Corps of Engineers helps Iraq prepare for 2010 elections
December 11, 2009
By Mike Scheck
- A strong, capable police force is a key factor in the U.S. strategy to bring stability to Iraq.
- To prepare for the 2010 national elections, the Corps Gulf Region District is managing construction of 15 Expedient Police Stations in northern Iraq.
- USACE is also renovating Baghdad-area police stations to improve the quality of life for Iraqi police officers.
Standing up a strong capable police force is a key factor in the U.S. strategy to bring stability to Iraq.
In preparation for the upcoming Iraqi 2010 national elections, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Gulf Region District is serving as the managing partner for the construction of 15 Expedient Police Stations in northern Iraq. The engineering emphasis is on expedient construction of the police stations.
The police station design is similar to compounds on U.S. installations in Iraq. The area is cordoned off with concrete T-walls, a staple of the force protection measures in Iraq. The office and living quarters within the stations are containerized housing units, or CHUs, set on concrete blocks. An entry control point is the only access into the station and is backed-up by a metal sliding door.
The stations also have a central parking lot for police vehicles and each station will have a generator unit to provide uninterrupted electrical power. The stations cost about $1 million and are scheduled to be complete in January 2010. Funding for the police stations is provided by the Iraq Security Force Fund.
USACE is also improving the quality of life for Iraqi police officers in a number of Baghdad-area police stations, with renovation projects ranging from minor cosmetic upgrades to complete overhauls, with oversight by the Gulf Region District's Baghdad Area Office.
The contracts range from $278,000 for renovations to $1.4 million for the construction of several new police stations in and around Baghdad.
Renovations include upgrades to electrical and communication systems, repair and replacement of sewer and potable water systems, and the addition of fueling stations. Some stations will also receive new perimeter walls, entry control points, guard towers and parking lots.
Maj. Chad Wendolek, officer in charge of the USACE International Zone Resident Office, says sites designated for renovation and new construction met a two-step criteria. "The strategic positioning of each police station should help balance out protection throughout the area, and display to the local population that the Iraqi police are in control," he said.
Wendolek calls the National Police Rest Site currently under construction the "cornerstone" of the law enforcement project.
"This $13 million project will act as the command and control node for all police stations and will house the majority of the prime decision makers for the Iraqi police," Wendolek said. "Due to its location, it will serve as a symbol of the commitment to the rule of law by the Iraqi people."
Even the Baghdad Police Divisional Headquarters is on the renovation list. Upgrades to the headquarters facility include the construction of a guard ready room, the addition of a second floor to the engineering wing and minor repairs to the interior and exterior walls and doors.
The projects are scheduled to be completed by late summer 2010.
Since 2004, in partnership with other U.S. government agencies and the government of Iraq, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Iraq has completed 5,257 projects throughout Iraq valued at more than $8.9 billion. Currently, 361 projects are in progress.