The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Engineer Regiment hosted a senior delegation of Brazilian Army engineer officers Nov. 13 to 16, for a wide-ranging tour as part of an ongoing military engineering partnership between the two nations.

The Brazilian delegation included Gen. Anisio David de Oliveira Jr., chief of the Brazilian Army Dept. of Engineering and Construction, Maj. Gen. Everton Pacheco da Silva, Brazilian military attaché in Washington, and other senior officers.

U.S. Army Engineer leaders escorted the delegation to the USACE Mississippi Valley Division (MVD) headquarters and USACE Engineering Research and Development Center (ERDC) in Vicksburg, Mississippi; the U.S. Army Engineer School at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri; and the Pentagon and USACE Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

A delegation of senior engineer leaders from the Brazilian Army visit the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mississippi Valley Division and ride an inspection barge along the Mississippi River at Vicksburg, Nov. 13, 2023. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo)

“We were incredibly proud to host Gen. David and his team's visit with our engineer family. The relationship we share with our Brazilian counterparts is extremely important to us both,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Kimberly M. Colloton, USACE deputy commanding general for military and international operations. “Our ongoing dialogue over many years enables us to explore new ideas to help each other to address existing and emerging environmental and climate risks, understand design and construction challenges, and share best practices for solving our nations’ toughest problems.”

While at MVD on Nov. 13, the delegation received a brief by the division’s commanding general, Brig. Gen. Kimberly A. Peeples, about the importance of the Mississippi Valley Division and its mission to serve the region by providing vital public engineering services and stewardship of water resource infrastructure, partnering in peace and war, strengthening the nation’s security, energizing the economy, and reducing risks from disasters.

A delegation of senior engineer leaders from the Brazilian Army meet with U.S. Army engineer leaders during a visit the U.S. Army Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and U.S. Army Engineer School on Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri, Nov. 15, 2023. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo)

The delegation rode an inspection barge along the Mississippi River at Vicksburg, where they met the USACE Vicksburg District commander, Col. Christopher Klein, and learned about the Mat Sinking Unit (MSU). The MSU places hundreds of thousands of articulated concrete mats, also known as revetment, along the Mississippi River to protect flood control works, prevent riverbank erosion, and provide navigable waterways for commercial transportation. The unit’s work spans the jurisdictions of the Memphis, Vicksburg, and New Orleans districts and more than 1,500 miles of river.

During their Nov. 14 visit to ERDC, the delegation received overviews of a variety of coastal, digital and geotechnical technology. They visited the Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory for a presentation on the center’s ship simulator and physical river models. At the Information Technology Laboratory, they received more information about CAD/BIM technology, and at the Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory, they learned about ERDC research in the area of post blast forensics.

Leaders from the Brazilian Army and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers walk through the USACE Headquarters in Washington, D.C., Nov. 16, 2023. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo)

At Ft. Leonard Wood on Nov. 15, the delegation met U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Christopher Beck, commanding general of the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Ft. Leonard Wood. They learned about the U.S. Army Engineer School and even tried out bulldozer simulators. They visited the Contingency Basing Integration Training and Evaluation Center (CBITEC), which provides U.S. Army Prime Power School students with testing facilities throughout their year-long training program. They also visited combat engineer mine detection dogs and learned about their training program.

Ft. Leonard Wood is the home of the U.S. Army Engineer Regiment, which encompasses over a dozen engineer-related military occupational specialties and represents more than 80,000 uniformed personnel assigned to Engineer units across the active Army, National Guard and Army Reserve.

The visit concluded in Washington, D.C., Nov. 16, where the delegation visited the Pentagon, including the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works and the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment. They were welcomed to the USACE headquarters by Colloton, who also joined them for dinner along with U.S. Army Maj. Gen. William “Butch” Graham, deputy chief of engineers and USACE deputy commanding general, and other senior USACE leaders. The dinner also included a performance by the U.S. Army Band.

A delegation of senior engineer leaders from the Brazilian Army visit the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mississippi Valley Division and ride an inspection barge along the Mississippi River at Vicksburg, Nov. 13, 2023. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo)

“The delegation was very impressed with how well they were received in all visits and especially at the dinner,” said Marcelo Salles, USACE South Atlantic Division’s international program manager, who accompanied the Brazilian leaders throughout the trip. “The Army Band was a great success.”

