental Impact Statement was signed by the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works in September

Honolulu District’s Ala Wai Flood Risk Management Project Manager Jeff Herzog explains the Ala Wai watershed drainage complexities to Mary Frances Repko (center), staff director, Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, and other congressional staff delegates at the east end of the Ala Wai Canal.

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2018 and was transmitted to the state of Hawaii for adoption. The project was funded for construction by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 under the Long-term Disaster Recovery Investment Program with an authorized cost of $345,076,000. The program allows for single-phase design and construction, as well as a deferred payment option to expedite funding and execution of projects. The Honolulu District is negotiating project partnership with the state of Hawaii and the city and county of Honolulu. The team is currently in the early stages of exploration and survey to refine data gathered during the feasibility phase and develop the feasibility designs into full designs. Currently, the state of Hawaii has pledged the $125 million nonfederal cost share for the project, once the city and county of Honolulu sign the project partnership agreement (anticipated in late 2019). To maintain control of a project of this magnitude, USACE has systems of checks and balances in place that include a threetiered governance structure, including not only the local Corps of Engineers, but nonfederal partner(s), contractors, USACE enterprise, and national-level leadership. There are regularly 118

Project Manager Jeff Herzog (second from right) explains some of the natural and cultural sensitivities for the proposed retention basin in the Waiakeakua Stream area to state, city, and county of Honolulu officials and USACE enterprise personnel from the Seattle and New Orleans districts, as part of the three-day Ala Wai Watershed Flood Mitigation Design Charrette.

scheduled meetings and reviews at several levels to ensure that the project remains on schedule, within scope, and on budget. After construction is complete, the project will be entered into a Federal Rehabilitation and Inspection Program, commonly referred to as PL 84-99. The Ala Wai watershed encompasses 19 square miles and extends from the ridge of the Ko’olau Mountains to the near-shore waters of M mala Bay. It includes Makiki, M noa, and P lolo streams, which flow to the Ala Wai Canal, a 2-mile-long, man-made waterway constructed during the 1920s to drain extensive coastal wetlands. This construction and subsequent draining allowed the development of the Waikiki District. n




BY ANTHONY MAYNE, Japan Engineer District


he Japan Engineer District (JED) celebrated Engineer Week in a unique way. This year, along with U.S. Forces Japan and the Japanese Ministry of Defense, the district hosted the Bilateral Senior Engineer Conference (BSEC) Feb. 20-22 at the New Sanno Hotel in Tokyo, Japan. “This conference has a long histor y in Japan, and this is the first time it has been held since 2012,” said Col. Thomas Verell Jr., JED commander. “The BSEC brought together engineers and senior leaders from across the Pacific region, the continental U.S., and our Japanese alliance par tners. This year marked the 20th conference and the first time ever as a bilateral event.” U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Deputy Commanding General Maj. Gen. Michael Wehr opened the conference with remarks of optimism and a challenge for all the attendees. “This is the start of a process that could lead to meaningful changes in facility construction in Japan,” said Wehr. “I encourage you to strengthen relationships with your peers, build new relationships with partners, and work together to develop a common understanding of the policies and issues impacting the execution of your construction programs.” The theme of the BSEC was “The Alliance Approach to Facilities Construction in Japan.” It lasted for three days with multiple strategic topics discussed. “Declining construction capacity has created intense competition in the Japanese construction market,” said Verell. “This competition requires new approaches to alliance programs management and execution. The Alliance Programmatic View concept will bilaterally strive to find ways to entice more Japanese contractors to bid

Engineers and leaders from across Japan, the Indo-Pacific Region, and Washington, D.C., attend the 20th Bilateral Senior Engineer Conference hosted by USACE’s Japan Engineer District, U.S. Forces Japan, and the Japanese Ministry of Defense Feb. 20-22, 2019, at the New Sanno Hotel, in Tokyo, Japan.

on U.S. projects by reducing the differences between host-nationand U.S.-funded construction.” The rest of the conference was spent in breakout sessions focusing on the specific challenges and actions to address the issues identified in the panel discussions and the way forward. The final day of the BSEC culminated with each of the breakout session facilitators briefing the senior leaders and attendees on the strategies, actions, and timeline for improving construction programs throughout Japan. “The discussions concerning Japanese equivalent alternatives and contracting options to enhance ‘biddability’ were very encouraging,” said Mark C. Jones, JED Engineering Division chief. “The action plans that were developed should yield benefits in both the short term and long term.” The products developed at the conference were presented to senior strategic leaders during bilateral engagements in Washington, D.C., and Hawaii (the presentations took place in March and June, respectively). “The path forward developed by you and your peers will be briefed to senior leaders in Washington, D.C., during the first week of March,” said Wehr at the February conference. “I look forward to seeing our MOD and JED stakeholders as they brief your recommendations and strategies to senior executives and decision-makers at USACE Headquarters and the Pentagon.” n 119

TRANSATLANTIC DIVISION TRANSATLANTIC DIVISION P.O. Box 2250 Winchester, VA 22604-1450 dll-cetad-pa@usace.army.mil (540) 665-3661 www.tad.usace.army.mil www.facebook.com/USACETransatlanticDivision MIDDLE EAST DISTRICT P.O. Box 2250 Winchester, VA 22604-1450 dll-cetam-pao@usace.army.mil (540) 665-4085 www.tam.usace.army.mil www.facebook.com/usacemed/


AFGHANISTAN DISTRICT HQ-USACE-TAA (BAGRAM) APO AE 09354-1053 (540) 542-1508 dll-cetaa-pao@usace.army.mil www.tad.usace.army.mil/About/TransatlanticAfghanistanDistrict/ www.facebook.com/USACEAfghanDistrict/ twitter.com/USACEinAfg



ith projects totaling almost $6 billion, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Transatlantic Division (TAD) directly supports the warfighter on a daily basis by providing design, construction, and related engineering services in direct support to U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) and other activities within the CENTCOM area of responsibility to establish the conditions for regional security and stability; and enables the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) global construction program through centralized planning and programming on behalf of the USACE Enterprise. TAD carries out its mission in a volatile operational area populated by more than 550 million people. It spans more than 4 million square miles and stretches across the intersection of three continents: northeast Africa, the Middle East, and all the way to Central and South Asia. TAD’s area of operations (AO) is one of the least secure and unstable


places in the world; however, the work being carried out helps ensure the security and stability of the entire region. TAD provides services to Department of Defense (DOD) forces and other U.S. government agencies with missions within the AO. The division also manages construction projects for allied-nation mission partners under DOD’s Foreign Military Sales program and constructs myriad governmental facilities in Afghanistan to promote stability. “When DOD and allied-nation mission partners in the CENTCOM AO partner with us, they are not only getting our entire team of professionally licensed engineers, architects, program managers, and support personnel, they are getting the entire depth and breadth of USACE enterprise capabilities,” said TAD Commander Col. Christopher G. Beck. “We have the distinct role of having a direct impact on the warfighters downrange every day. Success for TAD is closing the gap between



anticipating our customers’ needs and fulfilling their needs with the right materials in the right places, at the right times,” Beck said.

DISTRICTS AND TASK FORCES Reliable civil and military infrastructure strengthens partners, enhances stability, and reduces the dependence on U.S. DOD forces to solve regional security challenges. Helping to ensure that stability in Afghanistan is the Transatlantic Afghanistan District (TAA). TAA is a contingency district that has existed since 2004. It supports operations Resolute Support and Freedom’s Sentinel by accomplishing construction for U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan, and for DOD and the Department of State. Projects include Afghan Air Force modernization, Afghan Special Security Forces development, support to the Afghan National Army and Police, the Women’s Participation Program, and the newly christened infrastructure for the Northern and Southern Electrical Power Systems. While the Afghanistan District operates in a singular country, the Transatlantic Middle East District (TAM) is currently executing $5.4 billion worth of military construction and Foreign Military Sales projects

Nestled in Winchester, Virginia, the Transatlantic Division directly supports the warfighter on a daily basis by providing design, construction, and related engineering services to U.S. Central Command, U.S. Special Operations Command, and other federal and partner agencies in a mission space that spans more than 4 million square miles.

in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan, Oman, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Iraq. Additionally, the district is home to several specialized centers: the Aircraft Hangar Fire Protection Center of Expertise, the Center of Standardization for Nonpermanent Facilities, and the USACE Contingency Deployment Center. The USACE-led, three-year effort to improve Mosul Dam’s stability, rehabilitate the dam’s operational infrastructure, equip the Iraqi Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR) team with modern equipment and technology, and strengthen the capabilities of the MoWR is complete. TAD’s Mosul Dam Task Force (MDTF) successfully completed its mission and departed the dam on July 4, 2019. The Mosul Dam project is an example of TAD leveraging its engineering and technical expertise to assist regional partners in solving their most critical infrastructure challenges. Mosul Dam is Iraq’s 121

most critical piece of water management and flood control infrastructure, enhancing its water security and enabling the country’s economic development. U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Matthew H. Tueller said the partnership among the governments of Iraq, Italy, and the United States was the backbone for the overall success of the Mosul Dam stabilization project. “The Mosul Dam will forever stand as an example of what can be accomplished working together with nations of [a] common cause to secure a nation that is independent, sovereign, and committed to improving the lives of all its people,” Tueller said. With the stand-down of the MDTF, TAD has one remaining task force: Task Force Essayons (TFE). The 11 military and 42 civilian members of TFE stationed at Taji Air Base, in Iraq, serve U.S. Army Central, Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force, and partner organizations in Iraq, Kuwait, and Syria in order to enable the degradation and defeat of ISIS and the building of partner capacity. TFE provides agile, responsive, and comprehensive services including project management, technical design, construction and service contract oversight, base camp master planning, geographic information system (GIS) mapping, environmental compliance, real estate, and operational services for deployed units. Its Project Management Branch currently tracks 83 Operations and Maintenance-Army-funded projects totaling $19.7 million, and 41 Counter-ISIS Train and Equip Fund (CTEF) projects totaling $25.1 million at various phases of development. “The ability of TFE’s civilian and military professionals to deliver a revolutionary program provides tremendous effects to OIR and other stakeholders,” said Col. James Riely, commander, Task Force Essayons. “Their contributions to the defeat-ISIS and build partner capacity missions are numerous, and their dedicated service highlights the value and responsiveness of USACE and the Transatlantic Division to contingency operations.” n 122




