District among top USACE programs in FY2015

Published Oct. 20, 2015
WIESBADEN, Germany – As the fiscal calendar hits 2016, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District is looking back at another strong year supporting its many strategic partners in two theaters.

With more than $668 million in construction placement and over 6.5 million employee hours on project sites, Europe District had one of the three largest military construction programs in all of USACE. It also ranked among the top five districts in dollar value of contract obligations for fiscal year 2015, which ended Sept. 30, officials announced. The organization’s contract actions were spread across more than 30 countries throughout Europe and Africa, including Israel.

“Europe District continues to be one of the most relevant and strategically important districts in all of USACE,” said Col. Matthew Tyler, district commander. “Our engineering, construction, and environmental support within the European Command and Africa Command areas of responsibility, consisting of 104 countries, help in executing their missions and boost regional and global security for the U.S., our allies and closest partners.”

Tyler said Europe District, which covers the largest geographic operational area in the Army Corps of Engineers, strengthens national security through its work for the two U.S. combatant commands and their forward-deployed forces. That pace remained brisk this past fiscal year.

The district is managing construction of Aegis Ashore Missile Defense Complex projects in Romania and Poland, along with radar sites in other countries, enabling the U.S. and NATO to counter ballistic-missile threats in Europe and the Middle East. At the same time, the organization plays a vital role in EUCOM’s effort to reassure allies and increase the alliance’s readiness while deterring Russian aggression, officials said.

In fiscal 2015, the district awarded more than 100 European Reassurance Initiative projects – ranging from operations and maintenance facilities to training areas, airfield improvements and range infrastructure – in Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. EUCOM officials say these sites will serve U.S. and NATO training requirements and contingency operations.

“Like always, the Europe District team was poised at year-end to execute several projects to support the missions of combatant commands, Army garrisons and other DOD agencies. Fiscal year 2015 was an exceptional year,” said Lalit Wadhwa, chief of Europe District’s Program Management Branch.

“In addition to the normal FSRM [facilities, sustainment, restoration and modernization] project workload, we were assigned a key, time-sensitive and fast-paced European Reassurance Initiative program. ... Our team – in consultation with EUCOM, U.S. Army Europe and U.S. Air Forces in Europe – accomplished site visits, completed scopes of work, conducted planning charrettes and assisted U.S. forces with engineering solutions that enabled commanders to meet their mission goals. The Europe District team achieved excellent results within six months of being assigned the ERI mission.”

To meet the growing workload, USACE will establish three new field offices in Eastern Europe this fiscal year, district officials said. A new resident office is planned for Redzikowo Air Base, Poland, to support the Missile Defense Agency and Navy. ERI project offices are coming to Tallinn, Estonia, and Drawsko Pomorskie, Poland, with more possible, depending on ERI program demands.

Elsewhere is fiscal 2015, Europe District carried out several key projects in direct support of the Israel Ministry of Defense, Defense Health Agency, Department of Defense Education Activity and Installation Management Command-Europe, Wadhwa said.

Engineers turned over administrative facilities for the Air Force in Turkey and AFRICOM on Kelley Barracks in Stuttgart. Both garnered Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

“These sustainable projects allow U.S. forces to be less dependent on outside energy resources and help protect the integrity of systems required to accomplish their missions,” Tyler said.

USACE leaders said Europe District continued improving quality of life, education and health care for service members, civilians and families this past year by replacing aging facilities with state-of-the-art, environmentally friendly buildings across the Continent.

New DODEA school complexes opened at U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart and Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in Mons, Belgium. Last October, the district also broke ground on the Rhine Ordnance Barracks Medical Center Replacement project. The facility is expected to replace the Army’s Landstuhl Regional Medical Center sometime in 2022.

Mass-grading work has begun at the site in Weilerbach, near Ramstein Air Base, to be followed by infrastructure utilities, an access control point and clinic structures, Wadhwa said.

Furthermore, across Europe and Africa, USACE oversaw the construction and renovation of 32 medical and dental projects in fiscal 2015.

Wadhwa said the agency remains committed to assisting EUCOM and AFRICOM combatant commanders with their theater security cooperation missions on both continents. Over the past fiscal year, the district managed more than 80 construction projects tied to Foreign Military Sales, counternarcotics and trafficking, U.S. Export Control and Related Border Security, humanitarian-assistance, exercise, training and equipping efforts in Europe and Africa.

As partner-agency funds become available at year-end, the Contracting Division typically encounters a surge in work between July and September. In the fourth quarter alone, Europe District completed over 1,000 contract actions valued at more than $500 million, its commander said.

“Given how complex our work is, it was an amazing team effort from within the whole organization to accomplish so much this past fiscal year,” he added. “What truly matters, though, is the positive impact the district’s efforts provide to our many, many partners. Our work clearly assists with furthering their missions and goals.”