Europe District boosts array of partners, programs

Published March 13, 2015
WIESBADEN, Germany — More than ever, the U.S. and its closest allies throughout Europe, Africa and Israel called upon U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District in 2014 for architect, engineering, construction, environmental, and operations and maintenance support.

NAU had record-high quality construction placement in excess of $610 million across the district in all programs ranging from Belgium to Israel, the Baltics to the Balkans, Eastern Europe to Africa, and at remote sites on both continents and Eurasia. These projects ranged from large weapon systems to austere and functional humanitarian-assistance ventures, including military housing, medical facilities, missile defense, a combatant command operations center, Defense Department schools, barracks, communications facilities, child development centers and theater security cooperation.

Europe District serves as the U.S. construction agent in 104 countries — with 29 field offices in 10 — and is actively managing over 600 projects in 40 nations. This phenomenal workload supports more than 65 strategic partners throughout European Command and Africa Command’s expansive areas of operation. Since 2011, the district has averaged 1,700 contract actions and $725 million in construction placement annually.

In Eastern Europe, NAU is delivering innovative engineering solutions in high-profile efforts to support NATO’s collective defense and overall missile defense system. Vertical construction of the land-based Aegis Ashore ballistic missile defense complex at Deveselu, Romania, is in the final stage of construction. The system should be fully operational later this year.

Phase 3 of the European Phased Adaptive Approach to BMD will include a second facility in Poland, targeted for completion in 2018. In February, the district and its partners – including the Missile Defense Agency, EUCOM, the Navy and Polish Ministry of Economy – hosted U.S. Industry Day in Warsaw for prospective contractors, providing information on how to successfully compete for U.S. government contracts as NATO allies took the next step in EPAA.

Last October, ground was broken on the Rhine Ordnance Barracks Medical Center Replacement, a new combined U.S. military medical facility in Weilerbach, Germany. Officials have targeted 2022 for completion of the $990 million project. It will replace the Army’s aging Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, which opened in 1953. NAU is managing construction of the hospital, designed to be the most efficient long-term solution to continue providing quality medical care for wounded warriors, service members and families for decades to come.

Meanwhile, as part of district efforts to revitalize dilapidated DOD schools, the Benelux Resident Office has turned over three new American facilities since August – an elementary, middle and high school – on the NATO base at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in Mons, Belgium. It’s the opening phase of a $150 million, multinational-funded venture to completely overhaul SHAPE International School by the fall of 2019.

Overall, NAU is responsible for the planning, design, and construction of 40 current and future school projects totaling about $1.8 billion. From now through 2019, the district will manage more than $900 million in school construction. That includes a $98 million project near Panzer Kaserne in Boeblingen, Germany, where Stuttgart Elementary and Stuttgart High School are slated to open in time for the start of the 2015-16 academic year.

In May 2013, Europe District hosted Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick, the 53rd chief of engineers, as he visited Patch High School in Stuttgart to promote interest in science, technology, engineering and math. The general’s appearance came just days before he signed a USACE partnership agreement with the Department of Defense Education Activity, paving the way to more collaborative educational and professional opportunities tied to STEM careers. NAU members routinely volunteer for STEM events, activities and student engagements as part of the district’s affiliation with numerous DOD schools across Europe.

The chief’s top priority is supporting national security. Europe District boosts that objective through the fielding of its Forward Engineer Support Team-Advanced. The FEST-A’s primary mission is to provide technical engineer support and conduct consequence management and stability operations in support of military and civilian agencies.

The 13-member team deployed to Liberia at the end of October for Operation United Assistance, the U.S. Agency for International Development-led campaign to combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The FEST supported construction of 10 Ebola treatment units and is playing an integral part in theater closure as the operation draws to an end. In February 2014, the unit wrapped up a separate six-month deployment to Jordan, where it was part of a special U.S. task force set up to build the host nation’s capabilities and help provide aid for refugees from neighboring Syria.

Elsewhere, NAU completed scores of small humanitarian-assistance projects to promote EUCOM and AFRICOM theater security cooperation objectives. In January, officials cut the ribbon on a new Nutrition Rehabilitation Center in Ghana. Other recent efforts completed in Africa include an exercise-related construction project at Thebephatshwa Air Base in Botswana; a junior high school building in Grumesa, Ghana; and six new schools to help shape the future of Togo.

Europe District also enjoyed major humanitarian-assistance successes across EUCOM’s sphere of influence. Within the past year, USACE helped open an elderly day care center and shelter for victims of domestic violence in Serbia; a renovated primary school in Kosovo; and refurbished kindergarten in Tbilisi, Georgia.