Top: The Blue Dome in Baghdad’s Green Zone is an example of a “troop labor” project that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars less than it could have, due to the innovation of the Transatlantic Division’s Task Force Essayons (TFE). TFE personnel (pictured) provide agile, responsive, and comprehensive services including project management, technical design, construction and service contract oversight, base camp master planning, geographic information system mapping, environmental compliance, real estate, and operational services for deployed units. Above: In partnership with Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan, the Transatlantic Afghanistan District (TAA) installs post insulators at the Shaheen substation. TAA worked with a local Afghan contractor to construct electrical power infrastructure in Balkh Province, Afghanistan. The project scope involved the expansion of the Naiababad Substation, construction of the Shaheen Substation, and construction of a 220 kilovolt transmission line between the two substations. The project will enable the Afghan National Army to utilize electricity from the national power grid instead of using diesel-generated power on a full-time basis.





he Transatlantic Afghanistan District (TAA) works in collaboration with partner coalition teams and stakeholders to support the operational mission in Afghanistan. One stakeholder – Combined Security Transition CommandAfghanistan (CSTC-A) – partnered with TAA as the construction agent to help improve security issues in Afghanistan’s capital and largest city, Kabul. The Kabul City Gates Improvements Project changed how the district does business. It was specifically structured for rapid fielding of city gates’ security enhancements. The project was phased and designed to produce immediate operational effects desired by the stakeholders, which will support improved security measures during the Afghan national elections. Keith Maxwell, Kabul resident engineer, said force protection elements either commercially available within country or easily pre-fabricated, were extracted from the larger effort. In close cooperation with the Kabul Security Force and CSTC-A, Patrick Grey, from the design staff at the Kandahar Project Delivery Platform, finalized the project scope within two weeks. He ensured there was no contractor design effort required beyond shop drawings to minimize the execution period. The contractor, Assist Consultants Inc. (ACI), completed the fabrication work on the enhanced force protection guard towers, female search facilities, guard shacks, fighting positions, Alaska barriers, Jersey barriers, and drop-arm barriers at centralized sites within Kabul. Traffic disruption along these routes was significantly reduced throughout the duration of the project because of the centralized fabrication efforts. “Not often do we complete a project in six months from concept to completion, while accepting risk and working through the challenges to influence force protection in the theater,” said Lt. Col. Michael Harding, TAA deputy commander. The entire scope of the project was to assess, design, procure, execute, and manage Kabul City Gates enhancement for the Afghan National Army (ANA). This completed phase will now increase the security posture, improve city security, increase force protection, and improve traffic flow throughout the city, with

Enhanced force protection at the guard towers was one of the improvements made during the Kabul City Gates Improvements Project Phase 1.

each gate located at various locations in and around the city of Kabul. Although security issues in the city prevented U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) personnel from being able to personally inspect the gates during construction, USACE’s contracted Local National Quality Assurance members were able to oversee and inspect the work at all of the sites on a daily basis throughout the construction period. “With only a 90-day execution period, [ACI] completed a week ahead of schedule,” said Maxwell. “Within that period, they absorbed three weeks lost to an award protest, a week to the Loya Jirga held in the city, and completed the majority of their field installation during Ramadan – a period of historically low productivity due to the shortened work days.” The entire project required close coordination, a cooperative attitude, and concerted effort by both the USACE and ACI teams to keep the project on schedule. Given the dynamic operational environment, TAA provided essential force protection efforts in support of the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, delivering at the speed of relevance. n 123






he Transatlantic Division (TAD) is the primary provider of engineering services to U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), along with numerous other U.S. and foreign customers throughout CENTCOM’s operating area, so it made sense for TAD to assist CENTCOM with a major rewrite of its “Sand Book” – the manual outlining construction guidelines in the Middle East. “As an engineering organization, our mandate is to build safe facilities for our Soldiers, partners, and allies,” said Gregory Taylor, chief, Engineering and Technical Division. “In delivering safe facilities, we have to determine what building codes and whose rules we follow within this area of operations. U.S. codes and host-nation building codes often conflict. We must also factor in where the construction will take place.” It’s not a one-size-fits-all adaptation. Take, for instance, electrical code. “When we are building a facility for use by a U.S. customer, there is a tendency to assume we should automatically apply the U.S. standard of 120 volts and 60 hertz,” Taylor said. “If the facility is being built in the Middle East, where most countries use 220 volts and 50 hertz, the facility should be built to that standard.” Engineers must weigh many factors when considering a new or modified facility, according to Taylor. “What’s the capability of the local labor force? What materials are needed? What’s available locally? Who will use the facility? How long will the facility be used? If we are performing an engineering assessment on an existing facility and it’s not built to code, what mitigation actions can be taken?” The engineering standards are rolled up into the “Sand Book” and in a document called the “Contingency Unified Facilities (UFC) Criteria Design Standards and Processes.” Together these documents capture engineering experiences from the past 30 years and are aimed at removing confusion in design and construction, while promoting life, health, and safety for the occupants. “The ‘Sand Book’ mandates the CENTCOM policy and standards for facility design, planning, and development of permanent and non-permanent facilities, security, sustainment, survivability, and safety,” said Daniel Lyons, TAD lead architect. “It defines what regulations and codes to apply for design and construction, allowing designers and responsible commands to better understand

With his 27 years of experience in private-sector architectural and engineering firms, and eight years with USACE, Daniel Lyons was selected to lead the “Sand Book” effort for USACE. The “Sand Book” – the manual outlining construction guidelines in the Middle East – mandates the U.S. Central Command policy and standards for facility design, planning, and development of permanent and non-permanent facilities, security, sustainment, survivability, and safety.

planning, real estate acquisition, construction types, project durations, and general standards for each mission in the CENTCOM area of operations.” The Department of Defense initiated the UFC program to unify all technical criteria and standards pertaining to planning, design, construction, and operations and maintenance of real property facilities. “The program streamlines the military criteria system by eliminating duplication of information, increasing reliance on private sector [worldwide] standards, and creating a more efficient criteria development and publishing process,” Lyons said. “The resulting UFC products are technical publications and guide specifications. Contingency UFCs provide architects, engineers, planners, and construction surveillance personnel with the requirements for the life safety and habitability aspects for facilities construction for U.S. or host-nation use associated with military operations.” n

BY JULIE SHOEMAKER, Middle East District


he Transatlantic Division’s Middle East District has been home to the Aircraft Hangar Fire Protection Technical Center of Expertise (TCX) since 1989, when the district, then known as the Middle East/Africa Projects Office or MEAPO, responded to an inquiry for assistance troubleshooting a fire protection system in Shemya Island, Alaska, in the Aleutian Islands. With only two fire protection engineers on staff, MEAPO helped resolve the issue. In light of the impressive performance, in-depth report, and thoughtful recommendations, the Air Force requested the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) establish a TCX at MEAPO. Today, the TCX provides fire protection expertise assistance wherever it’s needed around the globe, through design and construction of fire protection systems, and acceptance tests for aircraft hangars. The center now operates with four full-time fire protection engineers and provides services to USACE, other military organizations, and the Department of Homeland Security. According to Tom Stephenson, chief of the district’s Building Systems Design Branch, the TCX responds whenever and wherever they are needed. Most recently, one of the fire protection engineers was in Honduras to investigate an existing Army National Guard hangar with a malfunctioning foam extinguishing system. Before that, the TCX supported the Pacific Ocean Division’s Alaska District with a Foreign Military Sales case in Hindan, outside of Delhi, India. “We have done tests in Korea, Germany, and the Bahamas, from Maine to Hawaii,” said Stephenson. “In the last five years alone, we’ve tested 25 to 30 aircraft hangars, and inspected more than 30 for the Coast Guard just in the past two years. Currently, we’re in Norway testing hangars.” A major part of the TCX’s responsibilities includes ensuring all fire protection systems are installed and operating correctly and as designed. TCX members are required to witness preliminary and final acceptance testing for all devices, including smoke detectors, heat detectors, trouble systems, connections, alarms, reporting mechanisms, and more. Foam discharge systems are another vital area inspected. “A silhouette of the aircraft stored in a hangar will be outlined on the floor and must be covered in less than 1 minute,” said Stephenson. “In less than 4 minutes, non-hazardous and non-toxic foam must be at least 1 meter deep. The biggest hazard in an aircraft hangar is not that an aircraft will burst into flames, but that its fuel will. That’s why it’s important to get that foam down


USACE FIRE PROTECTION EXPERTISE USED WORLDWIDE Transatlantic Division’s Middle East District (TAM) fire protection engineer Dave Miller monitors a foam extinguishing test at an aircraft hangar at March Air Base, California. Miller is part of TAM’s Aircraft Hangar Fire Protection Technical Center of Expertise.

quickly, to cover the floor, to smother any potential flames. Ninetynine percent of fires start on the floor in an aircraft hangar.” TCX fire protection engineers are involved with contractor-executed testing, as well. If any device fails to meet the required standards, the contractor has to work on the systems and prepare for a second test. “There are more than 150 years of fire protection experience among the fire protection engineers at the district, each with his own talents, strengths, and abilities,” said Stephenson. The district’s four fire protection engineers stay busy and still keep a bag packed for all the testing trips and potential life-saving services worldwide. n



hen a team from the Transatlantic Middle East District (TAM) was recognized as the “USACE Project Delivery Team (PDT) of the Year for Merit” in 2018, the award was based on the complex design and acquisition work involved in an approximately $1 billion project. And when you win an 125



award for a project before the first bit of dirt has touched a shovel, the bar is set high. The project, known comprehensively as Shield 5, is one of the largest and most complex ever undertaken by the district in its almost 70-year history in the Middle East and covers the construction of several missile defense sites along with numerous support facilities spread across a wide geographic area. The Shield 5 Program, part of the U.S. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program, is massive: Build more than 252 buildings and other structures, including military system structures, administrative buildings, barracks, officers’ clubs, fire stations, dining facilities, operations and communication buildings, storage and testing buildings, and almost 50 substations in support of the Qatari Emiri Air Defense Forces (QEADF). “One of the most challenging aspects of this project is that these sites were completely undeveloped,” said Brad Carter, the program manager forward at the Qatar Project Management Office since the contracts were awarded. “Our district is used to building large-scale projects, but it’s usually on sites where there’s already support infrastructure in place, such as a military base. The Shield 5 sites were literally desert before we started, so in addition to developing the project sites themselves, we are working very closely with the nation of Qatar to ensure infrastructure such as power and other utilities are in place.” An average of $982,000 worth of construction has been placed daily for the past 18 months, including the construction of a 394-foot-tall communication tower and a 150,600-squarefoot, three-story QEADF headquarters building complete with 500-plus-seat training auditorium, and three architectural roof domes based upon Islamic architecture that took two tower cranes to construct. 126

Side view of the 150,600-square-foot, three-story headquarters building for the Qatari Emiri Air Defense Force. A circle drive provides access on each side of the main entrance. The blue dome atop the building is based upon Islamic architecture and took two tower cranes to construct. It is the largest of three domes constructed during the Shield 5 Program build.