Regular visits between the Brazilian and U.S. armies’ chiefs of engineers began in 2006, along with other long-running initiatives to continually enhance engineering partnership and increase technical interoperability between the two armies.

Another key feature of the U.S.-Brazilian army engineer partnership is the ongoing Military Personnel Exchange Program, which started approximately 20 years ago. The current MPEP positions were established 10 years ago and include a Brazilian colonel at MVD’s division headquarters, a Brazilian colonel at ERDC, and a U.S. Army captain serving in the Brazilian Army’s 1st Engineer Group.

Rowan University’s Center for Research & Education in Advanced Transportation Engineering Systems (CREATES) has been awarded a $30 million, five-year contract—with the first two years funded at $11.5 million— from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), to expand Arctic region research.

Led by Yusuf Mehta, Ph.D., and Ayman Ali, Ph.D., CREATES researchers are developing innovative construction technologies and materials to withstand fluctuating temperatures and surface conditions in cold regions impacted by climate change. The work spans a wide range of projects, including the design and evaluation of new pavement materials, as well as their production and maintenance. 

Among other projects, the additional Army Ground Advanced Technology funding will support:

Rising temperatures, thawing permafrost and eroding coastlines are challenging the military’s transportation infrastructure in the Arctic, affecting roads, runways and bridges. Research engineers from ERDC’s Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) work closely with universities around the country, guiding studies, providing expertise and helping to develop the next generation of engineers.

“Our collaboration with Army Corps research engineers allows us to explore creative solutions for cold regions, from pavements that can melt ice and detect frost to more resilient asphalt and concrete materials that can withstand cold conditions,” Mehta said. “Even better, we’re developing the next generation of engineers who will continue to advance the field of transportation engineering.”

(Courtesy image)

Accompanied by a team of scientists, Dr. Ivan Beckman, CRREL deputy director, spent several days recently at Rowan University visiting labs and hearing the latest updates on the center’s progress. He said he was impressed by the center’s facilities, laboratories and procedures, as well as the professionalism of Rowan faculty and students.

“The lifeblood of CRREL is academia,” Beckman said. “Students, scientific research and very basic scientific understanding is very important to our mission and cold regions research. We always seek out great ideas and great partnerships with universities.”

In addition to site visits, Danielle Kennedy, CRREL program director and a research civil engineer, meets weekly with various teams from CREATES.

“We have been working with Rowan since 2016 and the CREATES program has grown a lot since then,” Kennedy noted. “It’s helped us grow our technology areas at the ERDC a lot, as well. We’re going to conferences with the students and presenting work together. We’re publishing papers together. It’s really been a beneficial relationship for both ERDC and Rowan. I think there’s a lot of potential for future capabilities with all these projects that we’re developing now.”

(Courtesy image)

The collaboration includes workforce development. Earlier this year, CRREL hired Seth Wagner, a Rowan University doctoral student at CREATES. Wagner visited campus recently in his professional capacity.

“I went through graduate school specifically so I could continue doing research,” said Wagner, a civil engineer who received his bachelor’s degree in 2016 and his master’s degree in 2019, both from Rowan. “And now I’m being paid full time to do research. It’s pretty much exactly what I was looking for.”

Besides driving innovation and developing new technologies, the center is fully invested in workforce development, noted Rowan University Provost Tony Lowman.

“Ever since CREATES launched in 2016, Dr. Mehta and his team have worked with industry and government partners to meet their needs for workforce training and research goals,” Lowman said. “What has been particularly successful is how well they prepare students to continue that work after graduation. This close working relationship with our partners is exactly what we hoped to accomplish and we’re excited to see where our graduates go next.”

(Courtesy image)

In addition to projects and internships for undergraduates, more than 40 master’s and doctoral students in the Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering are pursuing CREATES-related research, contributing to the rapid growth of the college’s graduate programs, said Dean Giuseppe Palmese.

“Dr. Mehta and his colleagues are demonstrating the power of our hands-on, minds-on engineering education,” Palmese said. “This award will significantly expand research opportunities for many more students. Their work will make an impact.”

atrium of a new VA medical center

Canandaigua, New York – Another milestone was recently reached on the Canandaigua VA Medical Center construction project as the USACE team was able to turnover the Phase 1 facilities back to the Department of Veterans Affairs Canandaigua VA Medical Center.

