Defense Media Network

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Military Missions Transformation

USACE is set to shape future force structure requirements.

“Military Missions” speaks to the changing requirements and missions of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) as it moves from the massive demands of a decade of combat, Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), modularity campaigns, and growth in the Army to a new decade with new customer requirements.

Gen John Shalikashvili Mission Command Center military mission construction

The Gen. John Shalikashvili Mission Command Center will be the new home for most of the staff of U.S. Army Europe and is located at Clay Kaserne, Wiesbaden, Germany. The quality, sustainable, LEED Silver-certified, state-of-the-art facility was constructed by USACE Europe District in 22 months. USACE photo

“We have just come through a very, very great surge in our work, a workload several times beyond what might be expected. We established centers of standardization, more disciplined approaches to contracting, etc., to deliver a large number of projects in a very compressed period of time to meet the needs of the nation and armed forces,” said Bob Slockbower, USACE director of Military Programs. “We focused like a laser on meeting schedule, scope, and cost requirements during the BRAC surge – with schedule being a uniquely important driver. In the future, as we implement Army Facility Strategy 2020, I expect that energy and sustainability will be as important a program driver as schedule was during BRAC.

“An important question now is how do we add unique value to the Army and the nation as our workload returns to a level more commensurate with the past? We need to describe our value in terms of what we are delivering to our clients. During the surge era, we were producing a large number of projects with significant value – and if that is the sole measure of our value to the nation, our value in the future would be significantly less than in the past. But I don’t believe that to be the case. So we have to take a different look at our value proposition.”

As USACE seeks to continue managing complexity while driving innovation to meet the nation’s current and future civil and military infrastructure needs, team members must become “solutioneers,” according to “Military Missions Strategic Direction 2012” – tackling the toughest challenges through a blend of critical thought, creativity, and technical leadership.

“… The term Military Missions signifies the need to shift our thinking from stovepipe ‘programs’ to a more holistic, integrated approach to providing services drawing from the full range of USACE expertise (including our civil works and research and development partners) in support of the military mission,” he wrote in the foreword to “Military Missions Strategic Concept” (MMSC) for FY 12-15.

“In the coming years, we will use the MMSC to guide revisions to the USACE Campaign Plan so that our strategic initiatives are integrated into the Campaign Plan,” the foreword states. “Building organizational capabilities will take time. However, we will make progress if we use the MMSC as a road map and stay focused on the common Military Missions goal of being the nation’s most effective and dynamic provider of military infrastructure and engineering services.”

During the surge, USACE was primarily a provider of engineering and construction services, but not responsible for full integration of all items required to meet the mission needs for the end user of the facility, he added, part of a delivery transformation that emphasized on-schedule delivery as the top priority.

“In the future, our ability to bring innovation to bear will be very important to our ability to deliver products,” Slockbower said. “Now we need to become systems integrators; like the old commercial, we may not make the product, but we make it better. What we deliver in this post-surge era, including providing unique contributions to Army Facility Strategy 2020, will shape the Army’s footprint and force structure requirements into the next decade.

“Our role is to help the Army determine how to make best use of the facilities we now have, where and how some can be repurposed, what needs to be repaired or replaced, [and] what gaps remain to execute the Army’s mission. In addition, in taking a systems approach to energy and sustainability, we are not just looking at individual buildings, but the overall infrastructure, helping the Army with development of an investment strategy to reduce energy consumption, to achieve net-zero effects for energy, water, and waste, and to leverage private capital to achieve the requirements of an integrated Army facility investment strategy.”

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J.R. Wilson has been a full-time freelance writer, focusing primarily on aerospace, defense and high...