At times, the construction sites had up to 10,000 workers on any given day, and due to the heat, double-team shifts have been constant in order to avoid the heat of the day. All of this effort has been accomplished while maintaining a stellar safety record. The program has accumulated more than 25,500,000 man-hours of labor since November 2017 with only one reportable accident. “This construction program is the largest FMS military construction case of its kind in Qatar and is a flagship program of how the United States and Qatar are working very close together to achieve common goals,” Carter said. “Qatar is currently under construction as a country, with an estimated $200 billion of ongoing construction in preparation for the 2022 FIFA World Cup to be held in Qatar.” The Shield 5 Program is just one example of how the Middle East District’s work with FMS construction projects is critical to enhancing foreign policy and national security, and improving the security of Qatar – an important U.S. ally in the Arabian Gulf. When completed and made operational, the Patriot air defense missile systems to be located at these sites will continue to improve Qatar and U.S relations, strengthen the Qatar homeland defense, enhance deterrence of regional threats in the Middle East, and enhance Qatar’s interoperability with the United States and its allies. “I am so proud of the teams in Qatar and in Winchester, Virginia, who have been involved in making this program successful,” Carter said. “For more than four years, the team has maintained a daily focus on what our critical goals and commitments are to the QEADF.” n





he coalition members assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) have a new Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) exchange at Erbil Air Base, Iraq, thanks to the hard work and dedication of the Transatlantic Division’s Task Force Essayons (TEF), headquartered at Camp Taji in Iraq. The new exchange, which officially opened July 4, 2019, serves a significant base population of U.S. and coalition Soldiers and civilians. The relocation from their current AAFES storefront into the new facilities was the culmination of a lot of hard work and partnership between Task Force Essayons and AAFES. The project was a design-build contract put together by TFE. It was awarded to local Erbil contractor CHROO Group and designed and constructed in accordance with a combination of U.S., British, and international standard codes to ensure compliance and safety measures were met. CHROO completed design in December 2018 and building construction started in January 2019. According to TFE project engineer Doug Newton, building construction started in the middle of a rainy season that saw historic amounts of rainfall at Erbil. “Despite the extreme weather, construction was completed in less than five months with superb quality, within budget, with zero modifications, and with great attention to detail, which is something rarely done in an austere environment,” said Newton. “From contract award through construction completion, the contractor worked closely with USACE [U.S. Army Corps of Engineers] quality assurance/contracting officer representatives and provided outstanding quality control management and oversight.” AAFES Regional Manager Brian Smith said the project meets all of the designated requirements. “Our old AAFES Exchange, which was in place for three years, was an expeditionary store consisting of two semi-trailers that gave us approximately 650 square feet of retail space,” said Smith. “It had severe limitations with respect to stocking and storage, administrative space, emergency egress, and adequate retail space to stock critical commodities. “Our new AAFES Exchange Store has more than 2,100 square feet of retail floor space to provide necessary commodities and popular merchandise – what we refer to as ‘a taste of home’ for deployed Soldiers and civilians,” said Smith.

AAFES opens its new exchange at Erbil Air Base on July 4, 2019. Construction of the facility was completed in less than five months and was within budget with zero modifications and with great attention to detail – including the “cut out” of the word EXCHANGE across the front of the building, which was a design flair added by the contractor for aesthetics.

In addition, the new store contains a financial service area, almost 500 square feet of warehouse space and stocking area, administrative offices, a dedicated communications closet, and covered exterior entrance and break areas. As the CJTF-OIR effort and mission continues to evolve, the new exchange should serve as an exceptional facility for providing goods and services to deployed troops and civilians. From a contracting, design, and construction perspective, the project should serve as a model for superb construction oversight, according to Newton. n 1 27




he U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has an exceptional research and development capability within its laboratories and centers. The Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) is USACE’s premier research organization, developing innovative solutions and products that help solve the nation’s toughest engineering and environmental challenges in support of USACE’s key mission areas. ERDC is headquartered in Vicksburg, Mississippi, along with four of its seven laboratories: the Coastal and Hydraulics, Geotechnical and Structures, Environmental, and Information Technology laboratories. Additional laboratories include the Construction Engineering Research Laboratory in Champaign, Illinois; Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory in Hanover, New Hampshire; and the Geospatial Research Laboratory in Alexandria, Virginia. ERDC uses state-of-the-art facilities, coupled with some of the world’s top engineers and scientists, to conduct research in unique competency areas for the Department of Defense (DOD). These core competency areas include: • Civil and military engineering • Blast and weapons effects on structures and geo-materials


• Battlespace terrain mapping and characterization • Cold regions science and engineering • Coastal, river, and environmental engineering • Military installations and infrastructure • Computational prototyping of military platforms ERDC leverages its work for DOD to solve challenges faced by the Army Corps. In addition to USACE and DOD, ERDC conducts research for other federal agencies, state and municipal authorities, and with U.S. industries through innovative work agreements. ERDC discovers, develops, and delivers new ways to make the world safer and better every day.

U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center 3909 Halls Ferry Rd. Vicksburg, MS 39180-6199 (601) 636-3111 ERDCinfo@usace.army.mil


U.S. Army dive team members pause for a photo during training on the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory’s Multifunctional Assessment Reconnaissance Vessel II in New Jersey in May 2019. With just two weeks of instruction, divers were able to assemble and pilot the MARV II, draw a diagram of a damaged pile-supported marine structure, and extract sonar and LIDAR data for a complete structural assessment.



ime is a major factor in any contingency operation, especially when it comes to securing ports in order to transport personnel, supplies, and equipment. When a pier or marine structure is damaged, it can cause catastrophic delays. In some cases, repairing these structures can be dangerous work for U.S. Army and U.S. Navy dive teams, as the surrounding environment may be hostile or extremely hazardous.

A team of researchers from the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory (CHL), led by principal investigator Thad Pratt and including co-principal investigator William Butler and research engineers Jonathan Marshall and David Nguyen, have developed and improved a prototype Multifunctional Assessment Reconnaissance Vessel that allows for remote survey of pile-supported marine structures. Operators can 129


The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory’s Multifunctional Assessment Reconnaissance Vessel II, or MARV II, allows for remote survey of pile-supported marine structures. The vessel is easily transportable and rapidly deployable and can operate in as little as 6 inches of water.

produce final data products within 12 hours of arriving on site, allowing structural engineers to deliver a repair plan within 24 hours. The U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) and Office of the Secretary of Defense-funded project has resulted in the schedule of five units to be delivered to Army dive detachments as part of the Instrument Set, Reconnaissance and Surveying (ENFIRE) program. “The one we have now is our prototype, and it is going to stay here with CHL,” said Marshall. “But we’re building five more units that are all going to go to the Army. Those units will go to the Army dive teams, and they can assist them in their regular work.” The MARV and MARV II can perform the same functions as most fullsize survey boats, with all of the same instrumentation and technology available to the user. The first MARV concept was a modified commercial off-the-shelf vessel that was successful in proving the idea could work, but needed improvement. After much evaluation and testing, it was determined a new platform was needed. CHL researchers found the design they were looking for at Marine Advanced Robotics and enlisted its help in reducing the size of the company’s current vessel that accommodated the needs of Army divers. “We found a design of a vessel we really liked and contacted the company, and got them to scale it down to a size that fit what we were doing,” said Marshall. “They normally make boats that are 16 feet and more, and we had them more or less cut that in half.” The MARV II has a redesigned platform that includes increased stability, upgraded sensors, and autonomous navigation, and is approximately 9 feet in length when assembled. The vessel is easily transportable and rapidly deployable, with components designed to be broken down and stowed in commercial air travel cases, allowing for a smaller footprint when stored. It also has the ability to be launched from land or lowered into the water and can operate in as little as 6 inches of water.

While the vessel operation software is a commercially licensed product, the data collection and organizing software was developed at CHL by research physical scientist Naveen Ganesh. Marshall said the hardest part was figuring out how to combine collected and organized data into a process that can be easily transferred to a structural engineer for assessment. “These guys are collecting a lot of information that normally a hydrographic surveyor collects and processes, and then takes a week or so to generate a final product,” said Marshall. The software program, called the Pier Diagram Tool, creates a 3-D diagram of the entire structure, including every pile and piece of damage, within hours. The structural engineer then points and clicks on the model to get a full representation of the structure, including videos, pictures, and screenshots of data. CHL researchers have been working with Army dive teams in New Jersey and Virginia to train members on the MARV II. With just two weeks of instruction, on average, divers are able to assemble and pilot the vessel, draw a diagram of the damaged structure, and extract sonar and LIDAR data from the watercraft and place it into the model for a complete assessment to hand over to the engineer. “We are actually training the divers every time we have an event,” said Marshall. “We’re training them to use the system. We start with taking everything out of cases and putting it all together. We give them step-by-step instructions. It’s been going pretty well, we’re getting a lot of feedback and improving it every time.” Although the MARV II is still in the prototype phase, it’s already building interest. CHL researchers recently participated in an exercise for the USTRANSCOM-funded, CHL-designed mini-robotic submersible dredge, with the MARV II performing the survey portion of the exercise. The Navy is also interested in using the vessel for port inspections. n 131



The Engineered Resilient Systems (ERS) program, headquartered at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center in Vicksburg, Mississippi, is answering that call. With high-performance computing as a main ingredient, the ERS program is developing concepts, techniques, and tools that offer a deeper look


o maintain military superiority, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) must have state-of-the-art weapon systems. But in today’s climate of shrinking budgets and uncertain conflicts, fielding adaptable weapons more quickly and inexpensively can be a challenge.

