Worldwide Engineering: Support for the Nation

By Bostick, Thomas P. | Army, October 2012 | Go to article overview

Worldwide Engineering: Support for the Nation


Bostick, Thomas P., Army


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

On May 22, 1 took command of the finest military engineer organization in the world: the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (US ACE). Our workforce of 37,000 civilians and 600 soldiers supports military programs and civil works.

USACE is organized into nine divisions and 44 districts. Our organization also includes numerous subordinate units, including 43 centers of expertise and seven research-and-development laboratories. Eleven active Army units are assigned to USACE - the 249th Engineer Battalion (Prime Power) and 10 forward engineer support teams (FEST). The 249th is the only prime power generation unit in the Army. It provides commercialgrade electric power to military units and federal relief organizations during any kind of operation, from training to disasters to war. FESTs are expeditionary engineering assets that deploy to conduct engineering and construction management in combat or contingency environments. The teams have both military and civilian members from a wide range of disciplines including electrical, mechanical, civil and environmental engineering, logistics, and resource management. USACE also works closely with two U.S. Army Reserve theater engineer commands, the 412th and 416th.

Engineer Regiment

USACE does not work alone; we are part of a larger organization, the 110,000-strong Engineer Regiment. Of those, 75,000 are combat engineers who provide four lines of support: mobility, protection, expeditionary logistics and force protection, and infrastructure and partner capacity.

Our engineers in uniform ensure joint force mobility on the battlefield, finding improvised explosive devices (IED); clearing minefields; building roads, bridges, airfields and base camps; and visualizing the battlefield through geospatial engineering.

The Engineer Regiment and USACE offer incredible capabilities to the armed forces and the nation:

* Strong partnerships with engineers of other U.S. military services and allied forces.

* Well-established relationships with international governments; federal, state and local agencies; nongovernment organizations; tribal nations; academia; and industry.

* First-rate research and development capabilities and advanced geospatial technologies.

* Modernized mobility, counter-IED and counter-mine capabilities.

* Extensive knowledge in sustainability and energy security.

One of our major force-structure initiatives is the brigade engineer battalion, which will better integrate engineers into the brigade combat team. We are also reorganizing our echelon-above-brigade engineer units after our experiences with modularity and 10 years of combat. We are working with our partners in industry to modernize our equipment. The results of our new equipment and improved tactics can be seen in the improved IED detection rates in Afghanistan.

Military Missions

USACE's military missions support the Army's three major roles: prevent, shape and win. We prevent by delivering facilities and infrastructure worldwide to help soldiers maintain readiness and the Army achieve modernization goals. We shape through our support to combatant commanders, which includes military-to-military assistance and humanitarian response for partner nations, and global interagency development assistance. Finally, we support the Army's expeditionary mission with research, development and engineering to provide soldiers the tools to win.

Military missions focus on four vital areas: business processes, methods of delivery, energy security and sustainability, and combatant command (COCOM) support.

Business Processes. In the past decade, USACE experienced an unprecedented surge in military construction from two overseas contingency operations, Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) 2005, the Grow the Army initiative, modularity, and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. …

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