The work taking place at the Canandaigua VA Medical Center is currently allotted into three phases. Phase 1 included demolition of Building 2, construction of an Outpatient Clinic, a Chilled Water/Emergency Power Plant, new power and water systems, and temporary Laboratory and Main Kitchen to support ongoing healthcare operations throughout the nearly six-year construction period.

Gerry DiPaola, USACE Project Manager for the Canandaigua VA Medical Center construction, attributed success thus far to the teamwork and dedication of the entire Project Delivery Team.

“Over the past six years, the number of team members working tirelessly towards this milestone, including those that have moved on from the project, is impressive. They have overcome many challenges to ensure the work in Phase 1 was able to be completed,” he said. “I want to acknowledge the efforts of our CFM partners, working together, to bring this project to reality for the Veterans of the Finger Lakes region.”

VA dental clinic rooms
Building 2 of the Canandaigua VA Medical Center includes a dental clinic for patients to receive care. (USACE photo by Michael Maddox)

Matthew Lowe, Chief of the Veterans Affairs Division for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville District, agreed that partnership has been key to the success of the project.

“Renovating and upgrading a VA medical center influences multiple stakeholders with a variety of interests and issues to navigate. It was very encouraging to have everyone involved working together to ensure success for this project,” he added. “The VA team, both CFM and the Canandaigua Medical Center have been instrumental in working through challenges and unknowns throughout these projects. I believe any success on the project is directly tied to the partnership having a mutual interest and overall goal of delivering for our Veterans.”

DiPaola said there are many issues that need to be considered when working on an active medical facility’s campus.

“One key consideration is to be able to have an active functioning medical center, in other words, maintaining patient services and seeing them with minimal disruption to their normal routine while the work was taking place,” he said. “It’s a great accomplishment - keeping the existing facility up in operation while constructing new infrastructure and renovating the existing.”

exterior medical Center Chiller Plant
The Canandaigua VA Medical Center Chiller Plant, shown here Aug. 24. (USACE photo by Michael Maddox)

The work being done at the Canandaigua VA Medical Center is possible due to recommendations from the Department of Veterans Affairs Capital Asset Realignment for Enhanced Services (CARES) study, which identified that some decades-old facilities were being underutilized.

“This project enhances the use of the current VA Medical Center in Canandaigua. A study was conducted by the VA and it identified an underutilization of facilities at Canandaigua and so to improve services and Veteran access, planners at the Department of Veterans Affairs called for a modern and consolidated outpatient clinic - a 21st-century outpatient clinic - along with community living center complex, to include cottages and community center, to provide housing to veterans that would benefit from an assisted living type of environment,” DiPaola explained. “So basically, the project improves the delivery of healthcare by consolidating infrastructure and clinical services under one roof and enhances the assisted living care type of facility.”

Lowe said he is proud to be a part of this project that will benefit thousands of Veterans for years to come.

“For over 25 years, I’ve had the pleasure to be involved with new construction, renovated facilities and infrastructure projects on various military installations, but VA projects are special. You are proud to be part of something that supports and takes care of our Veterans,” he shared. “In a small way, all of us working these projects get to serve the men and women who were willing to sacrifice it all for our country. It’s humbling and I’m grateful to be part of what we’re doing to benefit Veterans.”

The Canandaigua VA Medical Center project includes the construction of a new 84,000 square foot Outpatient Clinic, a new chiller/emergency generator plant, renovates 85,000 square feet of existing facility space, and upgrades of existing roadways and site utilities as well as the construction of eight cottages comprising 96 individual rooms in a neighborhood like setting and a community center.

These state-of-the-art facilities were designed to blend seamlessly into the existing historical campus and provide world-class healthcare to approximately 65,000 Veterans living in the greater Finger Lakes region.

CAT Backup Generators in Basement of Hospital

In the heart of Bethesda, Maryland sits the campus of the 243-acre Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC), a bastion of hope and healing for countless veterans and active-duty service members. Its gleaming white walls and towering oak trees conceal a world of dedication and tireless effort required to keep the vast institution running smoothly.