An AH-64 Apache helicopter with 1st Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, during a combined arms live-fire exercise in Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany, March 28, 2018. Selection for the Army’s newest Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft, or FARA, is underway and could replace about 50 percent of the Army’s aging Apache fleet.


into the design alternatives used by decision-makers to choose the next generation of weapon platforms. With the help of ERS, the alternatives are not only greater in number, but also more accurate and detailed, which allows for selections earlier in the acquisition process. In October 2017, the Army announced six modernization priorities – an initiative to update its forces and equipment with improved capabilities. One of those priority areas is Future Vertical Lift, which aims to increase reach, protection, lethality, agility, and mission flexibility to dominate in a contested and complex airspace. As part of that initiative, the Army is exploring designs for a new Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA). Earlier this year, the Army chose five vendors to develop plans for the future helicopter and issued mandatory design requirements and a list of other mandates. Researchers from ERDC’s Information Technology Laboratory who work with the ERS program in support of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center contributed to design optimization efforts for the FARA. They used advanced process automation and high-fidelity simulations to reduce the proposed performance time for simulations from weeks to days, a capability that will be used in the down-select process of the FARA. Collaboration across the services is nothing new for ERS, as the program began in 2011 as a priority steering committee before becoming one of 17 DOD Reliance 21 Communities of Interest. The communities work to encourage collaboration across multiple agencies working in the same technology focus areas. During the early days, ERS leadership contacted DOD stakeholders to arrange demonstrations of ERS-related techniques and tools, leading to early success for the program.

In 2013, ERS was tested when the Naval Sea Systems Command was considering a new amphibious transport dock warship, known as the LX(R). Traditional methods for such a task called for point-based design, which originates with one existing design and modifying one component at a time until all the new criteria are met, but ERS introduced the idea of set-based design. The concept produces a list of all possible designs up front, and then narrows and sorts it down based on feasibility. Similar previous studies examined between five and 20 potential designs, but the ERS approach allowed decision-makers to consider more than 22,000 designs in only three months. In another Navy project, ERS tools and techniques offered 3.6 million options based on 212 variables developed in less than a half-hour. Since the early days when ERS introduced set-based design into the world of military acquisitions, the program has grown significantly and also partnered with industry and academia. The initiative aims to mature its high-fidelity physics capabilities and create mission-level simulations that allow decision makers to complement physical testing and evaluation to predict system performance. And just like they were with the Army’s future attack helicopter, ERS researchers are committed to providing an integrated computational environment that supports high-fidelity physics and more detailed analytics earlier in the military acquisition process. As the global landscape of battle quickly changes, ERS tools, techniques, and personnel stand ready to assist decision-makers in strong resilient system selection to serve and protect the American warfighters. n



f a hurricane hits, can an installation’s buildings maintain their mission-critical functions? In the aftermath, how long will the facility’s hospital have access to potable water and electricity? These are the questions answered by the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s Rumanda Young, Ph.D., associate technical director of Environmental Engineering and Modeling, and customer manager with the Applied Research Planning Support Center (ARPSC) in Fort Worth, Texas. The ARPSC team is partnering with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) districts, the U.S. Army,

and the U.S. Air Force to develop installation energy and water plans. The plans build resilience into energy and water systems – into infrastructure and into the systems themselves – for mission continuance in the face of worst-case scenarios, such as floods or hurricanes. “The ARPSC is part of the ERDC Environmental Laboratory [EL] due to the technological and modeling aspects of our work,” Young said. “The Installation Energy and Water Plan [IEWP, July 26, 2018] mission is conducted mostly by a partnership between the ERDC Construction Engineering Research Laboratory and EL, but we draw research power from all seven of ERDC’s laboratories. 135


is sole sourced. But there is an efficiency piece as well for both “The Army IEWP is not sustainability for its own sake. The goal energy and water. Efficiency conservation measures are just as of the plan is to ensure operational readiness and mission-critimportant as developing redundancies. ical preparation. The Army has rolled up the seven energy and “Redundancies are back-up configurations that support water planning requirements into the one IEWP. electricity generators. Micro“The mandate stipulated gridding ensures energy secuin laws such as the Energy rity for mission-critical loads by Policy Act of 2005 and exechaving your own grid in place to utive orders, establish federsupport the installation. Solar, al requirements, and as we wind, hydroelectricity – these strive to meet them through can all help power a micro-grid the IEWP, we’re testing new for the entire installation. And processes or new technologies then there is installation-level to help installations meet the battery storage. requirements. We test the beta “We are also using stakeholdversion, then turn the informaer input to determine how we’re tion over to the districts and going to prioritize projects. For installations to pass on and example, a priority project might implement. be adding cogeneration, or the “Army Installation Management generation of electricity through Command has decided to create heat and power combined; next, IEWPs for seven installations, but we’ll ask: ‘What’s our return on they’ve only named six so far: Fort investment? How will this get Belvoir, Fort Detrick, Fort George funded?’ G. Meade, Fort Gordon, the U.S. “Once the tenant approves Army Garrison-Miami, and White the installation plan, they are Sands Missile Range. The top provided with a clear-cut roadIEWP priorities are efficiency and map to get there. The modelredundancy, and every tenant has ing tools utilized by ERDC to be on board with the plan.” researchers can simulate many Young said that when the different paths to achieving United States first started the endpoint, and these tools producing electricity, it was factor in considerations such done at a district level and was as what installations can afford called distributed generation. and achieve, and what is practi“In that capacity, each plant cable. The installation has to be only served a small commupart of the plan; since they have nity,” she said. “Over time, we to execute it, the plan must be built behemoth plants fired financially and environmentally by coal, natural gas, nuclear achievable. power – and everything became “We’re leveraging what we connected. learn across service lines. When “National defense came full The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s a federal mandate is issued, circle to district-level distributRumanda Young, Ph.D., associate technical director, Environmental each service branch has its own ed generation. We’re still on the Engineering and Modeling, and customer manager with the Applied Research Planning Support Center (ARPSC) in Fort Worth, Texas. The interpretation of the law or execnational grid, but we want our ARPSC team is developing installation energy and water plans for the utive order. The Army and the Air own reliability in the event a Army and installation energy plans for the Air Force, drawing on the Force have different interpretadisaster strikes.” research power of ERDC’s seven laboratories. tions of the plan: the Air Force Young said that it’s relatively has the Installation Energy Plan. new that water has been considWe’re all doing things a little ered on a plane equal to energy, differently, but we’ll learn from but water considerations preseach other to forge a really solid path forward.” ent more challenges. For more information, please contact Susan Wolters, USACE IEWP “We’re trying to come up with new ideas to recycle and reuse; program lead, at Susan.R.Wolters@usace.army.mil, or Rumanda we’re collecting rainwater, using greywater,” she said. “With water, Young, at Rumanda.K.Young@usace.army.mil. n we don’t have as many options as we do energy, as many times it 1 37

HUNTSVILLE CENTER Engineering solutions for USACE’s toughest challenges and the evolution of an adaptive organization BY CATHERINE CARROLL , U.S. Army Engineering and Suppor t Center, Huntsville


recently had a conversation with Albert “Chip” Marin III, who has been the programs director for the U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville, for two-and-a-half years, and asked him what seemed like a simple question: “What does Huntsville Center do?” The answer turns out to be rather complex and constantly evolving. Ask 20 people what Huntsville Center does and you may get 20 different answers. Huntsville Center is more often than not defined comparatively by what it doesn’t do. Because what it does is – everything else. The center is often defining its mission as it goes, innovating in order to get the job done when the job has never been done before. Simply put, Huntsville Center “Revolutionizes.” What does Huntsville Center do? Albert “Chip” Marin III: Huntsville Center is the backup for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ 43 districts and centers. The districts and centers all do new construction, and they do civil works. We do neither. We are the folks who come in behind what all the other districts do to sustain and maintain existing facility, utility, and infrastructure. So, if it’s already out there, already built, it now needs to be maintained. It will need to be upgraded. It will need to be repaired or renovated. Often, needs change and a facility needs to be repurposed or the codes have changed, like the national electric code or cybersecurity compliance, and the facility needs to be updated. Most of what we do is cutting-edge technology. And we are creating solutions for challenges that may not have existed before. That’s what we do. If I’m in a district, I’ve got one project that’s going to take five years, and maybe in a career I have four or five projects and that’s all I see. If I’m doing civil works projects, I might work on the same project for an entire 20- or 30-year career. That’s how long those projects take.


If you work in the Huntsville Center, you’re going to have 25 to 30 projects as a project manager, and they all last 18 months to two years at the most, and then you’re on to the next years’ worth of 25 to 30 new projects. So, it’s challenging. It’s something different each and every day. You don’t know what crisis is going to come in the door at any given moment. You have to be prepared and you can’t be afraid of change because change will occur each and every day, so you have to be flexible. You have to be knowledgeable of what we are doing and why we are doing it. Without the work we do, the warfighter could not do the work that they have to do. Without the work we do, there would be thousands and thousands of Americans affected by storms or floods that would not get help. A good example is Puerto Rico. A complete power loss on the island. People were without power for up to a year. And Huntsville Center was the only organization with existing contracts to respond quickly. We had contractors on the ground on day 10 starting to repair that power grid. So, it’s challenging, but it’s something new each and every day. It’s cutting-edge technology. That’s what makes Huntsville Center so great. And we couldn’t do any of that without our people. We have great people from all walks of life. Huntsville Center has a very diverse culture. We have engineers, technicians, lawyers, resource managers, and project and program managers. We have folks trained in installation support, public affairs, and internal review. It’s this whole grouping of diverse people and talents that come together and help solve these challenges. We can’t just solve a challenge technically. You have to figure out how you’re going to acquire the services that will actually solve that issue. We can come up with the technical solution, but someone has to implement it, and you have to have a contract that has to be legally sound. You need to consider the money, the resource management piece. So, it’s these project delivery teams that are absolutely


Field personnel perform digital geophysical transect surveying in Afghanistan, March 23, 2015, after a surface clearance had been completed.

