CAMPIA TURZII AIR BASE, Romania -- The rolling hills of the Romanian countryside provide a serene backdrop as an excavator fills a truck with fresh earth as part of one of many ongoing construction projects here in support of a broader effort to enhance the U.S. deterrence posture in Eastern Europe and bolster the security and capacity of U.S. allies and partners.
The earthwork is part of ongoing construction of new munitions storage facilities at the base being managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Europe District. It is one of several projects underway throughout this remote air base that are elements of the larger European Deterrence Initiative being implemented by the U.S. European Command.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers construction mission is growing in Bulgaria as well, with several EDI projects underway or under design for the Novo Selo Training Area and Graf Ignatievo Air Base there.
“Romania and Bulgaria are key NATO allies and we’re excited to be able to design and build projects to benefit U.S., Romanian, Bulgarian and other NATO forces through the European Deterrence Initiative,” said Europe District Commander Col. Patrick Dagon. “By delivering these projects in support of the EDI program, our team contributes to the readiness and responsiveness of U.S. forces in Europe, supports the collective defense and security of NATO allies, and bolsters the security and capacity of U.S. allies and partners.”
Construction is already active on various projects at installations in both Romania and Bulgaria, with several more beginning soon.
“We have a $130 million program that is going to be awarded between now and 30 September 2021 for work in Romania and Bulgaria… making a big impact to not only the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force, but also to the Romanian Military Forces, the Bulgarian Military Forces, and our coalition partners,” said U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Southern Europe Area Engineer Bryce Jones.
Several smaller construction offices fall within the area of responsibility of the Southern Europe Area Office, which is based in Vicenza, Italy. In Romania and Bulgaria, that includes a larger Resident Office at MK Air Base in Romania, and four smaller project offices including one at Campia Turzii in Romania, another in Cincu, Romania, the third in Deveselu, Romania, and the last in Novo Selo Training Area in Bulgaria.
The Campia Turzii Project Office is Europe District’s newest project office and will oversee eight construction projects either currently underway or planned for Campia Turzii through the EDI program.
These range from the munitions storage improvements and squadron operations facilities to a dangerous cargo pad and more. Planned upcoming projects include the infrastructure necessary for the Air Forces deployable air base system, or DABS. This will involve the construction of a site to store a large kit filled with everything needed to stand up air operations including facilities, equipment and vehicles.
In Bulgaria, several range improvement projects are underway at Novo Selo Training Area, which is a key training area for international exercises in Europe. In fact, earlier this year military personnel from multiple nations trained at the Novo Selo Training Area during Saber Guardian 21, which is an associated exercise of DEFENDER-Europe 21, a large-scale U.S. Army-led exercise designed to build readiness and interoperability between the U.S., NATO allies and partner militaries.
Additionally, teams are busy at Graf Ignatievo Air Base in Bulgaria supporting improving base infrastructure and expanding runways for improved facilities and capacity for fighter jets.
With the growing mission, Jones noted that there are a variety of opportunities available to support the construction missions at these locations, including for Local Nationals, uniformed Army personnel and especially Department of Army Civilians with engineering and construction backgrounds.
“I’ve worked in four different Districts across three different continents over the last 25 years and I would say the work here in Southern Europe is the most diverse, therefore the most exciting and most rewarding,” Jones said. “We work with the host nation governments, militaries, and contractors in all of these different countries… you get to better understand their culture, their perspective, their customs, their food, their language, the everything about them. So not only are you having a great time delivering mission critical construction for the Corps of Engineers, but you also get an opportunity to diversify your life and experience other cultures.”