The Operation and Maintenance Engineering Enhancement (OMEE) Program at the U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville, is providing a simplified process to respond to the growing operation and maintenance needs of WRNMMC using streamlined processes that delivers low-cost, quick- response contracts for the operation, preventive maintenance, and repair and replacement of equipment for the sprawling campus.

The OMEE program uses a suite of Indefinite Delivery / Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) operation and maintenance (O&M) service contracts to execute maintenance requirements across the portfolio of Medical Treatment Facilities (MTF), said Chris Moore, OMEE program manager.  WRNMMC is one such customer.

“Our contractor was selected on their ability to perform in medical facilities and are very knowledgeable in The Joint Commission (TJC) facility accreditation requirements,” Moore said.

The Base Realignment and Closure recommendations of 2005, the Office of Integration (OI) was formed in November 2005 to oversee the merger of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) and the National Naval Medical Center (NNMC).

Walter Reed National Military Medical Center is the flagship of military medicine, also known as the President’s Hospital and the Nation’s Medical Center and is the world's largest joint military medical center with more than 2.4 million square feet of clinical space, more than 7,000 staff members providing care and services to more than 1 million beneficiaries every year.

Moore said since WRNMMC is a major hospital with aging infrastructure, there are challenges every day that the team OMEE team must overcome.

For example, Moore said, they recently had an air handler go down that rendered operating rooms unusable. 

“The OMEE staff, contractor and WRNMMC site team responded in record time to add funding, scope, award, and executed the work,” Moore said.

“The hospital experienced the smallest possible service disruption and returned to full mission readiness very quickly.  This work was handled as corrective maintenance (a service order), and it is just one example of many where the project development team serves our servicemembers and veterans with excellence.”

OMEE has provided some level of services to Walter Reed for over 10 years.
However, this iteration of the contract providing Operations and Maintenance (O&M) services for WRNMH was awarded in 2022 and as part of Multiple Award Task Order Contract (MATOC) OMEE VI with a total duration of three years and a value of $40 million. 

Moore said the contract calls for preventative maintenance, such as maintaining the electrical and mechanical systems through regular service, and corrective maintenance, such as providing rapid response to unplanned facility related disruptions like generator failures.

Navy Cmdr. Russ Jarvis, WRNMMC chief of facilities, said ensuring the facilities are operational can be quite a challenge due to the magnitude of WRNMMC’s mission, but having the OMEEE contract gives him confidence that when something breaks down, the contractor is focused on resolving the issues quickly. 

“The contract provides service for over 4,000,000 square feet throughout the hospital campus,” Jarvis said.

“We have a lot of equipment to keep running, and OMEE is an important part that keeps us functioning effectively and having this one contract to react to emergencies 24-7 is instrumental for the staff to provide care and services to the patients,” Jarvis said.

November 14, 2023 - NIKA, a global provider of facility life cycle solutions announced that it has been awarded an $840 million multi-disciplinary contract by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). NIKA will provide general project support services, facility operations and maintenance support, facility support services, project development support services, quantity verification and analysis services, commissioning, occupancy support services, and facilities system support for medical facilities in the Defense Health Agency (DHA) Facilities Enterprise (FE) located in the Contiguous United States, Alaska, Hawaii, and U.S. Territories.  

Under this Medical Facilities Support Services (MFSS) IIIa contract, NIKA is able to provide project support services in a variety of functional areas, including inpatient facilities support, clinical area support, and ancillary support. As a previous prime contract holder on MFSS I and II CONUS, and MFSS II OCONUS, NIKA is well-positioned to continue providing exceptional facility support services for this new contract vehicle.

"We are excited to continue serving our DHA customers under the MFSS vehicle," said Kabir Chaudhary, CEO/President at NIKA. "NIKA is currently providing these critical services to DHA medical facilities across the globe and will continue to bring the same level of commitment to improving health and building readiness as we have successfully done for the last decade of this most important mission."This indefinite delivery indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract has a duration of seven years with a three-year base and two, 24 month options.

About NIKA

NIKA delivers comprehensive services and solutions to support the full life cycle of facilities. For more than two decades, the Department of Defense and federal civilian agencies, as well as commercial and higher education institutions, have trusted NIKA to design, build, operate, and manage their real property. By combining facilities operations management, engineering, and logistics services, we provide value and expertise for complex and mission critical facilities and infrastructure. Headquartered in Rockville, MD with offices in San Antonio, TX, NIKA helps clients enhance operational excellence in locations around the globe.