essential to coming up with, first and foremost, a holistic, executable solution to whatever the challenge may be. But then we also have to be savvy enough to over watch the project and make sure it’s being done in compliance with standards. And then to be even savvier enough to figure out that sometimes there are no standards: We are doing something new that no one has done before. So not only are we doing the project, we have to write the standards as we go and then proliferate them across the Corps of Engineers and the Army and the DOD [Department of Defense] and the federal government. In the two-and-a-half years I’ve been here, I’m still learning about things we are doing. It’s just so much to wrap your head around. What Huntsville Center does – it’s huge. How has Huntsville Center’s mission evolved over the years? Huntsville Center is located in Huntsville, Alabama, for a reason. NASA is located here, as well as the Missile Defense Agency [MDA]. So, we began as their engineers, building the infrastructure they needed to execute their missions back in the ’60s. Still today, we are MDA’s central program manager. We coordinate and collaborate with MDA

and then coordinate with the Corps districts to execute that work. We do some of NASA’s facility maintenance and facility demolition, and we do all of their access and control entry work, but not as much of the technical engineering that we started with back in the ’60s. Over time, as that work ebbed and flowed depending on national command authority, Huntsville Center had to look for other things to do to pay its labor force. The literal direction given from headquarters was “go find other work.” So, the entrepreneurial spirit of Huntsville Center took over, and we went out and found 41 other programs of work. The center began to shift from NASA work to chemical demilitarization work. As the strategic arms limitation treaties took place between us and the Soviet Union, the reduction in nuclear weapons and chemical munitions was a big deal. In order to get rid of them, you had to build the facilities that would actually destroy those munitions. So, Huntsville Center was given the central program management to build those facilities so those chemical and nuclear munitions could be rendered safe and/or destroyed. And we are now the Chemical Demilitarization Center of Expertise for the Army, not just [for] the Corps of Engineers. 139


In the late ’80s/early ’90s, we began to pick up the unique, technically complex missions. The center became known by the Corps of Engineers and the Army as the test bed for new innovation for things like cybersecurity compliance. Nobody had ever done it before. We knew we had to do it, but no one knew how to do it. So that type of work was sent to us. We were the folks who had the technical expertise to figure out what to do and how to do it, and then we would share those lessons learned across the Corps. And then in the early 2000s, we started getting into technologies – electronic technologies, electronic security systems, utility monitoring, and control systems. Everything building automation. Today, we are big into automated building systems and their ability to operate alongside each other. Each system on its own is very innocuous, but when you put 20 or 30 systems in a building, it becomes difficult to integrate them. And they are often in conflict with one another. So having the technical prowess to include the IT folks, the communications folks, to figure out how to deconflict all these systems really allowed us to innovate how buildings function as a holistic unit. 140

Albert “Chip” Marin III, the programs director for the U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville, listens to project updates during a monthly Project Review Board, in Huntsville, Alabama, Dec. 12, 2018.

And then, also along the way, we picked up the Defense Logistics Agency Fuels worldwide mission to do recurring maintenance and minor repair on all of their capital fuels equipment globally – [a] huge mission because the Department of Defense can’t move if it doesn’t have fuel. So, all of these power projection platforms that launch people and equipment to the sounds of the guns wherever needed, we maintain those. We have also become the Corps of Engineers’ Medical Facilities Mandatory Center of Expertise and Standardization. We don’t do new construction. We do repair and renovation on medical facilities. And we own the technical experts who can look at a design for new construction and can tell you if it’s within code for medical facility requirements. This is a global endeavor. We help all DOD and Department of

Veterans Affairs medical facility design and review and assist on the quality assurance during the construction. By 2010, more than 400,000 tons of captured enemy munitions were destroyed and munitions work continued throughout the decade as forces drew down in Afghanistan and surged in Iraq. The center maintains a global mission footprint in support of munitions-related operations. Our Global Operations Division, within the Ordnance and Explosives Directorate, provides global support for unexploded ordnance and minefield clearance, munitions disposal, environmental services, and facilities electrical safety maintenance and repair services. Then there is the still growing Installation Support and Programs Management Directorate. Along with the goal of reducing an estimated 132 million square feet of excess building space through the Facilities Reduction Program, the directorate continues to grow in support of Base Realignment and Closure decisions. Increasingly every year, stakeholders require more child and family services facilities, sports and fitness centers, training ranges, and fire and emergency facilities. Energy is another big part of our evolving mission. How do we reduce the carbon footprint and use renewable energy? How do we motivate DOD installations to become energy efficient? These are areas where we are innovating new solutions like coordinating third-party financing. Congress does not appropriate any money for these energy projects. Private industry comes in and pays the capital investment. And they are paid through the harvesting of energy savings and the dollar value associated with those savings over a long-term contract of 15 to 25 years. So, we have become the Corps’ go-to third-party finance Energy Center of Expertise as well. The chief [Lt. Gen. Todd T. Semonite] often says the Corps of Engineers is the organization that solves the nation’s toughest engineering challenges. Within the Corps of Engineers, he says Huntsville Center solves the Corps of Engineers’ toughest engineering challenges. Who are Huntsville Center’s main stakeholders? We are an Army organization, so our primary stakeholder is the Department of the Army and all of its installations globally and the support to those installations and the facility, utility, and infrastructure on them. But our missions and capabilities are so unique that the Air Force and the Navy and the Marines don’t have the resources to do a lot of this technically complex stuff that we do. So, the other DOD services more and more rely on Huntsville Center to help them solve these challenges. And as you do a good job, good work begets more work. As we become renowned for solving technically complex challenges, the whole of federal government taps into the Huntsville Center as well, for things like these third-party finance contracts, electronic technology, security systems, utility systems. The Defense Logistics Agency is also a huge stakeholder because not only do we manage their fuels, but we do a lot of their minor O&M [operation and maintenance] construction, as well as renovation and demolition of their facilities. The Army Medical Command is another huge stakeholder for us, as well as the Navy and Air Force medical commands. They all have medical facilities globally that need to be upgraded, maintained, and sustained. Those medical services are now under the umbrella of the Defense Health

But our missions and capabilities are so unique that the Air Force and the Navy and the Marines don’t have the resources to do a lot of this technically complex stuff that we do. So, the other DOD services more and more rely on Huntsville Center to help them solve these challenges. Agency and are becoming more and more dependent on Huntsville Center to do their tough technical work. We do a lot of work for the State Department, particularly outside the continental United States, helping them on small infrastructure and small facilities they use in the aid to developing nations as part of the U.S. Agency for International Development [efforts]. Those are the big stakeholders for Huntsville Center services. What types of indirect support does Huntsville Center provide? Huntsville Center provides three main areas of indirect support in addition to the direct mission. One, we provide technical support to the geographic districts when needed. The districts reach out for support with unique projects or technical issues that may come up only once or twice every decade. For instance, the Omaha District was building a huge command and control facility, and they didn’t have anyone on hand who understood low-voltage building systems – the electronic security, the HVAC, the utility monitoring controls systems, the building access systems. We sent technicians out there for about four months to support that district from a technical perspective. This type of indirect support allows the districts to get the expertise they need in these unique situations from Huntsville Center without having to maintain personnel in each district who may not be needed but once every 10 years or so. No. 2 is support to the warfighter. Since early 2001, the warfighter has been deployed into some pretty austere locations like Afghanistan, Iraq, the Arabian Peninsula, and the Philippines. They need engineering technical help as well. So, we have contracts and people who are skilled in helping the warfighter do all things environmental inside their area of operations wherever that war fight is. We do all of the land clearance. Quite often the land has mines or unexploded ordnance, some of which has been in the ground for decades. Somebody has to go out there and clear that land. Huntsville Center provides the contracts, and we actually do that land clearance. When facilities need to be occupied, they don’t just go to these austere areas and build all the buildings they need to do the work; they occupy existing facilities. And those facilities were not built to international building code standards, nor were they built to U.S. standards. When we put Soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, DOD civilians, and contractors in there, we quite often 141

During a visit April 1, 2019, three members of the Huntsville, Alabama-based U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center checked on the progress of a project to modernize the facility communication distribution systems in the Conference Center of the Americas at the U.S. Southern Command Headquarters in Doral, Florida. From left are Tracy Phillips, chief of the Facility Technology Integration Branch; Chris Harvel, project manager with the Communications Infrastructure and Systems Support (CIS2) program; and Stacy Freeman, CIS2 program manager.


And then there’s support to FEMA. If there is a man-made or natural disaster in a region, like we are having all across the Midwest, with record flooding, record tornadoes, and mass devastation, we send – on a volunteer basis, for the most part – people to each of those affected areas to help them out with housing, debris removal, environmental restoration, blue roofs – putting a tarp over houses so people can continue to live in their [homes] – distribution of food and water. We assist with critical infrastructure and critical public facilities assessments. So, if a school was knocked down or a fire station was damaged, we go out and look at those facilities, determine if they are structurally sound – can they be operated in – and if they can’t, here’s what you need to do to get it to an operable condition. We do the initial design and then we either assist the geographic district, award a contract to fix it, or we bring the work back to Huntsville Center and award the contract here and then pass it back to the district for execution. That’s called Emergency Support Function #3. This is a huge part of how Huntsville Center provides indirect support above and beyond the scope of our mission.

put them at risk because the electrical system might not be grounded, might not have any bonding in it, probably doesn’t have any ground fault circuit interruption capability. It might be structurally unsound. It might have mold in it. So, we don’t want to put U.S. people or coalition forces inside these facilities. Huntsville Center has the contracts and the technical prowess to send the technicians and experts out there to repair and upgrade these facilities to keep people safe. 142

What are Huntsville Center’s challenges as it continues to evolve? We are a large organization – 1,100plus people. So communication is always the most significant challenge. How do we communicate and educate our own people on what the technological advances are? How do we share lessons learned ourselves?

