Archive for the ‘Research and Development’ Category

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 ,

Climate Change and USACE

January 6th, 2010

The weather here in Washington, DC is down-right cold, and we only recently saw the record snowfall of a few weeks ago melt enough that we could reasonably get around.  But what we’ve been experiencing is nothing compared to, say, Minnesota or Wisconsin. There was a news report the other day that said the low temperature in one part of Minnesota was so low (-37), that it would have to heat up 69 degrees just to not be below freezing. That’s just crazy cold. In other parts of the world, though, glaciers are melting at a record pace and drought still has people in California under water conservation orders.

 Needless to say, all this extreme weather poses an opportunity to talk about what we are doing at USACE with regard to climate change, in our role as the nation’s environmental engineers.  Gen. Casey, Army Chief of Staff, has said that we are in what he calls “an era of persistent conflict.” Part of that is because of climate change and how it can be a game-changer, creating “haves and “have-nots” around the world. 

I am a member of a United Nations committee called the “High-level Panel on Water and Disasters.”  Last year I presented our report in Istanbul, Turkey.  It was a phenomenal conference.  We came to the conclusion that we need to do much better planning – on a worldwide scale.  We have to ask ourselves – what will our response be? What might the early warnings be?  What would be the evacuation plans?  What would be those measures that an individual can take? What about local and state governments? Federal?  And I’m not just talking about the U.S. – we all need to be asking these questions, all around the world. 

Know that we are planning for all these contingencies, and more than that – we are putting the full capabilities of our Engineer Research and Development Center to work.  We are currently involved in several water studies about conservation and reuse, and we are always working on sustainable practices and technologies. In fact, at Fort Irwin in California, we are currently working on the Department of Defense’s largest solar energy project.

We also collaborated with the U.S. Geological Survey, the Bureau of Reclamation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to write “Climate Change and Water Resources Management:  A Federal Perspective,” released last February, that assessed approaches to climate variability and change in water resources management, on which future agency policies, methods, and processes will be based.  And this past summer, we issued a new policy, “Incorporating Sea-Level Change Considerations in Civil Works Programs,” that instructs our project managers to be prepared to implement flexible planning and engineering adaptations that account for a range of possible changes.

The bottom line is – we are planning and preparing for – and doing everything we can to prevent – issues related to climate change.  It’s a very real concern that could have very real consequences all over the world, and we’re on it.

Environment/Sustainability, Research and Development , , ,