For more information about NIKA, please visit

marine observes blast hole

A Marine Innovation Unit (MIU) representative observed a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers demonstration of automated additive construction techniques at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, October 19, 2023.

Marine Corps Maj. Max Wineland, a special operations command liaison officer representing MIU, observed the technique used to build a concrete structure and perform blast testing conducted on a 3D printed structure. The event was held to help educate service members on this technology and create a new way to quickly build safe and reliable structures.

“There were two main reasons the MIU got involved,” said Wineland. “One, there was a call to bring in subject matter experts to participate in the build using this 3D printing technique to provide the team feedback. The second main reason is so that we’re staying abreast of new and upcoming technology that is being developed by the Army Corps of Engineers that the Marine Corps might be interested in pursuing in the future.”

Before the blast, participants began learning about this technology in a classroom setting.

people speaking in the rain
Members of the Marine Innovation Unit, along with the Army Corps of Engineers, discuss the conducting of a controlled detonation on a new 3D-printed concrete structure at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, October 19, 2023. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Jonathan L. Gonzalez)

“We trained Air Force, Army and Marines on how to go through and print,” said Megan Krieger, program manager of the additive construction program, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “We were in a classroom setting where we trained them on everything from the materials development all the way through to operating the computer and completing the construction process.”

It was important the trainees had a basic understanding of the materials they were working with.

“The goal is to do expedient construction to really benefit the war fighters and to essentially reduce the logistics to be able to print with locally available materials,” said Krieger. “We are not using proprietary materials; we go into a site and we are able to print within days of us arriving.”

After learning about additive printing, the service members jumped into action. With the help of USACE, they completed the project in five days.

group of people outdoor discussion
Members of the Marine Innovation Unit, along with the Army Corps of Engineers, discuss the conducting of a controlled detonation on a new 3D-printed concrete structure at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, October 19, 2023. This follow-on engagement demonstrates an experimental form of construction which uses 3D printing using liquid concrete to manufacture deliberate, sustainable construction and recovery, and update service policies to support increasing use of local and tactical manufacturing. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Jonathan L. Gonzalez)

According to Krieger, this is the first time a full-size building was created using additive construction. Additive construction is when an object is created one layer at a time. This structure, a small, rectangular concrete building with no windows and only one door, took about 18 hours to print. Despite having the capabilities to build more complex structures, it is important they keep it basic.

“When we do the blast testing, we have to have very simple geometry in order to collect reliable data,” explained Krieger. “Right now, we’re testing the baseline; it’s normal geometry with no improvements.”

With the structure completed, the blast testing commenced. The subject matter experts were there to assess the damage once the dust cleared.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Jonathan L. Gonzalez)

“The weapons-effects specialists have techniques to look at cracks to see how the structure responded to the explosion and they can assess the strength from there,” said Wineland.

The USACE team hopes to continue this joint project and eventually create software design and repositories to help make printing a simple, quick process for service members.

“We really want the uniformed personnel to be able to take this technology and build for themselves,” said Krieger.

before and after photo collage of maintenance work

No one likes to do the maintenance. That’s true whether talking about a house, a car or multi-million-dollar missile defense infrastructure. Or so says Brian Ball, the chief of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Middle East District’s (TAM) Procurements and Services Branch.

The branch can provide regular and corrective maintenance for facilities, equipment, procurement of spare parts & consumables, and new or replacement construction for facility related equipment, building renovations as well as training and professional services support.

“We build some really great facilities for our mission partners,” said Ball. “But even the best facilities only last if you maintain them. Our District has had a presence in the Middle East for over 70 years and some of our early projects are still around today. But we’ve also seen cases where we built something, no one does the maintenance on it, and even just a few years later its fallen into a state of disrepair.”

contractor performing maintenance
Contractors perform routine operations and maintenance work for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Middle East District. (USACE photo by Joe Macri)

TAM is unique among USACE districts in that most of it’s work is done on behalf of U.S. allied nation partners. When the U.S. sells weapons systems or military equipment (aircraft, missile defense, etc.) through foreign military sales cases, those nations will often pay TAM to build the infrastructure for those systems. Using USACE helps ensure what’s known as a “total package approach and means that the FMS partner will not only receive the actual equipment but that the infrastructure to support it is built by an organization familiar with the requirements. It can also include follow on material such as spare parts and training to help ensure everything is kept in good working order.