Just because we learned something at one project doesn’t mean it’s proliferated across Huntsville Center in every project that we touch. Our ability to communicate what we are learning, how we are performing this work, what is the threat – that is our No. 1 biggest challenge. Second-biggest challenge, I think, is just getting the technical expertise. Getting the specific technical expertise needed at Huntsville Center can be a challenge. In many cases, we are training our own experts. Most of what we do is cutting-edge technology. There are no technical schools or universities that teach a lot of what we do. So, what we try to do is take mechanical engineering graduates and electrical or structural engineering graduates and teach them the handson component. We are giving them the technical boots-on-ground experience and expertise. So, the mission isn’t just evolving, we are also evolving people. What are the biggest areas of growth for Huntsville Center in the next five years? I think we will continue to evolve in the building automated systems arena, because it changes daily. Where we used to have a building that maybe had a doorbell on it and maybe had a thermostat on the wall, now everything is automated and it is all tied into a network. And the protection of those network systems is huge. This will continue to be a huge growth area over the next five years. And secondly, base operations. Someone on every installation – Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, Reserve components, National Guard – someone has to maintain the facilities. Someone has to cut the grass, plow the snow, and do the pest management. All of this equates to base operations. The installations used to have a blue-collar workforce and they could do these things themselves in the public works directorate or the base civil engineers. Those people have all been cut out of the organizations to save money. And so the only way the installations can get that work done now is to contract for it. So more and more of the base operations support is coming our way. The Installation Support and Programs Management program started about six years ago and executed maybe $2 million or $3 million a year. Right now, it’s up to $30 million a year. And I project that in the next five years, base operations support will be up over $100 million worth of projects a year, because the demand continues to increase on a global scale. So, base ops and technical control systems are the two biggest areas Huntsville Center will evolve more and more into over the next five years. We are a unique organization. We have a unique mission, a unique charter. We are doing stuff that no one else in the Corps of Engineers does, so if you want a challenge from a unique perspective doing technically complex cutting-edge technology, facility, infrastructure stuff, that’s what Huntsville Center does. It’s a challenge. Every day is something new. Huntsville Center has grown exponentially over the past half a century. As the threat changes, our technology changes commensurate with that threat. Revolutionizing has been at the heart of the Huntsville Center mission from the beginning, and it will continue to be for many years to come. n

BY THE NUMBERS Through partnership with Defense Department agencies, private industry, and global stakeholders, Huntsville Center delivers leading-edge engineering solutions in support of national interests around the globe. $3.78 billion in FY 18 annual obligations PROGRAMS AND PROJECTS • 5 lines of effort • 43 programs • 4,500-5,000 ongoing projects • 8 Mandatory Centers of Expertise • 6 Technical Centers of Expertise Huntsville Center’s workforce of professional, highly skilled, technical experts is committed to providing innovative engineering solutions to unique, complex, global missions to meet the needs of stakeholders and the nation. 1,113 employees in three locations: Huntsville, Alabama; Omaha, Nebraska; and Alexandria, Virginia PROFESSIONALS: • 115 professional engineers • 51 project management professions • 20 Ph.D.s • 17 registered architects • 10 LEED-certified professionals • 24 registered interior designers • 660 acquisition workforce personnel • 11 certified energy managers • 6 cybersecurity professionals

U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville P.O. Box 1600 Huntsville, AL 35807 (256) 895-1694 www.hnc.usace.army.mil www.facebook.com/HuntsvilleCenter twitter.com/CEHNC




he U.S. Army Geospatial Center (AGC), a direct-reporting center under the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is equipping the Army to win by aligning data, standards, and research and development so that military capabilities are synchronized through a content-managed precision geospatial foundation. Existing Army priorities, from Soldier lethality to long-range precision fires, rely on precise location data. As the Army’s knowledge center for geospatial information and services, the AGC is working across the enterprise to prepare a strategy for mapping standards that unify geospatial data, while balancing the need to maintain existing programs like high-resolution 3-D data collection, engineering route studies, water resource database maintenance, and ENFIRE, which gives tactical planners a tool for efficient situational awareness. One of the possibilities that has been explored this year is the emerging opportunity to use 3-D for a tactical edge. In October, the AGC director, along with cross-functional team directors from Army Futures Command, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), and industry representatives, offered their thoughts on challenges and benefits brought about by 3-D in an open forum at the Association of the U.S. Army annual meeting, Oct. 15, 2019. As One World Terrain (OWT) strives to provide a set of 3-D global terrain capabilities and services to replicate the operational environment for training, a logical next question is whether the


geospatial enterprise could standardize a common geospatial source to give 3-D enough fidelity to be an asset for tactical operations, as well as for training. Although the Army has better geospatial data on the battlefield than ever before, the advent of 3-D data provides opportunities to look at the gaming community and use the same common data products across the training and operational communities, said Gary Blohm, director of the AGC. “Today’s geospatial mapping and products are key to our intelligence and mission command systems,” Blohm said. “We’re developing technology map-based mission planning algorithms to better use geospatial data to help enhance position, timing, and navigation in the absence of GPS, and we’re figuring out how to better integrate it in Soldier-worn augmented-reality devices, all in support of the evolving multi-domain operations.” Within the geospatial enterprise, Blohm, the Army’s geospatial information officer, develops and maintains policy and synchronizes the Army’s operational and R&D toward geospatial standards, working with the NGA and service, coalition, and acquisition partners to collect data, and provide analysis and integration support. One of AGC’s main responsibilities is to enable the geospatial enterprise to address capability gaps that prevent systems from achieving a true common operating picture.



• The U.S. inland navigation system consists of more

dissemination of information to support terrain-shap-

than 25,000 miles of commercial navigable water-

ing, reconnaissance, and construction management

ways, of which more than 8,000 miles are maintained

for U.S. Army and Marine Corps users. To provide

by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in 22

up-to-date terrain data to decision-makers at all

states to include 276 lock chambers, with a total

echelons, the AGC has been instrumental in fielding

lift of 6,100 feet. To support efficient, effective, and

3,300 kits this year.

safe navigation, USACE’s AGC develops, updates, manages, and publishes electronic charts for the 8,000 miles of inland waterways.

• The Engineering Route Studies, or ERS program, provides basic information on the major surface transportation systems in conjunction with terrain

• The BuckEye collection system rapidly collects,

and climate data at the country or operational level

processes, and disseminates high-resolution

to assist the warfighter in planning missions –

geospatial data in support of tactical operations. The

including military operations, humanitarian relief,

resulting unclassified color imagery and LIDAR-

transportation studies, and drug enforcement. As of

elevation data improve battlefield visualization

2019, USACE’s AGC has completed 321 ERSs.

and operations. In FY 2019, this high-resolution 3-D data program collected more than 488,000 square

• The Urban Tactical Planner, or UTP, assists military

kilometers of imagery in 17 countries and more than

operation planning in urban areas around the world.

593 linear kilometers of terrestrial collections at U.S.

The urban environment data is displayed on a moni-

military installations.

tor as an aggregate of features that affect urban area operations, such as building form and function, build-

• The Instrument Set, Reconnaissance and Surveying,

ing height, vertical obstructions, terrain features, bridges, key cultural features, and landmarks. More

integrated commercial capabilities designed at

than 712 full-analysis UTPs have been completed at

the AGC to modernize the collection, analysis, and

the AGC.

The nucleus for what the Army calls a common operating picture “is the underpinning of standard mapping provided by NGA and the geospatial community,” said Maj. Gen. Peter Gallagher, director of the Network Cross-functional Team, U.S. Army Futures Command. “Intelligence drives operations and it all starts with everything being interconnected.” During the forum, Gallagher stood by the need to underpin the Army’s battle command systems with a common mapping source that has a limited data footprint in any tactical solution, 2-D or 3-D. There are challenges with integrating large data sets on a tactical battlefield, a need for storage and processing capabilities, and demands on tactical communication transport systems, issues that Blohm and others in the geospatial enterprise are considering. In the end, the geospatial enterprise is committed to moving forward toward tactical solutions in partnership with each other and with the program executive offices and program managers that deliver capability for the Army in a way that will enable ground forces to operate discretely in contested environments down to the tactical edge.


commonly called ENFIRE, is a digital suite of

Soldiers are working with the Instrument Set, Reconnaissance and Surveying, commonly called ENFIRE, a digital suite of integrated commercial capabilities designed to modernize the process to gather information that supports terrain-shaping, reconnaissance, and construction management for ground forces.



A barge heading down the Arkansas River.



he U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Institute for Water Resources (IWR) was established to provide forward-looking analysis, cutting-edge methodologies, and innovative tools to aid the Civil Works program. The institute strives to improve the performance of the USACE water resources program by examining water resources problems and offering practical solutions through a wide variety of technology transfer mechanisms. It fulfills its mission through: • analysis of emerging water resources trends and issues; • development, distribution, and training in the use of state-of-theart methods and models in the areas of planning, operations, and civil engineering; and • national data management of results-oriented program and project information across civil works business lines. IWR has offices in five locations, with its National Capital Region (NCR) Headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia.


Navigation and Civil Works Decision Support Center (NDC), also in Alexandria, provides a critical mass of expertise focusing on the management of infrastructure utilization and performance information for USACE programs and projects spanning civil works business lines. The NDC directly supports the USACE navigation, hydropower, recreation, environmental compliance, water supply, regulatory, homeland security, emergency, and readiness functions. The NDC also provides integrated business information in support of USACE operational decision-making through management of Civil Works Business Intelligence, a strategic initiative to provide an integrated capability for the management and tracking of performance of USACE program execution through geospatially enabled data, coupled with decision support systems. It is an important tool used in the development and defense of the USACE Civil Works program budget. NDC’s Waterborne Commerce Statistics Center (WCSC), New Orleans, Louisiana, specializes in the collection and synthesis of all U.S. waterborne commerce statistics and vessel movement data, along with maintaining information on vessel characteristics, port facilities, dredging cost, and performance data and information on navigation locks. The mission of the Conflict Resolution and Public Participation Center of Expertise (CPCX), Alexandria, Virginia, is to help USACE field practitioners anticipate, prevent, and manage water conflicts, ensuring that the interests of the public are addressed in water resources decision-making. The CPCX provides technical assistance and training


Examples of hydrologic models produced by IWR’s Hydrologic Engineering Center (HEC).

and organizations sharing an interest in the advancement of the science and practice of integrated water resources management (IWRM) around the globe. ICIWaRM was formalized as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) “Category 2” water center in 2009, the first such center in the United States. ICIWaRM serves as a nexus for technology transfer, integrating new ideas, and advancing practical scientific and technological applications of IWRM approaches developed both in the United States and by partner nations within UNESCO’s International Hydrological Program (IHP). The center focuses on water security, adapting to global change, applying collaborative approaches, and ensuring environmental sustainability, consistent with the “U.S. Government Global Water Strategy 2017” report. ICIWaRM is also the technical secretariat for IHP’s Global Network on Water and Development Information for Arid Lands. n

