The United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) works with both engineering and environmental matters. The Corps’ responsibilities include designing and constructing flood control systems, such as navigation locks and dams, beach nourishment projects, environmental regulation, ecosystem restoration and engineering services. The USACE is also involved in a wide range of public works projects pertaining to the Department of Defense.
USACE has a diverse work force including biologists, hydrologists, natural resource managers and other professionals. The Corps is organized geographically into 8 divisions in the U.S: Great Lakes Ohio River, Mississippi Valley Division, North Atlantic Division, North Western Division, Pacific Ocean Division, South Atlantic Division, South Pacific Division and the South Western Division. These divisions are divided by watershed boundaries rather than state boundaries. There are 41 subordinate districts throughout the U.S, Asia and Europe.
A ninth provisional division with four districts was established in January of 2002 to oversee operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Reconstruction in Iraq has been a major project for the USACE, where it is repairing and improving Iraq’s infrastructure, including roads, railways, seaports, and public service facilities. They have also been involved in education, health care, government and security projects, and electricity and oil projects. Since the start of its reconstruction project, $13.4 billion has gone into Iraq’s building program. There has not been a program of this size, and at such a high cost, since the reconstruction of Europe under the post-WWII Marshal Plan.
The USACE was established in 1775 when George Washington appointed the first engineer officers during the American Revolution on June 16, 1775. Since then the Corps has served in every American war. From the start, the U.S government wanted the Corps to contribute to both military construction and works of a civil nature.
Throughout the 19th century, the Corps built and supervised coastal fortifications, constructed lighthouses, jetties and piers, eliminated navigational hazards and also constructed buildings and monuments in the nation’s Capitol. The Corps helped design and construct the Lincoln Memorial and the Library of Congress, along with several other monuments around the U.S. Some of the most difficult construction obstacles were overcome during the USACE’s construction of the Panama Canal, which opened in August 1914.
In the 20th century, the Corps became the lead Federal flood control agency, and its role as major provider of hydroelectric energy and its role in responding to natural disasters grew tremendously. In 1941, the Corps built facilities at home and abroad to support the U.S Army and Air Force during World War II. After the war and during the Cold War, the USACE managed construction programs for America’s allies. In the late 1960s the Corps became a leading environmental preservation and restoration agency.
USACE addresses the following areas:
- Water Resources - Through its Civil Works programs, the USACE is involved in a large range of projects that provide coastal protection, flood protection, hydropower, navigable waters and ports and water supply and safety. For example, the USACE has carried out Flood Protection Projects in the forms of levees in New Orleans. Another example concerns the upper Ohio River, in Pennsylvania, where the USACE has been improving the navigation system by upgrading the Emsworth, Dashields and Montgomery locks and dams.
- Environment - The Corps environmental projects have two focus areas: restoration and stewardship. This includes, cleaning up areas on former military installations that have been contaminated by hazardous waste and establishing/reestablishing wetlands that will help endangered species survive. An example of an ecosystem restoration project is the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), with the goal of restoring, protecting and preserving the water resources of central and southern Florida in order to capture fresh water that now flows unused to the ocean and direct it where it is needed to restore the ecosystem and help the commercial fishing industry. The project includes 1,000 miles of canals, 720 miles of levees and several hundred water control structures.
- Infrastructure - Infrastructure support incorporates military installations, maintenance of Federal navigation and flood control projects, monitoring and having direct control over U.S dams and levees. More than 67% of the goods used by Americans and more than half of the nation’s oil imports are processed through deepwater ports maintained by the Corps of Engineers. As apart of its waters resource mission, the Corps maintains direct control of 609 dams, maintains and operates 75 hydroelectric facilities that generate 24% of the nation’s hydropower and 3% of its total electricity.
- Homeland Security - The USACE supports the United States’ Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management (FEMA) through its security planning, research and development, disaster preparedness efforts and responding to emergencies and disasters. The USACE had a large role in the emergency clearance of debris in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks and Hurricane Katrina, in order to create passages for emergency personnel and equipment.
- Warfighting - USACE builds and maintains much of the infrastructure that the Army and the Air force use to train, house and deploy troops. They also work with military at the front line helping solve and avoid engineering problems and other problems. The Corps also has assignments where their hydropower experts have to help repair, renovate, and run hydropower dams in Iraq, with the goal of aiding the Iraqi people to become self-sustaining.
Hurricane Katrina: Levee Work Incomplete after 40 Years
In 1965, after Hurricane Betsy flooded large segments of New Orleans, the USACE was assigned sole responsibility for levee design and construction. However, forty years later, in August 2005, when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the levees were only 60–90% completed. The Corps flood protection failed greatly and the levees broke in more than 50 different places. The American Society of Engineers (ASCE) stated that two thirds of the deaths could have been avoided if the levee project had been complete and sufficient. On March 1, 2007, the city of New Orleans filed a $77 billion damage claim against the USACE.
Dr. Ray Seed, co-chair of the U.C Berkeley levee investigation, submitted an ethics complaint on October 30, 2007, stating that the Corps of Engineers, in an attempt to hide their mistakes in the flooding of New Orleans, has tried to prevent independent research teams, like his, from gathering crucial information from the levee investigation site. Seed also stated that the Corps’ cover up was aided by the ASCE, which is the same group that the Corps chose to peer review the levee investigation sponsored by the Corps.
Halliburton/KBR Wins Largest Army Corps Contract Ever…without Competition
On October 25, 2004, the New York Times published an article regarding a contract given to Halliburton from the USACE. Halliburton is a Houston-based corporation that was headed by Dick Cheney before he became Vice President. The contract has been under great controversy due to the special treatment Halliburton’s subsidiary Kellogg, Brown, and Root (KBR) has received from USACE in terms of their work in Iraq, Kuwait and the Bulkans. Bunnatine H. Greenhouse, the top contracting official of USACE, called for a high-level investigation pertaining to the USACE’s unlawful treatment towards Halliburton’s KBR subsidiary.
A contract was awarded to KBR in 2003 for Iraqi oil repairs without any competitive bidding. This contract is one of the largest service contracts the Corps has ever awarded. It was worth up to $7 billion over a five-year period and was called into question because Halliburton representatives attended a meeting at the Pentagon in February 2003, where the details of the Restore Iraqi Oil contract were being discussed.
In February 2004, the Pentagon’s Inspector General launched a criminal investigation into whether KBR overcharged the government while it was importing fuel from Kuwait to Iraq. Greenhouse claimed that military auditors caught KBR overcharging the Pentagon by $61 million for fuel deliveries into Iraq. However, the USACE issued an illegal waiver which excused KBR from explaining why their oil transport prices were higher than competitor prices, thereby relieving them of the contract requirement of providing cost and pricing data. USACE officials issued the waiver without getting Greenhouse’s approval. Greenhouse’s complaints have led to a criminal investigation led by the FBI that continues today.
F.B.I. Investigating Contracts With Halliburton
(by Erik Eckholm, New York Times)
alaa Al Keilani - 5/6/2011 11:09:02 PM
we are company from uae and we have branch in iraq we need to work with the united states army corps of engineers (usace).
eng. alaa al keilani
mobile iraq 00964 7710122278
uae contact with 00971 504806443
Annual Budget: $10.5 billion (2009)
US Army Corps of Engineers
Van Antwerp, Robert