Ball said that using his branch benefits his district and USACE as well as their mission partners.

“It's in our best interest to see the facilities we build reach their full service-life potential and not fall into disrepair,” Ball stated. “Our customers benefit from that increase in facility lifespan and from not having to dedicate their own time and personnel to maintenance activities. We benefit because these big, fancy, impressive buildings we’ve built remain in good condition and can serve as showpieces and points of advertisement for USACE’s design and construction quality.”

USACE contractors perform work in Middle East
Contractors typically perform work under Operations and Maintenance Contracts that the District routinely executes for USACE’s U.S. military and allied nation partners in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. (USACE photo by Joe Macri)

According to Ball, one of the biggest challenges of his job is convincing the district’s mission partners to use his services.

“It’s sometimes hard to measure success in a program that’s meant to prevent something bad from happening rather than just building something. What I will say is that I’ve yet to see an instance where a mission partner has asked us to stop providing O&M services on any facility once we’ve put a program in place."

Ball was also quick to attribute much of the success his branch to the district’s contracting section.

“Anything you could say about the uniqueness of our mission in (TAM) Programs and Project Management, you can say about them in the context of the USACE Contracting Community and our contracting section. “What we do is not unique but the expertise with which we are able to do it providing our mission partners with what they need when they need it is. This is something we’ve developed over time and we’d love to see utilized more and more.”

The Omaha District is currently partnering with the U.S. Air Force to renovate the Cadet Field House athletic facility at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. This facility has been a cornerstone of athletic and academic life since its construction in the mid-1960s and has not undergone a major renovation since it was built.

The facility currently houses Clune Arena, a 6,002-seat basketball court, Cadet Ice Arena, a 2,502-seat ice hockey rink, a 293-yard six-lane indoor track with seating for 925 spectators, a 97-yard AstroTurf playing field, and a 2,309-square-foot athletic training room. More than just an athletic facility, the field house plays a role in fostering a sense of community and camaraderie among cadets. It often serves as a community space for various academy events, from sports competitions to ceremonies and social gatherings.

The Omaha District is currently partnering with the U.S. Air Force to renovate the Cadet Field House athletic facility at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. This facility has been a cornerstone of athletic and academic life since its construction in the mid-1960s and has not undergone a major renovation since it was built.
The Omaha District is currently partnering with the U.S. Air Force to renovate the Cadet Field House athletic facility at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. This facility has been a cornerstone of athletic and academic life since its construction in the mid-1960s and has not undergone a major renovation since it was built. (USACE photo by Samuel Weldin)

The facility is being upgraded to align with current NCAA Division I standards. Renovations include new basketball court flooring and powered primary basketball goals, updated hockey arena dasher boards, renovated facility locker rooms, and replacement of the entire HVAC system. Additionally, there will be general flooring rehabilitation and the installation of energy-efficient LED lighting throughout the facility. Exterior work includes roof replacement, roof anchor installation, and the expansion of roof drainage systems. The building envelope will be sealed, and fire-rated coatings will be applied to the existing steel roof structures to enhance fire resistance.

Construction also includes a state-of-the-art hydraulic banked running track. This specialized athletic track features an adaptable running surface that allows coaches and athletes to raise and lower the track surface at each end to specific angles of embankment, incorporating slope into the turns. This modernized feature helps athletes maintain their speed on turns and aids in minimizing potential injuries.

basketball court on top of ice arena
(USACE photo by Samuel Weldin)

While the primary focus of the different phases of construction, that began back in 2021, address the upgrade of mechanical systems, fixtures and lighting throughout the building, as well as remediation of existing life safety issues and code deficiencies, each phase also provides improvements in isolated areas of the building to meet programmatic requirements identified by the USAFA Athletic Department. Upon completion, the Cadet Field House will fully support the rigorous athletic training requirements of NCAA Division I standards, allowing the USAFA to host Division I athletic tournaments in the future.

