A large part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District’s military construction, or MILCON, program focuses on U.S. Army facilities around Europe - But the Army also supports the U.S. Air Forces in Europe with a wide-ranging design and construction program as well.
“We’re proud to support our U.S. Air Force partners in Europe by managing MILCON projects for their stakeholders,” said Europe District’s Regional Program Manager for Air Force Military Design and Construction Program Jennifer Regel. “Our sustained Air Force MILCON program consists of projects such as dormitories, operational facilities, quality of life initiatives, gymnasiums, office buildings, and airplane hangars.”
Many of these projects are centered around the Kaiserslautern Military Community in Germany, which includes Ramstein Air Base, Vogelweh Air Base and other sites.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials joined U.S. Air Force officials and others recently to celebrate the groundbreaking for the new Military Family Housing Management Facility being constructed at Vogelweh Air Base. Once complete, the new facility will function as the main hub for managing military family housing throughout the KMC for Airmen and other personnel stationed there.
"Partnering with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers delivers facilities, like the Military Family Housing Management Facility, that reinforce the Air Force's commitment to quality of life for our Airmen and their families," said Brig. Gen. Josh Olson, former 86th Airlift Wing commander. "However, it goes beyond that. We also partner on operational and training facilities that
support our capability to expedite global mobility and air power throughout
Europe and Africa."
Regel said that in addition to the sustained MILCON work in traditional European locations, the District’s support to the Air Force has greatly expanded in recent years, to include projects at new locations and meet the overall changing mission priorities for the DoD. The District now manages roughly $1B of the Air Force’s European Deterrence Initiative, EDI, design and construction projects, in addition to the sustained work.
EDI program’s specific goal is to increase partner and allied capacity in the region.
This work spans several countries, where the U.S. Air Force partners with host nation forces to support security in Europe- with heavy workloads in Romania, Bulgaria, Poland and the Baltic nations of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia. The District is also helping the Air Force to develop new country agreements and to plan, design, and construct infrastructure in additional countries.
Through the EDI program military infrastructure is built to enhance the U.S. deterrence posture, increase the readiness and responsiveness of U.S. forces in Europe, support the collective defense and security of NATO allies, and bolster the security and capacity of U.S. allies and partners. Typical examples would be a runway and airfield improvements, base infrastructure, operations facilities and more.
Another recent Air Force initiative that the District supports is geared toward energy conservation and reinforcing energy security through the Energy Conservation Investment Program. ECIP projects for the Air Force are generally intended to save energy and water, reduce energy costs and reduce reliance on outside energy sources. For example, crews are currently working on energy management control system improvements at Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany.
Regel said she finds the work in Europe in support of USAFE and their programs both professionally and personally rewarding.
“Executing projects overseas in new locations, even if you have already managed similar ones stateside, is double the challenge. I like to learn about the mission and then utilize that information to formulate the best overall execution strategy,” she said. “Getting to play a role in the important missions the Air Force has here in Europe and Africa is also really exciting and rewarding.”
Europe District manages many other MILCON and Non-MILCON, funded by other entities, which also supports USAFE’s missions, their Airmen and their families. For example, the District has supported the design and construction of several Department of Defense Education Activity-funded elementary, middle, and high schools on Air Force bases in the last five years. Defense Commissary Agency has funded commissaries and upgrades managed by the District. Defense Logistics Agency has funded pipelines, hydrants and other infrastructure work managed by the District. Working with the Defense Health Agency, the District leads construction of medical clinics, dental clinics, renovations, and the new, large hospital being built in the Kaiserslautern Military Community.