IWR Director Joe D. Manous Jr., P.E., Ph.D., D.WRE.


to USACE division and district offices as well as other stakeholders on collaborative processes, facilitation, public involvement, risk communication, and collaborative modeling (shared vision-planning). CPCX also supports USACE Headquarters on relevant aspects of national initiatives and policy development and coordinates USACE’s cross-cutting Collaboration and Public Participation Community of Practice. The Hydrologic Engineering Center (HEC) in Davis, California, is world renowned for its applied software model development, training, and consulting in hydrologic and hydraulic engineering, water resources planning, and water systems management. The primary mission of HEC is to support the nation in its water resources management responsibilities by enhancing USACE technical capacity in applied hydrologic and hydraulic engineering. Its additional mission goals include providing technical leadership in improving the analytical methods for the hydrologic aspects of water resources planning and in the delivery and application of the integrated suite of models serving as the USACE Water Management System, which is used by divisions and districts in the real-time operation of reservoirs throughout the nation. HEC models represent state-of-the-art tools that are widely used throughout the world. The mission of the Risk Management Center (RMC), with offices in Lakewood, Colorado, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is to support the USACE Civil Works program by providing a nationally consistent context for managing and assessing risks associated with dam and levee systems across USACE, to support dam and levee safety activities throughout USACE, and to develop policies, methods, tools, and systems to enhance those activities. The RMC also assists USACE Headquarters in the technical and policy oversight of infrastructure safety decisions and serves as an independent technical adviser to USACE senior leadership, maintaining and developing risk competencies and helping ensure consistency of risk assessment processes, the application of risk criteria, and the basis for decision-making on dam and levee safety projects across USACE. International Center for Integrated Water Resources Management (ICIWaRM), Alexandria, Virginia, was established in collaboration with other U.S. agencies, academic institutions,

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Institute for Water Resources 7701 Telegraph Rd., Casey Bldg. Alexandria, VA 22315-3688 (703) 428-8250 1 47




n 1996, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Finance Center (UFC) was officially established to reduce the cost and improve the overall quality of financial management for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). Development and deployment of the Corps of Engineers Financial Management System (CEFMS) II along with operating finance and accounting functions was consolidated into one location at USACE Finance Center in Millington, Tennessee. UFC is primarily responsible for setting the strategic direction and providing operational finance and accounting functions by assisting USACE worldwide with day-to-day support. This support includes, but is not limited to, the full range of customer service, payments, disbursing, accounting, and financial reporting for civil works and military programs’ appropriated funds, and revolving and trust funds. In addition, UFC is responsible for performing research, analysis, development, installation, and systems maintenance for the CEFMS II. This mission is accomplished with a dedicated, professional staff of accountants, accounting technicians, information management personnel, and various other support personnel. Along with the desire to maintain a highly motivated staff, the Finance Center is always aware and concerned about the costs of operation. UFC proactively searches for ways to reduce costs by identifying and eliminating duplicative processes, taking advantage of leading technology, and encouraging e-commerce. The center strives to achieve the commander’s vision while continually improving business processes and financial systems. The Finance Center’s Vision Statement includes four major tenets: • The premier, world-class provider of finance and accounting services. • The trusted, innovative financial partner of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. • One organization, one identity. • The employer of choice, providing a progressive and professional work environment. First, UFC aims to be the premier, world-class provider of finance and accounting services. In efforts to remain competitive and a best value to customers, the UFC will endeavor to adjust its structure to meet the needs of USACE, the Army, and all valued customers to further enhance performance in finance and accounting and revolutionize effectiveness. Second, UFC aspires to fully satisfy customer requirements and aggressively resolve problems in order to deliver best value, quality services. These high-quality results are achieved by implementing performance metrics to drive best business practices. Since the mission encompasses the world and brings together many diverse program areas of USACE, the Finance Center partners with the

Kevin Heath, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) disbursing officer, provides assistance to employees at the USACE Finance Center.

districts, divisions, labs, and separate field operating activities to leverage the complex, fully integrated financial management system, CEFMS II, to provide world-class support and accomplish the mission. Today, UFC and all USACE activities can query financial data in real time through a web browser. This innovative capability is demonstrated by increased use of e-commerce and e-government technology providing a paperless, seamless environment, increasing accuracy and lowering costs for customers. As a result, the UFC is truly the financial partner at work. Next, the third tenet, the consolidation of the UFC, was necessary to allow USACE to improve its internal operations; standardize and integrate the financial operations, procedures, and systems; implement best business practices; and reduce cost to the customers. Under this principle, the UFC persists to improve corporate quality and value. Finally, the Finance Center supports continuous learning for the workforce to ensure critical, high-quality skill sets. One of the main goals is to be able to develop the next generation of leadership by investing in the employees. Receiving a “Best Place to Work” award, UFC communicates openly and honestly; treats everyone with fairness and respect; follows through on commitments; and demonstrates accountability and integrity as a team. n U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Finance Center 5722 Integrity Dr. Building 787 Millington, TN 38054-5005 (901) 873-9000 www.usace.army.mil/Finance-Center/


249th ENGINEER BATTALION (PRIME POWER) BY STAFF SGT. RODERICK MacLEOD, 24 9 th Engineer Bat talion (Prime Power)


The 249th Engineer Battalion is a multi-component unit and the only medium-voltage power and distribution unit in the Army. As such, it possesses a majority of the Army’s Prime Power production specialists (military occupational specialty [MOS] 12P) and the full complement of the U.S. Army Reserves linemen (MOS 12Q). Due to its unique mission, the 249th consistently operates under challenging conditions that are unknown to other engineer units or U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) districts. These challenges include geographic


he 249th Engineer Battalion (Prime Power) planned and executed its first battalion-level field training exercise (FTX) in recent history. The event took place in March at Fort A.P. Hill in northern Virginia and afforded the “Black Lions” an excellent opportunity to demonstrate their proficiency in a multi-echelon training environment. The training scenario offered Soldiers an opportunity for a real-world application of the skills and proficiency needed in a uniquely demanding mission.

Prime Power production specialists running MEP-810B generators during the field training exercise at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia, in March 2019.


dispersion among units in order to provide regional support, the lack of traditional tiered-higher headquarter support systems (brigade and division), and a multi-component composition (active and Reserve forces). The battalion aptly overcame many of those challenges to deliver this superior training event. Due to its unique nature, many Soldiers in the Black Lions have spent most of their career within the battalion. Of that population, not one of them had ever participated in an exercise as large and complex as the March FTX. The Black Lions once again demonstrated their ability to adapt to mission requirements, overcome complex problems, and provide quality assessments for civilian partners at home. This exercise proved a tremendous undertaking and honed the organization’s ability to execute its very unique mission under the most difficult conditions.

BLACK LIONS! Army (Contingency) Operations The 249th Engineer Battalion trains its personnel to fill the persistent and dynamic requirements of the Army for electrical power in locations across the globe. To ensure the team remains ready to deliver world-class support, Prime Power production specialists train on the employment of the Deployable Power Generation and Distribution System (DPGDS) to provide medium-voltage production and distribution in even the most austere environments. Though platoon-sized elements at the company level typically execute these missions, Battalion Headquarters chose to conduct this as a consolidated training event to test the unit’s scalability while also exercising crucial staff functions and mission command. Once validated to operate by the battalion, a Prime Power team can expect to deploy across the globe to provide world-class power and electrical expertise. National Response Framework The 249th Engineer Battalion supports disaster response operations as a part of Emergency Support Function #3. This mission includes performing electrical assessments of critical infrastructure and allows for the timely installation of power-generation assets to preserve life and restore civil governance. To prepare for this task, the Black Lions conduct real-world training on nominated facilities that are part of a local government’s critical facility restoration plan. During this FTX in particular, Prime Power production specialists provided actual assessments to local and state facilities in Virginia, enabling the commonwealth’s readiness. Water treatment plants, freshwater pumps, and buildings designated for emergency operations and housing were among the facilities supported. The Defense Department’s Electrical Experts In addition to supporting Army operations worldwide with power production, Prime Power production specialists train to deploy as electrical power subject-matter experts, aiding in planning, maintenance, assessment, and testing of electrical systems. In this capacity, Black Lions Soldiers conduct a wide range of tasks, from healthand-welfare inspections of facilities and planning life cycle power

Linemen from the 249th Engineer Battalion (Prime Power) setting up for part of a training exercise.

usage of camps and bases, to recommending courses of action for contracted power requirements. Best Warrior Competition To ensure their technicians remain ready to support the full range of Army operations, the 249th Engineer Battalion places a similar focus on excelling at the tactical tasks expected of any Soldier. A team of Black Lions proved this by competing in the 2019 National Capital Region Best Warrior Competition, an event pitting Soldiers against each other to test their mastery of warrior skills and level of physical fitness. During the competition, contestants performed written and physical assessments that evaluated their proficiency in common warrior tasks and battle drills. The expectation for Black Lions to perform as both subject-matter experts and U.S. Army Soldiers makes them a unique and crucial organization within USACE. n For more information on the 249th Engineer Battalion (Prime Power), visit: www.usace.army.mil/249th-Engineer-Battalion/ and www.facebook.com/249thEngineerBattalion/. 151





he 412th Theater Engineer Command (TEC), headquartered at the George A. Morris U.S. Army Reserve Center in Vicksburg, Mississippi, is one of only two units of its kind in the American military. The TEC provides command and control of theater-level engineer operations levels above brigade in support of unified land operations. The TEC provides mission command of all Army Reserve engineer assets in 21 states east of the Mississippi River. The 412th Theater Engineer Command commands three brigades, a Regional Support Group (RSG), and five direct reporting units (DRUs) totaling nearly 13,000 Soldiers. The brigades are the 411th Engineer Brigade based at New Windsor, New York; the 302d Maneuver Enhancement Brigade based in Chicopee, Massachusetts; the 926th Engineer Brigade located in Montgomery, Alabama; and the RSG located in Springfield, Illinois. The DRUs are the 206th Digital Liaison Detachment, the 207th Digital Liaison Detachment, the 368th Forward Engineer Support Team-Main, the 608th Construction Management Team, and the 475th Explosive Hazards Coordination Cell. An engineer two-star general, Maj. Gen. Stephen Strand, commands the TEC, focusing the proper emphasis on unit training/readiness during peacetime employment and the proper emphasis on the theater engineer mission required for emerging threats and possible near-peer adversaries. The TEC provides theater-wide engineer support as well as engineer support to forces deployed within a joint operations area; geospatial support; construction; real property maintenance activities; line of communications sustainment; engineer logistics management; base development; and theater infrastructure repair, or development as required. It serves as the senior engineer headquarters for the theater Army as well as all assigned or attached engineer brigades and other engineer units. When directed, it may also command engineers from other services and multinational forces and provide oversight of contracted construction engineers. The TEC’s combat capabilities consist of mobility augmentation, clearance, and Sapper companies. The construction capabilities are vertical, horizontal, engineer support, and multirole bridge companies. The TEC mobilizes and deploys to any theater and operates as the senior engineer headquarters to command, plan, and control engineer assets within the theater of operations and acts as the senior engineer adviser to the theater commander. The TEC deploys an early entry deployable command post (DCP) with all of these capabilities. Additionally, the DCP can expand and tailor its size to the operation as the mission requires.

