Author Archive

Independence Day

July 3rd, 2013

washington monument fireworksOn July 4, 1776, 56 members of the Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence, signaling the colonies’ freedom from Britain and giving birth to a new Nation, one whose 237th birthday we now celebrate.  

The U.S. Army and the Corps of Engineers are actually one year older than our country, and I have often reflected on the fact that in many ways, the history of the Corps is the history of our Nation.   Army Engineers were responsible for mapping the vast western territories, building our first roads and bridges, fortifying our coastline, opening up rivers and harbors for commerce, and constructing iconic American landmarks such as the Washington Monument, the Capitol Dome and the Lincoln Memorial.   

One of our most vital and well-known missions is providing recreational opportunities at more than 400 USACE projects nationwide.  Did you know that we have 370 million visits annually to our lakes, beaches and other recreational sites?  This weekend and all summer, millions of visitors will flock to these sites for boating, fishing, camping, hunting and hiking, and our USACE park rangers and recreation managers will be hard at work ensuring that our guests are enjoying our sites responsibly and safely.  If you and your family will be taking part in these activities over the holiday, I urge you to take a moment to review some water safety tips at: 

Nearly 90 percent of water-related fatalities involve those not wearing a life jacket.  In 2012, USACE launched an initiative to decrease the number of public recreation fatalities by 50% by the end of FY14. Using the total of 197 fatalities from FY11 as the baseline, in FY12, we recorded 157 fatalities, which is a 20% reduction.  I commend you for making good progress towards our goal, but there is more we can ALL do.

So far in FY13 we have recorded approximately 60 fatalities.  None of the victims this year were wearing a life jacket. For a power testimonial on this subject, view “Lost on the Lake,” produced by the USACE National Operations Center for Water Safety:    

Whatever your plans for the 4th of July holiday may be, I hope you will enjoy a day spent safely in the company of family and friends, celebrating the great heritage of our Nation.  During this special time of the year we should remember those deployed Soldiers and Civilians in harm’s way and give thanks for the many men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice so that we may celebrate our freedom and independence every day. 

Essayons…Building Strong…Army Strong!

Thomas P. Bostick

Lieutenant General, US Army



National Engineers Week

February 21st, 2013

Across the country, February 17 – 23 is being celebrated as National Engineers Week.  National Engineers Week was founded in 1951 and the dates are chosen each year to coincide with the birthday of President George Washington – America’s first engineer.  A gentleman farmer of inherited wealth and limited formal education, Washington acquired credible surveying skills early in life, but excelled as a manager, strategist and leader.

In the midst of the Revolutionary War, on June 9, 1778, at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, General Washington issued a call for engineers and military engineering education.  As President, Washington established a Corps of Artillerists and Engineers in 1794 to be educated and stationed at West Point in New York, which later become the US Military Academy at West Point. He promoted construction of roads, canals, the Nation’s Capital, water works, docks and ports, and directed a growing nation toward technical advancements, invention and education.

National Engineers Week is an important time to reinforce the need for improving our STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education and inclusion efforts.  By 2020, the U.S. expects more than 2.8 million STEM job opening – and we will need to increase the number of college graduates by approximately 1 million more STEM professionals to meet the demand.  Today, only 6 out of every 100 ninth graders will earn a STEM degree.

 As a Nation, we must do better – and as the Nation’s engineers, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is committed to helping address our STEM Challenge.  USACE employees participate in mentorship programs, science fairs, robotics competitions, teacher training workshops, recreational events, STEM Camps and other educational opportunities. Their enthusiasm for engineering and science might just be the inspiration a child needs to pursue a STEM career. 

Happy National Engineers Week! 

Miscellaneous "neat stuff", STEM

Reflections on Veterans Day

November 9th, 2012

In March 1865, with the Nation still fighting a divisive and bloody Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln delivered his second inaugural address.  Addressing the issue of reconciliation and reconstruction, he said:

“…Let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the Nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.” 

President Lincoln’s speech reaffirmed the government’s obligation to care for those injured during the war and to provide for the families of those who perished on the battlefield.  Today those words – “To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and orphan,” are the motto of our Department of Veterans Affairs, and are inscribed upon its headquarters in Washington D.C.

Men and women who serve represent a ‘band of brothers’ that chose military service for reasons that are not immediately understood by many.  They serve for this Nation, for their families and for each other.  They are proud, courageous and ask for very little in return.  Joining our fighting forces is a lifetime commitment, and as this Army video reminds us, “Once a Soldier, a Soldier for life.”  <>

Veterans Day offers us an opportunity to show our thanks to the 21 million living veterans who have served in our Nation’s Armed Forces and to honor those who served in generations past – in war and in peace, at home and abroad.  I also want to recognize the many Civilians who have served in combat zones alongside our uniformed military.  We hold a special memory for those Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and Civilians who made the ultimate sacrifice and gave their lives for the freedoms we enjoy today. 

On behalf of all of us in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, I say ‘thank you’ to my fellow Soldiers, our Veterans and their Families.  We are forever grateful for your dedication and your service. 

 Essayons…Building Strong…Army Strong!

 Thomas P. Bostick

Lieutenant General, US Army      



U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continues support to Sandy response efforts

November 6th, 2012
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It’s already been a week since Hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast…we have never seen devastation of this scope in the Northeast.  Our hearts go out to the residents, including our Corps team members, whose lives and properties have been affected. 


SACE has more than 3000 employees from the North Atlantic Division with an additional 650 people deployed from other USACE divisions across the Nation engaged to support the response mission.Currently, USACE has more than 38 FEMA Mission Assignments exceeding a total of $134 million. 


Through FEMA’s National Response Framework, we are a part of the larger team effort that extends through all levels of governments – local, state, and federal, as well as non-governmental partners and volunteers.  The team is committed to bringing all available resources to quickly support those affected and to reduce the long-term impacts from this devastating storm. 


Over this past week, I’ve gone to New York and New Jersey to see first-hand the devastation there and meet with our amazing teams working on the ground.  They are doing an incredible job! 


USACE priorities continue to be temporary emergency power, de-watering at requested locations, debris removal and disaster recovery missions, and conducting post-storm site assessments.

  • We’re providing temporary power in multiple states with nearly 80 generator installations, and the requests continue to come in.  We have more than 300 generators staged at forward locations for these missions and have completed some 355 power assessments. 
  • We’re dewatering 14 critical locations in New York and New Jersey, as determined by local officials.  Between USACE and the local teams, we’ve completed pumping at seven locations.
  • We’ve deployed two USACE Infrastructure Assessment teams from Seattle and Buffalo Districts to begin their work.
  • Our debris teams are in ports, waterways and coastal areas in New Jersey and New York clearing debris along the Atlantic seaboard and getting commercial ports reopened.  Within the next 48 hours we will have 35 debris teams on the ground. 
  • Other Planning Response Teams are also assisting with debris management, commodities distribution, infrastructure assessment, temporary roofing, critical public facilities, water planning, and temporary housing. 
  • And, with the threat of more severe weather forecasted later this week, we’re also focused on repairing breaches and significant damage to coastal and shore protection projects in the area. 

As we transition from response to recovery, I am confident that the Soldiers and Civilians of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will continue to support the federal government’s response efforts in the Northeast as long as we are needed.  I am very proud to lead an extraordinary team of professionals dedicated to serving the Nation and their fellow citizens. 


Essayons…Building Strong…Army Strong!

  Thomas P. Bostick

Lieutenant General, US Army


LTG Bostick inspects flooded infrastructure in NJ

USACE Commanding General LTG Thomas P. Bostick inspects flooded infrastructure in New Jersey. (USACE Photo by Mary Markos)


Emergency Response

249th Prime Power assists in recovery efforts

October 30th, 2012

One of the capabilities that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has to offer following disasters is the expertise of the 249th Engineer (Prime Power) Battalion.  The 249th is the only active-duty component in USACE, and the only Prime Power Battalion in the Department of Defense, providing prime power and electrical systems expertise in support of the nation both at home and abroad.

