54th Chief of Engineers takes command
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

Lt. Gen. Todd T. Semonite assumed command as the 54th Chief of Engineers and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in a change of command ceremony at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall (JBMHH), Virginia, May 19, 2016. The previous commanding general of USACE was Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick.

Semonite was also promoted to the rank of lieutenant general May 19 at JBMHH in a ceremony preceding the change of command.

"I'm excited to assume the role of the Chief of Engineers and the command of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers," Semonite said during the change of command ceremony. "I am convinced, though, that the power and the value of USACE is not in the facilities and the waterways we build and maintain. It is not measured by concrete and steel, nor by miles of combat routes cleared. It is measured by the passion in the hearts of our engineer force. Our people are truly the most important component of the command. Our commitment is to be ready to solve the nation's most complex engineering challenges, to improve our readiness to be Army Strong, and to expand our technical capability to be Building Strong."

As the Chief of Engineers, Semonite advises the U.S. Army on engineering matters and serves as the Army's topographer and the proponent for real estate and other engineering programs. As the USACE commanding general, he is responsible for more than 32,000 civilian employees and 700 military personnel who provide project management, construction support and engineering expertise in more than 110 countries around the world.

USACE is America's premier engineering agency. It managed an Army military construction program between 2006 and 2013 totaling $44.6 billion, the largest construction effort since World War II. It operates and maintains more than 12,000 miles of commercial inland navigation channels, and dredges more than 200 million cubic yards of material annually to maintain 926 coastal, Great Lakes and inland harbors. USACE is the nation's environmental engineer and restores or creates tens of thousands of acres of wetlands annually under their Regulatory Program. USACE owns more than 700 dams, and operates 24 percent of the U.S. hydropower capacity. As part of that, USACE is also the nation's number-one federal provider of outdoor recreation, hosting 370 million visits annually at its recreation areas.

Before commanding USACE, Semonite established the Army Talent Management Task Force and served as its first director. In this role, he was responsible for reforming the way the Army acquires, develops, employs, and retains a talented workforce.

Prior to these duties, Semonite was the commanding general for Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan, responsible for building the Afghan Army and Police by managing a $13 billion budget to support a force of 352,000 people.

Previous to that command, Semonite served as the Deputy Chief of Engineers and the Deputy Commanding General of USACE. He has also commanded the USACE South Atlantic Division, which provides engineering and construction services from Alabama to North Carolina, the Caribbean and Central and South America, and U.S. Southern Command.

Before commanding South Atlantic Division, Semonite commanded the USACE North Atlantic Division, which has responsibility from Virginia to Maine as well as U.S. European Command and U.S. Africa Command.

He also served as Commanding General, Maneuver Support Center and Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, and as Assistant Commandant, U.S. Army Engineer School at Fort Leonard Wood.

In addition, Semonite has served in a wide variety of command and staff positions including Director, Office of the Chief of Engineers at the Pentagon; Deputy Commander, Task Force Restore Iraqi Electricity; Executive Officer to the Commanding General, U.S. Army Europe (USAEUR) and 7th Army; Commander of the 130th Engineer Brigade and the V Corps Engineer in Hanau, Germany; Chief of Military Operations and Topography and Chief of International Operations, both with USAEUR; Battalion Commander, 23rd Engineer Battalion, 1st Armored Division in Friedberg, Germany; Construction and Design Supervisor, 416th Engineer Command in Chicago, Illinois; Staff Officer for Logistics (S4), 937th Engineer Group and Staff Officer for Operations (S3) and Executive Officer, 1st Engineer Battalion, both at Fort Riley, Kansas; and Operations Officer in the USACE Office at Fort Drum, New York.

Semonite is a native of Bellows Falls, Vermont, and is a registered professional engineer in both Virginia and Vermont. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy, West Point and was commissioned as an Engineer officer in 1979. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the U.S. Military Academy, a Master of Science in Civil Engineering degree from the University of Vermont, and a Masters of Military Arts and Sciences from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Semonite and his wife Connie have four adult children and two grandchildren.