U.S. Army Reserve Sgt. Mathew Annis, top left, and Spc. Aldrich Cushnie of the 287th Engineer Detachment (firefighting team), 368th Engineer Battalion, 302d Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, 412th Theater Engineer Command, based in Danvers, Massachusetts, are assisted by Victor Basabe and Edwin Hernandez, emergency medical technicians, Haz-Mat Operations, Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY), as they remove a “victim” from a car accident during the New York City Joint Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Event Response Demonstration at the Times Square Church, July 10, 2018. The FDNY, in concert with U.S. Army North, conducted the training event.

PEACETIME EMPLOYMENT • Executes mission command of all Army Reserve engineer units east of the Mississippi, with additional military police, chemical, and signal units, ensuring trained and ready forces available to U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) and U.S. Army Reserve Command (USARC). • Supports and participates in FORSCOM/USARC training exercises in the continental United States and combatant command (COCOM)/Army Service Component Command (ASCC) exercises and training opportunities outside the continental United States to maintain unit readiness. • Maintains constant communications with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the ASCCs to ensure continuous support, focused on the long-term goals of both organizations in their areas of responsibility (AORs). • Maintains communications/ties with sister-service engineer organizations, in order to enhance joint readiness and interoperability.


WARTIME EMPLOYMENT • Manages and executes the ASCC’s maneuver support mission at theater level. The TEC is modular and scalable, enhancing its versatility. It deploys in part, combination, or in its entirety. • Executes mission command for all Army theater engineer assets in the ASCC AOR and is expandable enough to manage the joint, allied/coalition engineer effort, as well as many contracted construction operations. • Supports engineer operational-level planning, coordination, and technical services supporting the ASCC, geographic combatant command, or joint task force (JTF). • Participates in joint civil engineering support planning in support of the ASCC/COCOM. • Provides command and control of theater-level engineer operations levels above brigade in support of unified land operations. • Provides trained and ready forces in support of global operations utilizing the Army force generation model, and provides policies, guidance, resourcing, and administrative support as an operational command over assigned Army Reserve units. • Provides command and control of assigned or attached engineer brigades, groups, and other engineer units engaged in general, geospatial, and combat engineering missions for an ASCC or JTF. • Provides engineer support to joint exercises, humanitarian civil assistance, exercise-related construction, installation-related construction, and theater security cooperation plans and partnership for peace missions. • Operates as the senior engineer headquarters to command, plan, and control engineer assets within the theater of operations. The TEC supports an ASCC or JTF in a theater. • Operates as the senior engineer headquarters to command, plan, and control engineer assets within the theater of operations. • Develops and validates plans, procedures, and programs for theater-level engineer mission command and support to the ASCCs. • Communicates to the ASCCs the capabilities of the theater engineer commands and opportunities where the TEC can support those commands.

U.S. Army Reserve Spc. Walter Maupin, in the 718th Engineer Company, 926th Engineer Battalion, 926th Engineer Brigade, 412th Theater Engineer Command, based at Fort Benning, Georgia, operates a D7G dozer during Rotation 19-03 at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California, Jan. 18, 2019. The company supported the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.

The 412th Theater Engineer Command currently supports U.S. Army Pacific, an operational-level Army force designated by the secretary of the Army as the Army Service Component Command (ASCC) of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command. The 412th TEC also supports U.S. Southern Command and U.S. Northern Command. On order, the 412th Theater Engineer Command mobilizes and deploys to a theater of operations as the senior engineer headquarters to provide mission command of assigned or attached units in support of ASCC-assured mobility, protection, logistics, and infrastructure development lines of operation. In addition to providing wartime support, the 412th TEC performs key roles in large-scale training exercises, in contingency planning, and in-theater security cooperation plan engagements. Most of the units participating in these overseas missions and exercises were conducting their two-week extended combat training. As a key responsibility, the TEC oversees the training of its Soldiers and subordinate units. During 2019, the command enabled Soldiers from 400 subordinate units to attend numerous major events, exercises, or operations across the continental United States and the world. n 153


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416th THEATER ENGINEER COMMAND Modernizing tomorrow’s Reserve engineers today

Polish and U.S. Soldiers from the 416th TEC stand in formation during the closing ceremony of Resolute Castle 2019, at the Drawsko Pomorskie Training Area, Poland, Aug. 1, 2019. Resolute Castle, a multinational training exercise, promoted interoperability and resulted in the construction of two health care facilities, two administrative buildings, and one fuel point.



very organization must look to how it will be shaped in the future in order to stay relevant. With companies, it’s how they will maintain increased profits; for charitable organizations, it’s how they can better help those in need; for military organizations, it’s how they will fight future battles, how they will defend against foes that are becoming more advanced. The 416th Theater Engineer Command (TEC), with vision from its higher up – “the most capable combat-ready, and lethal federal Reserve force in the history of the nation,” said Lt. Gen. Charles D. Luckey, chief, U.S. Army Reserve and commanding general, U.S. Army Reserve Headquarters, “must move forward in a modern direction.” Located in Darien, Illinois, the 416th TEC is a unique unit, with only one other like it in the U.S. Army, the 412th TEC in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Both commands are continuously evolving to best prepare themselves to fight in the next conflict. The 416th, as a headquarters, trains continuously to improve its decision-making and planning capabilities. Because, when called


upon, the 416th will deploy, provide theaterwide engineer support, and serve as the senior engineer headquarters for the theater Army. Their job is to set the theater; to take a constant flow of situations, and provide engineer plans, solutions, and courses of action for each. The 416th, as a command including more than 12,000 Soldiers from the western United States and Washington, D.C., must “provide trained, equipped, and ready Soldiers and cohesive units to meet the nation’s requirements at home and abroad,” said Luckey. The Force Management (FM) cell and 416th TEC operations work diligently in order to take this mission and vision focus, and develop the 416th toward the future, and how it will be accomplished then. They answer how the 416th TEC will be trained, equipped, and ready tomorrow.

TRAINED The 416th and its units must be able to work with and fight alongside their active-duty counterparts. The operations team (G3) plans and coordinates exercises that enable units to integrate with active-duty brigade

combat teams. This allows them to train at the pace of active-duty units, and allows both the ability to understand how each other operates. Training with activity-duty units drives an understanding that there is one Army with three components, and that these components work in unison with each other. The 416th TEC is also taking its Deployable Command Post (DCP), and creating two contingency command posts (CCPs). Each will mirror the other, and provide specific theater support to a combatant command (COCOM), like European Command. The intent of the CCP is to deploy into a theater, and provide engineer planning support until the 416th TEC integrates in fully, and sets the theater as a whole. In order to create a relationship with the combatant commands, the now DCP, along with other technical engineers, are integrated into planning exercises, and projects in support of Army service component commands (ASCCs) and COCOMs. This training is designed to not only provide engineer support, but to create a rapport with the COCOMs and ASCCs.

EQUIPPED The force modernization section of FM ensures that all of the units throughout the 416th TEC are equipped with the latest technology and equipment available to the force. They work with project managers and contractors to set up new equipment fielding and new equipment training. “Force modernization program and the military has the ability to adapt to new obstacles on the battlefield through new enablers, and systems,” said Scott Hein, a 416th TEC force integration analyst. “The key is to put these enablers, as they become available, in the hands of the Soldier, so they will be better equipped.” The aim here is to either bring the Soldiers to subject-matter experts, or bring the subject-matter experts to the Soldiers (whichever is financial beneficial to the taxpayer), and train them up on how to use the new equipment. Once these Soldiers are validated, the units receive the equipment in their inventory.



Above: The 416th Theater Engineer Command and 647th Regional Support Group command teams pause for a photo March 1, 2019, in Wichita, Kansas. Right: Soldiers from the 416th TEC fire the M249B machine gun during the 416th TEC’s annual training at Camp Atterbury, Indiana.

READY The 416th TEC and its units constantly evolve in order to best fit their capabilities into the big picture. FM, with direction from force design updates, develops the personnel and equipment to best meet the requirements of the big picture, as it pertains to possible future conflicts. “The TEC is transitioning back to general engineering,” said Master Sgt. Jeffery Jackson, the force management noncommissioned officer. “A lot of the units have gone from being a jack-of-all-trades to specialized units. It’s hard to fill gaps when units are trained to specific jobs.” This need to transition back to general engineers caused a need to take mobility augmentation companies and Sapper companies, and change them to combat engineer companies (CECs). They will comprise of CEC-A (Armor) and CEC-I (Infantry), with one supporting armor, and the other infantry, through mobility, counter-mobility, and survivability. Combat engineers are your jack-of-all-trades; and with the current legacy formation, the Soldiers become specialized to specific tasks and functions of a combat engineer. With the CEC-A and CEC-I, sections can be peeled off to support a specified mission. But the units all together can support general and combat engineer operations. The TEC itself will also regain general engineering capability, with the reintegration of engineer-specific geospatial capabilities, and a general engineering operations cell (GENOC). Geospatial will be able to take this form of intelligence and provide information specific to engineer needs, as opposed to general geospatial information that supports general intelligence needs. The GENOC will be able to provide the 416th TEC with the expertise needed to provide technical engineer professionalism to theaterwide strategic engineer planning, facility (basing) engineering management, program/project management, survey, design, and geospatial work. All of these efforts are to allow the 416th TEC leadership a snapshot of what the TEC will be capable of almost a decade in the future. n 155