The Army Corps Of Engineers – The US Army Corps of Engineers has played a critical role in helping the country cope with the COVID-19 outbreak, including building temporary hospitals and other medical facilities to ease the overflow of coronavirus patients.
Throughout its history, the Engineering Board responded to natural disasters with humanitarian aid. It also played a decisive role in the construction of key elements of the country’s infrastructure, including bridges, dams and many public buildings.
The Army Corps Of Engineers
The Army Corps of Engineers was officially created by Congress on March 11, 1779 to assist in the planning, design, and construction of environmental and structural facilities for the United States Army. Initially, it consisted of civilian workers, members of the Continental Army and French officers. Its history begins on June 16, 1775, shortly before General George Washington commissioned the Army’s first engineer officers. Since then, engineers have served in combat in all subsequent wars.
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The Department of Defense (DoD) created the Corps of Engineers as a separate, permanent branch on March 16, 1802, and entrusted engineers with the establishment and operation of the U.S. military academy at West Point. During the conflict leading up to the War of 1812, the corps was tasked with designing and constructing stone fortifications at major ports and coastal locations from New York to New Orleans.
The corps evolved from merely providing military defense services, and its topographers played a significant role in opening the American frontier, surveying and mapping vast unexplored areas of the Americas. In the 1820s, Congress authorized the Corps of Engineers to improve waterways to facilitate transportation, and in the following decades, innovative hydrologic technology, including levees, was developed to reduce the impact of flooding on the Mississippi Delta. The Corps also addressed dramatic changes in the Ohio River and installed locks.
Since the Civil War, the Corps has played a role in disaster relief, including the first official dispatch of aid during the Mississippi Flood of 1882, supporting the Army Command Corps’ rescue efforts. It later played a decisive role in the Johnstown, Pennsylvania flood of 1889 and the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.
Army Engineers supported the 9/11 recovery efforts in New York and later flood damage in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, the Corps oversaw and directed a $13 billion renovation of the city’s coastal system.
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As part of the relief effort, FEMA commissioned him to deliver truckloads of bottled water and other supplies to disaster victims.
Since the 1950s, the Corps has served in diplomatic and foreign aid missions and provided engineering leadership for infrastructure projects worldwide, including the construction of roads, highways, railroads, airports, ports, and water systems from Africa to East Asia and the Middle East. He also played a role in the reconstruction of Afghanistan and Iraq.
It has become the lead agency for protecting America’s rivers, coasts, lakes and wetlands and now operates more than 600 dams and maintains 12,000 miles of inland rivers and canals. The Corps manages 926 coastal and inland ports.
Today, the United States Army Corps of Engineers has approximately 37,000 military and civilian employees. Its mission remains to provide civil and military planning and to strengthen the nation’s security in times of peace or war. Engineering solutions to the country’s most difficult problems.
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The US Army Corps of Engineers is the combat arm and technical service of the United States Army. Of the armed services alone, it carries out many civil and military activities.
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The first army engineer officers were appointed by George Washington in 1775, and in 1802 the Corps of Engineers was established as a permanent, separate body. Engineers built coastal defenses, harbors and lighthouses in the 19th century, demonstrating the importance of the Corps’ continued military and civilian mission from the start. In the mid-19th century, as the Board of Topographical Engineers surveyed the American West, engineers in Washington reconstructed the physical geography of the center. Designed by Pierre Charles L’Enfant, himself a member of the Corps of Engineers, the city’s plan took shape in the 19th century, and the engineers oversaw the construction of the Washington Monument, the Library of Congress, and the United States Capitol, among others.
The Corps’ construction activities have traditionally focused on the design, construction, and maintenance of improvements to rivers, harbors, and other waterways, as well as flood control. In the 21st century, the Corps of Engineers is placing greater emphasis on environmental sustainability and ecosystem restoration in coastal areas and inland waterways. The primary military service of the Army and Air Force Corps of Engineers is the construction and maintenance of buildings and utilities in the United States and abroad. On battlefields during the war, such construction is carried out by engineering teams. In the United States in times of peace and war, and abroad in times of peace, construction such as civil engineering is usually done by private industry under contract to the Corps of Engineers.
The Engineering Board handles civil and military construction tasks through the office of the chief engineer and an extensive field organization consisting of civilians under the supervision of engineering officers. Historically, the construction of ballistic missile bases and facilities for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and construction in the Arctic has accounted for the largest portion of the Corps’ research and development program. As the United States reduced its nuclear arsenal, the Corps reallocated its resources to focus on tasks such as protection of wetlands and groundwater resources and disaster relief. The program also included combat support, mapping and field research, supply support and the removal of hazardous waste. The Corps was also the largest provider of hydropower in the United States, maintaining dozens of hydroelectric plants and providing nearly one-third of the nation’s hydropower. Project Partnership Agreements (PPAs) are legally binding agreements entered into between the Department of the Army and non-federal sponsors. As required by Congress in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 (WRRDA), USACE contracted with the National Academy of Public Administration (Academy) to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the PPA process, including proposed changes to the process by non-federal interests and recommendations for improving the PPA process.
In conclusion, the Chamber notes that the USACE has made significant efforts to improve the HTM process in recent years, issuing standardized contract templates and guidelines. There are currently twenty-eight PPA models. Many of these models include additional provisions that provide flexibility to address necessary modifications to the models during negotiations with non-federal sponsors. The availability of templates and options facilitated the preparation and negotiation of consistent HTMs by district offices and the delegation of decision-making authority to the department by ensuring departmental review and approval were consistent with law and regulation. This delegation accelerated the implementation of the HTM. The new, updated models help sponsors understand the requirements of working with USACE.
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The Chamber identified actions USACE and ASA (CW) can take to advance their ongoing PPA reforms and strengthen relationships with non-federal sponsors. The panel’s recommendations focused on the following actions, many of which were proposed by non-Federal sponsors and USACE staff:
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