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.
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.”
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.”
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.”