USACE Partners with USARCENT to Bring Innovative Protection Solutions into Central Command AOR
By Catherine Carroll
USACE, Transatlantic Division
March 17, 2023
Col. William C. Hannan, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division commander, and Edward "Ted" Upson, P.E., PMP, Transatlantic Division engineering and construction chief, met with Col. Christina L. Burton, U.S. Army Central engineer director, and members of her team at Fort Polk, La., to observe a live-fire experiment testing an innovative design improving bunker protection.
Brian J. Blusius, the USACE Transatlantic Middle East District structural engineer who headed up the ARCENT bunker project design team, led the delegation through the experiment which showcased not only the teams’ innovative accomplishments but highlighted the importance of partnerships in overcoming battlefield challenges.
The experiment is the first in a series of large-scale experiments executed by the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center in partnership with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers Transatlantic Division. The overall effort aims to evaluate bunker end wall designs and ventilation options fielded by AFCENT and ARCENT across the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.
A team from the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Transatlantic Division and the USACE Protective Design Center was recently recognized with the 2022 USACE Innovation of the Year Award. The team developed simple and effective bunker enclosure door designs for the U.S. