By Mr. Justin Matthew Ward (USACE)July 21, 2008
In an effort to save time, money and hassle, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Europe District, hosted a Base Camp Development Planner's Course (BCDC) at their Wiesbaden headquarters May 13 -16, allowing 17 students from across the Corps, U.S. Army Europe, and the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Europe and Southwest Asia, to train without crossing the Atlantic.
The course, hosted under the leadership of Mike Annand, former ISB chief, Paul Ramey, chief of planning section, and Phil Cohen, senior master planner, trains experts to enter areas that have no existing infrastructure and create a base camp that is able to sustain deployments and grow to meet ever-changing needs and missions.
These training sessions are usually held stateside, said Keith Cromartie, chief of operations, plans, and security, who presided over the completion ceremony. But the frequency of those in Europe having to set up base camps in Iraq and Africa made way for a cheaper, smarter decision, he added.
"We are going into Africa like we did in Europe during the '40s," Cromartie said, referencing the multitude of projects the District - along with other agencies - are working on with the newly-established U.S. Africa Command.
"These base camps are what we started with in Iraq," Cromartie added. "They were just little camps and now they have become functioning cities" that are essential not only in a wartime theater, but also in establishing humanitarian aid and relationship building missions.
With the familiar U.S presence in Europe consolidating and the arms of America reaching out to a new continent, the BCDC made strides toward placing new, strong leaders on the ground to guide the Corps' footprint.