Author Archive


February 18th, 2011
Comments Off on BUILDING STRONG as One Team

Booker T. Washington, the foremost black educator of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, once said, “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.” As we celebrate Black History Month, let us take this opportunity to highlight the struggles, accomplishments, and successes that African-American’s have made to our society and Army.

African-Americans have served with distinction in the American military since the opening salvos of the Revolutionary War. Hundreds of thousands of black troops fought for their freedom during the Civil War, and during World War I approximately 40,000 African-American Engineers helped secure the Allied victory.  In fact, during World War II, 42% of all engineer units were African-American, performing incredible support missions such as building airfields, maintaining roads, repairing bridges, and building hospitals across Europe and the Pacific.

Closer to home, the Army sent African-American engineers to Alaska and Canada to help build the crucial Alaskan Highway, a 1,500-mile-road that would connect Alaska to the United States, enabling our military to channel troops, tanks, and aircraft to Alaska to bolster American defenses against Japanese operations in the Aleutian Islands. 

We’ve come a long way since World War II. As of 2008, African-American Soldiers made up 19.8 percent of the Active Duty Army, 13.3 percent of the National Guard and 22.1 percent of the Army Reserve.

As our Army has matured in how we regard diversity, our Country is still experiencing a shortage of engineers of all backgrounds, particularly among our youth.  Last year, we partnered with a school system in Los Angeles to provide valuable mentoring and leadership to more than 20,000 students.  And just this past September, we contracted with MYI Consulting to help us broaden and diversify our science, technology, engineering and math education and outreach nationwide. 

Our young Americans hold the future of our Nation in their hands, and we owe each of them the opportunity to realize their dreams. That’s just one way we’re BUILDING STRONG.


History, Miscellaneous "neat stuff"

President Releases USACE Civil Works Budget

February 14th, 2011

President Obama released the 2012 Civil Works budget today, which outlines the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ non-military funded programs and projects for next year.

Click here for a state-by-state breakdown of the FY 12 Army Civil Works Budget:

This budget provides an effective pathway for us to help create jobs, support economic development and global competitiveness, and restore and protect critical and vital aquatic ecosystems. It also reflects the realities of our Nation’s fiscal status. As with other federal agencies across government, this year’s budget is less than in prior years, and it is up to us to ensure that we use the funds with which we are entrusted in the most efficient and effective ways possible…and we will!

The greatest percentage of our resources will be used on projects that provide the highest returns on the Nation’s investment. This includes Dam Safety projects that are in the greatest need of repair — we have 692 dams that we either operate or own — projects that will reduce the risk of loss of life, projects that will mitigate environmental losses and advance a number of our environmental missions, and on-going projects that we can complete or make significant progress on with these funds.

We have 92 construction projects in the FY12 budget. This includes 55 flood and storm damage reduction projects, 19 aquatic ecosystem restoration projects, 16 navigation-related projects, and two hydropower mitigation projects.

About 34 percent of the budget supports the nation’s inland waterways and coastal navigation network, which is particularly important when you consider that nearly $2 trillion worth of trade travels up, down, in, and out of U.S. harbors and waterways. The efficient and effective movement of waterborne cargo is a critical component of the national economy, because it reduces the costs of goods and services for American consumers and supports the global competitiveness. The budget also supports projects and studies for a number of significant aquatic ecosystems, including South Florida and the Everglades.

FY 2012 will be an exciting year in our efforts to provide valuable engineering services to our Nation. We are fully committed to supporting the President’s priorities to secure the homeland, revitalize the economy, and restore and protect the environment. We are proud to serve this great Nation, and we look forward to our continued mission of BUILDING STRONG.




Civil Works, Contingency Operations, Levees, Locks and Dams

Delivering on Sustainability

February 7th, 2011

A crane operator from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers San Francisco District drift removal team lifts out pieces of a dilapidated pier just off the coast of San Pablo Bay, Calif.

Many people have heard me use the term “building to last” when talking about the need for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to use the talents and innovation within our organization to help preserve our planet and build our Army and our Nation strong.

Because of our diverse and global mission, we have a unique opportunity to make a significant impact on the sustainability of our global resources and the security of our Nation. We’re working hard to improve efficiencies in our facilities and vehicles, increasing our use of renewable energy, and improving water use and management. We’re looking across the entire organization, at all our missions and activities, both day-to-day and those planned for the future, to see where we can build upon existing sustainability initiatives and take advantage of new opportunities and technologies.

This week we’re delivering!!

At our San Francisco District we’re working with our partners at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to begin testing an almost 100 percent, non-petroleum fuel called B100. It can be used to power the vessels that range from debris vessels to towboats and all types in between. This week’s test is the first of several we’re running on vessels within our floating plant to see if this more sustainable option will set a new standard for how we’re working to build a more sustainable Corps.

We still have a little ways to go make sure we’re getting this right, but each journey starts with the first step!



Environment/Sustainability ,

Corps Plays Role in Cybersecurity

January 8th, 2011

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is playing a key role in helping DoD and DHS increase our Nation’s cybersecurity. Our engineering, design and construction skills are helping build the important facilities that are needed to get the job done.

On Thursday, we began construction of a new $1.5 billion cybersecurity center at Camp Williams, Utah, which includes more than 100,000 square feet of computer space to help protect against cyber attacks. Not only will this facility help our Nation’s cybersecurity efforts, but it will also help energize the economy in an around Camp Williams by creating thousands of construction jobs and employ between 100 and 200 people once complete. In addition, we’re working hard to incorporate key sustainability elements to help reduce the facility’s impact to the environment.

Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility, and it will require the efforts of all of us to help keep our Nation’s critical infrastructure secure, resilient and built to last. We can be proud to be a part of the cyber revolution.



Cybersecuirty, International and Interagency Services

Depending on Small Business

December 13th, 2010

President Obama has called small business the “backbone of our economy.” At the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, we recognize the immense value that small businesses offer our Nation by creating jobs — they employ 50% of U.S. workers — and energizing local communities. We greatly depend on small businesses to help us provide value to the Nation through any number of projects and programs that support our military and civil works missions at home and in 39 nations around the world.

Last week, we were proud to participate in the Society of American Military Engineers’ Small Business Conference near Dallas, Texas. It gave us a chance for us to thank the small business community for the hard work they’ve done for our Nation this past year and hear from them what we can do to help make it easier to serve.

In 2010, they provided our Nation a tremendous value by executing more than $9.7 billion on USACE projects worldwide, including nearly $900 million of which was executed by small businesses owned by our disabled veterans. That’s building strong!

But these contracts are more than numbers on a ledger. They represent the innovation and determination of small business owners to help strengthen our Nation’s infrastructure and economy by developing and implementing environmentally sustainable solutions, constructing flood risk management projects, and developing programs that aim to energize our Nation’s youth in science, technology, engineering and math, to name just a few.

Small business are vital to meeting the engineering demands of our Country. We need them to continue to thrive so that they can share their expertise, ingenuity and energy to help build our Country STRONG!


Contracting, Corps Projects, Employment, Infrastructure, Small Business ,

USACE Labs Receive International Recognition

November 12th, 2010

Our mission is to provide unique value to the nation through our engineering expertise, whether on the battlefield or at home. One of the key ways we do that is through innovative research — developing groundbreaking science and engineering solutions to help the Army and the Nation overcome an array of complex challenges facing our Nation and our Soldiers. We do this research in USACE labs around the country as part of our Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), which has been named one of the top Army R&D Laboratories for five of the last eight years.

We recently received another honor that I want to highlight because it represents international recognition of a generation’s worth of positive contributions to the science community. ERDC has been named the winner of the 2011 National Association of Corrosion Engineers International Distinguished Organization award for providing 35 years of advanced technologies for infrastructure corrosion prevention and control.

On the surface, preventing and controlling corrosion may not sound as flashy as inventing a new weapons system or missile. But corrosion–or the degradation of materials–can happen to the infrastructure of virtually everything we build, from the rebar in our concrete to the degradation of wood timbers in bridges. Therefore, by preventing material degradation, we preserve the integrity of a critical structure or facility. Some of our recent accomplishments include designing and implementing the world’s first large load capacity (88 tons) thermoplastic composite bridge — which is a bridge made from some 85,000 pounds of recycled plastics — at Fort Bragg, and the development of a specially coated rebar for use in concrete, a technology recently honored by R&D Magazine as one of world’s top 100 technology developments for 2010. These discoveries are vitally important in our work to building the Army and the Nation to last!

Words cannot express the pride I have for the men and women of ERDC who contribute their talents and ingenuity into helping our Army and Nation each day. I am proud to be part of such an amazing, talented and dedicated family of engineering professionals working together to help build our Nation strong!