The United States Air Force Academy upholds an incredibly storied history of prestige and tradition. The academy was authorized in 1954 by President Dwight D. Eisenhauer and has been continuously graduating hundreds of newly commissioned U.S. Air Force officers annually in support of the national security of our Nation. This project underscores the commitment to developing leaders of character who exemplify the Air Force's core values of “integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do.”

indoor arena construction materials
(USACE photo by Samuel Weldin)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District regularly partners with other Department of Defense agencies in these endeavors. These renovations enable the academy to continue providing world-class athletic training facilities for cadets, preparing them to excel as airmen in the most challenging environments.

This $133 million project began in 2018 and is scheduled to be complete by 2025.

An environmental contractor checks granular activated carbon and resin tanks at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, that are part of a $27.6 million Air Force Civil Engineer Center-led soil washing project that uses innovative technology to separate soil fractions and reduce the concentrations of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, in soil. (Courtesy Photo by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Alaska District)

The Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center recently launched a large-scale soil washing effort to remove per- and polyfluoroalkyl, or PFAS, pollutants at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska.  

The $27.6 million military construction-funded project is led by a joint team from the Air Force Civil Engineer Center and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Alaska District, and supports the Department of the Air Force’s effort to address PFAS at the close air support training installation. AFCEC is a primary subordinate unit of AFIMSC.  

Soil washing is a closed-loop, water-based process that separates soil fractions and captures PFAS substances in granular activated carbon and ion-exchange resin filters, said Guy Warren, Project Manager at USACE’s Alaska District who manages onsite project execution.  

This remediation technology has been in the market for the past three decades, but the partners have expanded its applicability to treat highly challenging fluorinated chemicals.

This is the coarse sands fraction after it has been washed and dewatered by the sand screws and shaker at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. The Air Force Civil Engineer Center recently launched a $27.6 million soil washing project to separate soil fractions and reduce the concentrations of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, in soil. (U.S. Air Force photo by Nicole Drenning)
This is the coarse sands fraction after it has been washed and dewatered by the sand screws and shaker at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. The Air Force Civil Engineer Center recently launched a $27.6 million soil washing project to separate soil fractions and reduce the concentrations of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, in soil. (U.S. Air Force photo by Nicole Drenning)

“This is the first-time soil washing has been used to treat PFAS-impacted soil,” said Michael Boese AFCEC Lead Restoration Project Manager at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. 

AFCEC awarded the contract through USACE in November 2022 to treat and dispose of 130,000 cubic yards of PFAS-impacted soil that had been excavated during a MILCON project to build infrastructure to house F-35A fighter squadrons.  

The cleanup effort began in August 2023 and is projected to be complete in summer 2025.  

“Both AFCEC and USACE teams bring deep technical, engineering and environmental knowledge and have played a key role in determining a viable and cost-effective technology to treat Eielson’s soil piles,” said Roy Willis, AFCEC Restoration Project Manager at JBER.

An environmental contractor holds coarse sands fraction after it has been washed and dewatered by the sand screws and shaker at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. The Air Force Civil Engineer Center recently launched a $27.6 million soil washing project to separate soil fractions and reduce the concentrations of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, in soil. (U.S. Air Force photo by Nicole Drenning)
An environmental contractor holds coarse sands fraction after it has been washed and dewatered by the sand screws and shaker at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. (U.S. Air Force photo by Nicole Drenning)

Prior to selecting soil washing for the Eielson project, AFCEC environmental restoration experts participated in two PFAS pilot studies at Eielson AFB funded by the Department of Defense’s Environmental Security Technology Certification Program. The pilot program provided a site-specific comparison of the cost and performance for two viable technologies – soil washing and thermal desorption.  

Additionally, with the support of USACE, the Air Force conducted a similar soil washing study at Colorado’s Peterson AFB. 

Data obtained from soil washing pilot studies showed high success rates achieving more than 99% PFAS reduction in the coarse soil fraction in Colorado and approximately 70% in fine-grained soils at the Alaska installation.  

“We determined soil washing to be the most effective technology for the scale and scope of the Eielson project,” Willis said. “The team feels confident this technology will bring successful results.” 

Since the project’s kick-off, Eielson’s treatment plant is fully operational and approximately 1,500 cubic yards of soil have been processed. Due to the weather, the field season will resume in May and run through September when the operation is expected to be in full swing and treating 30 cubic yards of soil per hour. 