Soldiers from the 249th have already been deployed as part of the federal response to Sandy in order to conduct assessments and facilitate the rapid return of power to critical infrastructure. 

Headquartered in Fort Belvoir, the 249th also has companies on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; Fort Bragg, NC; and a Reserve company in Rhode Island.  In the past year, they have deployed to 13 other countries, including the Marshall Islands, Turkey, American Samoa and East Timor, to provide expertise for military and humanitarian missions.

The Battalion has been deployed continuously since 9/11, beginning immediately after the attacks, where they provided the power generators that allowed the NY Stock Exchange to re-open, and continuing today in Afghanistan.

The 300 highly-skilled Prime Power Soldiers are selected from the very best minds in the Army and train for a year at USACE’s Prime Power School in Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.  This training includes classes such as Physics, Thermodynamics, and Mechanical Systems Engineering to provide each Prime Power Soldier with a fundamental understanding of electrical systems.

The 249thPrime Power Battalion is just one of the Temporary Emergency Power Assets that USACE has deployed in response to the devastation caused by Sandy. 

Soldiers from USACE’s 249th Engineer (Prime Power) Battalion (USACE File Photo)



USACE Update on Hurricane Sandy

October 29th, 2012
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Today the Soldiers and Civilians of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) are watching as Hurricane Sandy approaches the East Coast bringing wind, rain and storm surge, and working closely with other federal agencies and state and local governments to provide support and assistance during and after the storm. 

In any disaster, USACE’s three top priorities are:

  • Support immediate emergency response priorities;
  • Sustain lives with critical commodities, temporary emergency power and other needs;
  • Initiate recovery efforts by assessing and restoring critical infrastructure.

Here are some of our current operations related to Hurricane Sandy:

  • USACE is supporting States’ and FEMA operations centers to organize response efforts. Subject Matter Experts have been alerted and/or deployed to provide public works and engineering expertise to include damage modeling, storm surge modeling, and coastal preparations.
  • USACE has received a Temporary Power Mission Assignment from FEMA and has deployed Temporary Emergency Power assets (Planning and Response Teams, the 249th Engineer Battalion, Emergency Command and Control Vehicles/Deployable Tactical Operating Systems) to provide support to areas projected to be impacted by Hurricane Sandy.
  • Other Planning Response teams remain on alert for Debris Management, Commodities Distribution, Infrastructure Assessment, Temporary Roofing, Critical Public Facilities, Water Planning, and Temporary Housing.
  • USACE Operations Centers within the affected districts have been activated and emergency response assets are providing support 24/7.
  • USACE Districts located in the impact area are securing project facilities, floating plants, and construction sites.
  • USACE has assigned a liaison to coordinate with the National Guard Bureau to coordinate any combined response actions.

As always, the safety of the public and our employees is of the utmost importance, and we should heed any evacuation orders and other warnings issued by local officials.  Be vigilant and stay safe!

Essayons…Building Strong…Army Strong!

 Thomas P. Bostick


Lieutenant General, US Army



Regular exercises, like the one pictured here in 2010, ensure that USACE Soldiers and Civilians are poised to responsed to natural disasters as part of the National Response Framework.



Fiscal Year 2012 Wrap-Up

October 15th, 2012

We have closed the books on Fiscal Year 2012 and it was another banner year for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.   

In FY12, USACE obligated $22 billion through 85,000 contract actions, representing 20 percent of the Department of the Army’s obligated dollars and 24 percent of the Army’s contracting actions this year.

We awarded $7.26 billion to small businesses in FY12, accounting for 33 percent of the Army’s $21 billion total small business obligations.  In comparison with other contracting activities that obligated more than $5 billion in FY12, USACE had the highest percentage of dollars awarded to Small Businesses, Small Disadvantaged Businesses, Women-Owned Small Businesses, Service-Disabled Veteran Small Businesses and HubZone Businesses.  Thanks to your efforts, USACE broke small business records for the third straight year in a row!  

