By J.D. LeipoldFebruary 19, 2014
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Feb. 19, 2014) -- The Army's chief engineer said last week that about two-thirds of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer's budget is for military programs, but he expects to see continued reductions as funding for those programs returns to pre-9/11 levels.
Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick, commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, or USACE, said in the last decade the corps had "executed an extraordinarily large military program," worth nearly $30 billion at its peak in 2008. That included work related to Base Realignment and Closure, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and work in support of Iraq and Afghanistan.
The general also said that since 2002, the corps has managed a construction program of about 1,000 projects in Afghanistan valued at more than $10.8 billion.
"To date, we've completed approximately 750 projects valued at $9.1 billion and we currently have 250 projects valued at $1.7 billion remaining," he said. "By December 2014, we expect to have 45 projects valued at approximately $300 million to close out the Afghanistan construction program."
Bostick said USACE was doing about $4 billion worth of work in support of the Afghanistan National Security Forces.
"Those facilities include everything from barracks to maintenance areas and equipment," he said. "Most of my team who is over there are civilians, so the kind of work they're doing is designing construction. The people who are doing the construction are contractors."
Shifting to research and development, the general said the corps has been able to develop technology directly relevant to support troops, such as defense against improvised explosive devices, known as IEDs, and micro-grid technology. More fuel-efficient power systems mean fewer fuel convoys are needed to resupply forward units, the general said. And improved IED defensive technology means that when Soldiers are on a convoy, their risk of being injured is reduced.
He said the corps was also designing and building facilities in the Pacific. In Korea, $10 billion in construction projects will further the consolidation of U.S. forces at Camp Humphreys to move them out of downtown Seoul and elsewhere. Modern facilities for Soldiers will allow many more families to accompany service members there, he said. The corps is also developing state-of-the-art complexes for DOD schools and world-class facilities for the Defense Health Agency.
He noted that USACE has awarded 35 energy savings performance contracts which provide private sector financing to implement energy infrastructure improvements on government facilities for energy savings and reduced cost.
Bostick also said the corps was looking at ways in which it could reshape itself, saying that USACE was in line with guidance issued by the Department of Defense and the Army for a strict reduction of 25 percent from all two-star and above headquarters staff.
"We're going to relook our organization, the roles and missions, functions of each of the staffs at each level of command and reshape the organization to meet the objectives of USACE with the resources we're going to have," he said.
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