This is the coarse sands fraction after it has been washed and dewatered by the sand screws and shaker at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. The Air Force Civil Engineer Center recently launched a $27.6 million soil washing project to separate soil fractions and reduce the concentrations of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, in soil. (U.S. Air Force photo by Nicole Drenning)
This is the coarse sands fraction after it has been washed and dewatered by the sand screws and shaker at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. (U.S. Air Force photo by Nicole Drenning)

“Once the soil has been cleaned and deemed safe with no PFAS detection or levels below the Alaska state standards, it can then be repurposed for other projects,” Boese said. “However, if there is detection, we will dispose it within PFAS guidance.” 

The restoration work follows the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation PFAS soil disposal standards.  

Since 2017, AFCEC’s environmental team has been coordinating project requirements with the state and federal regulatory agents ensuring the selected remediation technology is fully approved.  

Use of this technology at other Air Force sites will require a significant volume of impacted soil to make it cost-effective and similar soil type, Warren said. For example, PFAS soils with high clay content may not be suitable for this technology.  

“We are excited to see the effort is already providing results,” Boese said. “The efficacy of soil washing technology will produce cost and performance data that will help DAF and our regulatory partners program and approve future remediation projects.”

Contractors oversee the operation of an Active Vehicle Barrier system at Fort Sill, Oklahoma early last year. The U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville Access Control Program, working closely with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Protective Design Center (PDC) at Omaha District, is modernizing ACP systems to to ensure they continue meeting federal and Department of Defense standards for safety and security. (USACE image)

More than 20 years ago after the 9-11 attacks, the U.S. Department of Defense directed its installations to adopt closed-post security measures to improve security and prevent future terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.

To lead in the efforts to keep military installations and other federal agency facilities safe and secure, the U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville stood up an Access Control Point (ACP) Program to provide for secure access and prevent unauthorized ground vehicles from gaining entry.

In the years following the terror attacks, Huntsville Center’s ACP Program directed its contracting, management, and engineering capabilities to provide design-build construction, procurement and installation of physical security equipment and infrastructure upgrades.

After the post 9-11 surge in military and other federal installation ACP upgrades, the program focused on ensuring the systems performed as intended with maintenance activities tailored to customer’s operational needs.

Today, Huntsville Center’s ACP Program is modernizing to improve installation security.

Lauren Ross, ACP program manager, said the program currently has seven contracts with 10-12 ACP modernization projects ongoing each year.

“The combined efforts of the ACP Program’s project managers save the Government millions each year and ensures the safety and security of DoD personnel nationwide,” Ross said.

Ross said the ACP Program’s modernization efforts provide new or replacement Active Vehicle Barrier (AVB) systems to increase ACP security positions through the continental U.S. (CONUS) including Alaska and Hawaii.

Ross said the ACP Program works closely with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Protective Design Center (PDC) at Omaha District to ensure that all AVB systems meet the latest and greatest Army standards for safety and security.

“In the past few years, the ACP program has installed upwards of 35 new barriers across the U.S. and improved dozens by leveraging technical expertise within USACE to provide customers the best project value,” Ross said.

Technology related to the ACP Program’s modernization efforts have slowly but surely improved over the years.

Brecken Bailey, ACP Program project manager, said one key example is improvement to the Active Vehicle Barrier system controls.

During the initial Army push to install AVBs post-9/11, AVB controls were mechanical buttons on a fixed console, she explained.

Over the years these controls evolved and interactive touchscreen AVB system control consoles are now readily available and affordable.

“The touchscreens give the installations a more user-friendly system with more features improving the guards’ ability to monitor the systems,” Bailey said.

Another way that technology has improved within the ACP Program is drone technology.

 “We are experienced in developing standard compliant solutions for unique and challenging ACP layouts and drones can be -- and have been -- used to scan and help map out the geography at an ACP which assists the engineers with their designs,” Bailey said.

Although Huntsville Center’s ACP program is busy with its modernization efforts, the Center doesn’t work alone.

The program partners with many USACE components to provide maintenance and services, design -build construction, and infrastructure upgrades to ACPs and other facilities worldwide.

“It’s teamwork that make the program successful,” Ross said.

“The ACP Program has an excellent spirit of teamwork with a mission focus. The entire Project Development Team (PDT) understands the importance of the work that we do providing security and safety to DOD personnel and their families who work and live on Installations. We maintain close ties and take care of one another,” Ross said.

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