Even more important than the numbers are the people – our hard-working professionals who ensure delivery and management of USACE programs and the people around the world who depend upon our projects for safety, security, economic prosperity and quality of life.

I want to thank our entire team for the herculean efforts associated with year-end execution and close-out.  You worked diligently throughout the year and into the late hours of the night over the last few weeks, wrapping up FY12 and getting FY13 off to a good start.  I’m very proud of you – well done!


Essayons!  Building Strong!  Army Strong!

Thomas P. Bostick

Lieutenant General, US Army



Army Suicide Prevention Program

October 4th, 2012

America’s Army is the Strength of the Nation, and the greatest resource we have is our people — our Soldiers, Civilians, Veterans and Family Members.  After more than a decade of war and great personal sacrifices by our fighting force, the Army suicide rate is at an all-time high.  The incidence of other high-risk behaviors, including alcohol and substance abuse and post-traumatic stress, are also on the rise.

Every suicide is a tragic loss.  The Army has instituted a multi-level, holistic approach to health promotion, risk reduction and suicide prevention that accounts for the many challenges our Soldiers, Families and Civilians face today.  September is National Suicide Prevention Month, and on Sept. 27, each USACE Division, District, Center and Lab  participated in the Army’s Suicide Prevention Stand Down.

We are committed to providing resources for our Soldiers, Civilians and Family Members to help them develop resilience and deal with challenges, including the Command Chaplain, the Employee Assistance Program, Military & Family Life Consultants, Military One Source and Veterans Affairs.  You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or visit or

For more information on how the Army is working to prevent suicide and other high-risk behaviors, visit

There is nothing more important than improving the health, discipline and resilience of our Force.  A Healthy Force is a Ready Force!


Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick assumes command of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

June 7th, 2012

Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick addresses the audience after assuming the role as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers commanding general and chief of engineers during a ceremony at Fort Lesley J. McNair, May 22, 2012. (Photo by Dana M. Clark)

Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick became the 53rd U.S. Army Corps of Engineers commanding general and U.S. Army chief of engineers during an assumption of command ceremony, May 22, 2012, at Baruch Auditorium, Fort Lesley J. McNair.  Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III hosted the event.

“I absolutely believe Lt. Gen. Bostick is the right person to lead the Army Corps of Engineers,” Austin said during his remarks.  “He is one of the smartest, most gifted general officers of our time, with the ability to do well and thrive in any environment.”

At USACE, Bostick serves as the senior military officer overseeing most of the nation’s civil works infrastructure and military construction. He is responsible for more than 37,000 civilian employees and 600 military personnel who provide project management and construction support to 250 Army and Air Force installations in more than 100 countries around the world.

Bostick also oversees USACE’s diverse missions such as hundreds of environmental protection projects; the regulatory permit program to protect, restore and enhance thousands of acres of wetlands; and the emergency response mission to support the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

In addition, as the chief of engineers, Bostick advises the Army on engineering matters and serves as the Army’s topographer and the proponent for real estate and other related engineering programs.

“Now, more than ever, the nation needs a lean, agile, strong, capable, competent and trusted Corps of Engineers.  One that serves the Army and nation; and one that truly teams with our many military, federal, state, local government, host nation governments, tribal, academia, industry and non-government partners to solve the engineering and scientific challenges facing the joint force, the nation and the global community,” Bostick said. 

“I’m committed to working with all our partners to continue the rich traditions of the Corps, meet the needs of this country and always deliver,” he added.

Lt. Gen. Bostick graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1978 with a Bachelor of Science degree.  He holds a master’s in civil engineering and mechanical engineering from Stanford University, and is a graduate of the U.S. Army War College.  He is a registered professional engineer in Virginia


A Year of Helping People

November 9th, 2011
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2011 was a busy year for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as we executed more than $40 billion and served the Army and the Nation, both at home and abroad.   To find out more about our work this year, check out this video featuring Acting Commanding General and Acting Chief of Engineers Major General Merdith W. B. (Bo) Temple.

YouTube DoDLive


Afghanistan, Civil Works, Contingency Operations, Gulf Coast Recovery, Iraq, Uncategorized