By Jennifer Aldridge November 5, 2013
WIESBADEN, Germany -- Two Europe District attorneys, Nansje van Noortwijk and Jay Aldridge, are the recipients of 2013 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Chief Counsel's Honorary Awards. The annual recognitions were announced in September at the USACE Worldwide Legal Services Conference in Chicago by Earl Stockdale, USACE chief counsel.
"I stand in awe of the selfless service and tremendous accomplishments of the awardees," Stockdale said.
The Ramon J. Powell Legal Scholarship Legacy Award, presented to van Noortwijk, recognizes an attorney whose thoughtful and principled legal scholarship continues the finest tradition of intellectual excellence exemplified by Ramon Powell -- a former renowned USACE counselor. According to the citation, van Noortwijk holds two European law degrees plus a U.S. Master of Law and is widely recognized as one of the leading authorities on international agreements and host-nation laws relating to engineering and construction.
At Europe District, van Noortwijk is the go-to attorney on procurement procedures in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, said Col. Peter Helmlinger, district commander.
"Her significant involvement in the renegotiation of the ABG 1975 [or Auftragsbauten Grundsätze 1975, an agreement between the U.S. and German governments that defines the process of how to accomplish construction work in Germany] enables her to provide clear guidance to district leadership, project managers and contracting personnel on how these agreements are properly implemented," Helmlinger said.
For example, van Noortwijk has been instrumental in negotiating additional services that are reimbursable, in addition to the ABG 1975 fee, for the high-visibility Rhine Ordnance Barracks Medical Center Replacement project. The new $990 million hospital is designed to replace the aging Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. Landstuhl is the facility that treated virtually every U.S. service member evacuated from Afghanistan and Iraq.
Earning the district's second legal award since 2009, Aldridge was honored with an E. Manning Seltzer.
Named after the chief legal adviser to the chief of engineers and general counsel of the Corps from 1956-77, the E. Manning Seltzer Award recognizes an attorney who has made special contributions to the Corps' legal services mission through the development of a legal theory, management innovation or practice, or outstanding performance in solving a legal or management problem.
Aldridge was recognized for providing exemplary legal work in support of a successful override of an Army Competition in Contracting Act stay in response to a Government Accountability Office protest, according to the award citation. He personally prepared, in an expedited time frame, all documentation required to lift the stay and continue performance of a critical missile defense construction contract.
Aldridge's work on the CICA stay override was outstanding, said Tim Hess, the district Missile Defense Program chief.
"His exceptional work on the national security override of the stay resulted in the stay being lifted, after only two weeks," Hess said. "Without the successful override, delays to construction would have been six months or longer."
Due to Aldridge's success, work is progressing on the district's $134 million Aegis Ashore Missile Defense Complex in Deveselu, Romania. On Oct. 28, key partners representing the U.S., Romania and NATO officially broke ground on the project, the second of three phases outlined in the European Phased Adaptive Approach to ballistic missile defense. EPAA is designed to protect European NATO allies and U.S. deployed forces in the region against current and emerging ballistic-missile threats. The Aegis Ashore site in Romania is scheduled to be operational in 2015.
For USACE, this key program has international exposure. Sound legal guidance and support is essential, Hess said.
"Jay's involvement in the implementing agreements between the U.S. and Romania has been instrumental in providing the legal framework necessary to build this critical national security project," he said.