By Capt. Ryan HignightApril 28, 2018
After nearly six years of construction and many challenges, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District, is more than 98% complete with the U.S. Strategic Command command-and-control facilities at Offutt Air Base, Omaha, Nebraska.
"It is one of the probably most complicated buildings that we have ever done," said Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, Lt. Gen. Todd T. Semonite, 54th U.S. Army Chief of Engineers and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The new state-of-the-art 916,000 square foot facility is fully redundant in mechanical and electrical systems so it can continue to operate without any loss of operations during events such as an electromagnetic pulse or an F-5 tornado.
Upon completion, USSTRATCOM will move into the $617 million facility from a 1950s era building. The new building will allow the command to continue its prescribed mission of strategic deterrence, global strike, and operating the Defense Department's Global Information Grid.
"(USSTRATCOM is already) in the facility, putting in furniture and computers, and occupying 90 to 95 percent of the building," said Matt Bird, Omaha District Senior Program Manager for USSTRATCOM. "The resident is already running computer wires and beginning to train in parts of the facility."
Due to expected and unexpected delays, the Omaha District is working with both USSTRATCOM and the contractor to facilitate joint occupancy of the building.
"We will deliver a quality building to USSTRATCOM," said Ted Streckfuss, Deputy District Engineer. "If we can make the building transition smoother while still providing a quality facility, then we will."
The Omaha District had some unique challenges when building the one-of-a-kind building. To mitigate the potential for flooding, district engineers had to construct the building by surrounding it with a permanent earth retention system, or more colloquially, building it inside a bathtub to prevent any water from penetrating the facility, said Steve Morrissey, resident engineer for the USSTRATCOM project.
"Another interesting feature of the facility is there is a large HEMP shield around it. A HEMP shield is a high-altitude electromagnetic pulse shield that prevents specific systems from USSTRATCOM from going down, in the event of a pulse in the atmosphere," Morrissey said. "Essentially we built a three-story building inside in a steel box inside a foundation."
The new building has many other amenities that will benefit the command. There is a food court to feed the more than 3,000 USSTRATCOM employees, as well as, an auditorium to be used for meetings, presentations, awards ceremonies and other large-scale events.
"We are excited to work with the USSTRATCOM family to get this building done," Semonite said. "These hard buildings take a while to do, but the bottom line is that we are all committed to be able to push this across the finish line."