Miscellaneous "neat stuff", Research and Development ,

Rebuilding the Everglades through Partnership

October 22nd, 2010

Kissimme birds fly around the Florida Everglades.

This week I’m in Florida at Phase II of the District Engineer Course. Much of the discussion centered around transparent communications and the value of partnerships with local communities, and state and federal leaders.  

One of the best examples of an open, quality partnership is here in Florida.  The Florida Everglades is one of the most diverse ecosystems on earth. It is also the major fresh water source for southern Florida and key in the battle against flooding and drought. 

More than a century ago, the environmental benefits of the Everglades were mortgaged in favor of commercial and real estate development, destroying nearly half of the Everglades.  Now, the federal government, state and local authorities are joining together in the largest environmental restoration effort in history called the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP). 

This plan aims to enhance Everglades’ wetlands and associated lakes, rivers, and bays in the 16-county region of South Florida. CERP projects will capture and store much of the water currently lost to the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, ensuring that the biodiversity of the Everglades can be preserved and expanded. 

CERP can’t happen without the cooperation of a variety of agencies and governments. The Corps actively works with the South Florida Water Management District, the Department of the Interior, the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, the Everglades National Park Service, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and the Miami-Dade Department of Environmental Resources Management, just to name a few. 

Together, our partnership is working to restore the wetlands to the valuable natural landscape it once was through dozens of projects, including adding 55,000 acres of habitat to the Everglades system.  

Building a strong environment for our Nation through partnership…that’s a lesson worth learning! 


Civil Works, Environment/Sustainability ,

Helping to Build America’s Bench

October 8th, 2010

One of the most exciting things that I “get to do” is talk to young people across the country and try to encourage and energize them to pursue a career in an engineering field.   These opportunities have become more important in recent years as reports by organizations like the National Science Board show that American students are being outperformed by many of their international peers in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. This is particularly important for our future here at the Corps, because two-thirds of our 38,000 civilian employees are professional engineers, environmental science professionals and technical staff.

This week, I’m at the Great Minds in STEM conference in Orlando to help promote STEM to young adults and professionals from all backgrounds and encourage them to not only pursue a STEM career, but to “set the standard for their profession” by becoming leaders in their organizations. 

Furthering STEM awareness to under-represented youth is something the Corps has been doing for many years, (Click here to see more about our recent STEM efforts in San Antonio). And just a few weeks ago we took an even larger step forward when we awarded a contract to MYI Consulting, Inc., to help us host educational outreach events across the Nation as a way to stimulate interest and academic achievement in STEM. 

The students we talk to and young professionals we work with are our future, not just for us but for America.  We, the Corps, are a committed partner in strengthening America’s science, technology, engineering, math and science education.



Employment, Partnership ,

Army Chief of Staff Thanks USACE

September 17th, 2010

I am proud to share the following letter we recently received from Gen. George W. Casey, the Army’s Chief of Staff.  

Gen. Casey thanks USACE.

Gulf Coast Recovery, Military Programs, Miscellaneous "neat stuff", Partnership, Uncategorized

Preparing for Hurricane Earl

September 2nd, 2010
Comments Off on Preparing for Hurricane Earl

As I write this, powerful Hurricane Earl is spinning in the Atlantic Ocean with winds of more than 125 mph, just off the coast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.  According to the experts at the National Hurricane Center, it’s expected to follow the coast up into Canada over the next several days. Although the storm remains offshore for now, hurricane watches and warnings have been issued for coastal areas along nearly the entire eastern seaboard.  As a precaution, some towns have ordered evacuations to ensure the safety and security of their residents. 

Click to watch Hurricane Earl move up the Atlantic Coast, thanks to our friends at NOAA.

The Corps is also preparing to respond in the event of a disaster, and we are putting many of our emergency management personnel on alert and have pre-positioned some of our personal along the Atlantic Coast.  Our role in any event like this is to assist the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA by coordinating and organizing public works and engineering-related support. Our response teams are available to support debris removal, purchase and delivery of essential commodities like water and ice, as well as to provide temporary emergency power, temporary housing, temporary roofing, infrastructure assessment, and support to urban search and rescue missions. 

I pray that Earl stays its course and heads away from the coast.  But should it decide to change course for the worse, our teams are standing by, ready to serve! 

Preparedness is a shared responsibility.  For tips on what you and your family can do to prepare for a hurricane, click here: 




Emergency Response ,