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Military Construction and Environmental Restoration Programs: Serving the nation in national security, economic stability

Published July 24, 2009

The Louisville District’s military program serves the nation’s security and economic stability in a five-state area and serves as the program manager for the reserve programs, both Army and Air Force, across the entire United States and Puerto Rico.

The District’s military program covers Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan and includes military design and construction at installations for Army, Air Force, and DOD agencies. In addition, environmental support for installations and environmental restoration involves removal of hazardous and toxic waste and unexploded ordnance. The military design and construction program includes military construction, known as MILCON, appropriations and Base Realignment and Closure, referred to as BRAC, appropriations and multiple operation and maintenance appropriations to support customers.

In addition to design and construction, the District performs as the real estate agent for the Army in its geographic area, and leases real estate for the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Air Force Reserve for their recruitment offices. The military program team also provides design and construction support to International and Interagency Services, formerly called Work for Others.

For the Louisville District, the reach of the military program extends far beyond the District’s military boundaries.

The District’s Reserve Support Team serves as program manager for the Army Reserve design and construction program for the United States and Puerto Rico and serves as the design agent and program manager for the Air Force Reserves program. The reserve programs alone, in FY09, exceed $1 billion. Real Estate Division also plays a major role nationwide to coordinate all the real estate purchases for the Army Reserve.

The District’s active Army and reserve programs are playing a major role in three separate areas of change ongoing within the Army.

"Number one is BRAC, which has greatly impacted the workload of the District since the BRAC law was passed in 2005, but the Army is also transforming into a much more mobile modular force," said Darrell Nation, P.E., PMP, deputy chief, Planning, Programs and Project Management Division Louisville District.

As the result, additional brigades have been formed at Fort Campbell and Fort Knox, which has required additional facilities to be built for Soldiers to live, eat and work. The global posturing initiative is also at work by bringing 70,000 Soldiers and their families from Europe back to the United States. This initiative requires additional facilities stateside as well.

The Army, Army Reserves and National Guard are also reallocating what they each do as the result of lessons learned in the conflicts in the Middle East which requires different facilities for the Army Reserve, which are being built under the Grow the Army Program.

"I'd like to say I think Soldiers deserve facilities that are commensurate with their service, and that is a very high standard to me. So that is what we owe our Soldiers and what we're trying to give," said Lt. Gen Robert L. Van Antwerp, the Army chief of engineers and commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The total District military program for FY09 includes more than $1.5 billion for Department of Defense, Army, Air Force, and the Army and Air Force reserves projects.

In addition, Grow the Army projects and BRAC add to the mix of support to the nation. The Grow the Army program supports the Reserves in their realignment into brigades and is considered a stress-reduction program for the Soldiers and their families by supporting the program through additional recruits.

The BRAC process will enable the U.S. military to match facilities to forces, meet the threats and challenges of a new century, and make the most prudent and efficient use of limited defense dollars. The BRAC law requires projects to be completed by September 2011.

Van Antwerp spoke about the importance and benefits of BRAC including the reuse of former military facilities and consolidation of missions.

"The benefit of doing it is that you're consolidating things in places you should. Some of the smaller, real expensive installations that you can give back to the public and then you can move out," Van Antwerp said.

The Louisville District BRAC projects include the Human Resources Center of Excellence, known as HRCOE, at Fort Knox, the Human Performance Wing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and numerous Armed Forces Reserve Centers.

The HRCOE, a $206 million design/build project, is a BRAC project that will bring together three commands-Human Resource Command, Army Accessions Command and Army Cadet Command-- into a six-building complex on a 100-acre site at Fort Knox and will have an impact on every Soldier and civilian in the Army.

"It is truly a rewarding experience for our dedicated field folks at Fort Knox to participate and contribute directly to this historic military-construction transformation there," said George J. Jageman Jr., Chief, Construction Division Louisville District. "This is no small task to achieve in such a short construction duration. The skills and abilities learned from this experience will serve our newer employees well for many years to come and allow all to speak with pride that they were very much part of this busy and exciting era on the post."

The Corps of Engineers’ work affects national security in a number of ways according to Louisville District Commander Col. Keith Landry.

"The Human Resource Center of Excellence at Fort Knox will touch every Soldier brought into and managed by the Army," Landry said. "The Transportation Command headquarters at Scott Air Force Base will handle worldwide logistics support for our military forces. The Human Performance Wing at Wright-Patterson Air Base will ensure pilots and crews can meet the rigors of flight. All the Army Forces Reserve Centers we are building support Soldiers and units training to deploy around the world."

Another side of the military program includes the approximately $19 million Formerly Used Defense Sites program and the approximately $12 million Installations Restoration Program under environmental restoration. Although the environmental programs area smaller programs in dollars, environmental clean-ups can reap large benefits for the communities and nation.

Environmental restoration includes three programs:

  • The Installations Restoration Program involves clean-up at sites still under use by federal agencies such as reserve units at a long-term training facility.
  • The Formerly Used Defense Sites, known as the FUDS program, cleans up sites which have historically been used and contaminated by federal agencies or organizations.
  • The PRP program, short for Potentially Responsible Parties, works to share the cost of clean up among the federal government and other agencies who may have contributed to a site’s contamination.

Unlike the military construction program, where even a large construction project can go through the process of design and construction in a matter of years, projects under the environmental restoration program may take a decade or more.

For example, the majority of work involving clean up and transferring of lands to other agencies at the former Joliet Army Ammunition Plant outside of Chicago took more than a decade with some small cleanup and land transfer to complete. But in the same vein of supporting the nation, the projects remove environmental threats to the nation and can offer economic growth to the region, state or nation.

"The cleanup at the Joliet Army Ammunition Plant is beneficial from both an environmental and economic standpoint," said Illinois EPA Director Doug Scott. "The Army Corps has taken largely unusable space and turned it into a tremendous asset to the state of Illinois. The efforts not only created a healthier environment, it also opened the doors for economic transformation."

For the Joliet project, transferred land provided acreage for the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, the nation’s second largest; the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, the largest piece of protected open space in northeastern Illinois; and businesses expected to generate more than 21,000 construction jobs, 8,000 permanent jobs, and more than $27 million in annual property taxes.

The military program’s success is not only a project management focus—it is a team effort involving offices in Louisville District and partnerships across the Corps and other local, state and federal organizations and offices.

Projects may require members from Real Estate to find and purchase available land; Contracting Division for contracting with small and large businesses for project construction; Small Business Office to assure small business receive their fair share of construction projects; Office of Counsel for legal support; Safety Office for safety review; regulatory for construction permitting requirements; and Public Affairs Office to assist with communicating with the public.

In addition, real estate oversees the Recruiting Facilities Program. This program leases space for recruiting offices for the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Air Force Reserve.

"With Louisville or any of the other districts, relocating recruiting offices or space, increases the recruiting office visibility," said Nancy Davis, real estate specialist with the District’s Recruiting Facilities Program. "I think this helps the young men and women to talk with recruiters to see what is offered."

With the Louisville District missions, the Corps continues to support the military missions set by headquarters and works to support the nation’s economy, security and military.