Forward Engineer Support Team - Advance

Monday, July 10, 2017

What is it?

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' 565th Engineer Detachment, known as the Forward Engineer Support Team -- Advance (FEST-A) is a rapid-response, multi-disciplinary engineering team that deploys to solve technical engineering problems on critical combatant command projects anywhere in the world.

This team was part of a pilot program that tested the feasibility and readiness capability of a single-full-time team deploying for several missions during a one-year period to multiple combatant commands, for both forecasted and unseen missions.

The multi-disciplinary team is comprised of one officer-in-charge, one non-commissioned officer and six highly-skilled U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) civilian technical experts. The civilian technical experts include mechanical, environmental, electrical, civil, and structural engineers, and a geospatial information systems specialist.

What has the Army done?

  • FEST teams usually assemble and deploy for one forecasted mission and then disband. The 565th FEST-A team is unique in that it is part of a pilot program to test the feasibility of a full-time engineering support unit.
  • FEST-A provides engineering support to deployed Army units and commanders, such as technical assessments, planning and design, and construction management services.
  • Equipped with reach back communication capabilities, FEST-A teams bring specialized data, research, and expertise from USACE research centers, engineers, and laboratories to the front where and when it is needed.
  • FEST-A projects enhance force readiness and include base-camp master planning, contingency construction design, infrastructure assessments, airfield projects, force-protection design and quality assurance.
  • Other major efforts include electrical and water assessments/studies, investigating causes and planning solutions to erosion problems, and investigating initial construction design for contingency combat aviation brigade sites.
  • In the past year, the 565th FEST-A team completed two missions in Honduras, and one mission each in Thailand, South Korea, and Iraq.

What continued efforts are planned for the future?

Assessment results of this pilot initiative indicate the one-year team concept creates a strong foundation, saves money, and improves readiness by providing a more cohesive, more capable team for missions in support of combatant commands. Lessons learned are being incorporated into the planning for future iterations of FEST-A in an effort to enhance FEST readiness and capability to support combatant command requirements.

Why is this important to the Army?

Readiness continues to be the top priority for the Army. The FEST pilot results indicate the one-year team concept improves the capability and readiness team for missions in support of combatant commands while using fewer resources.


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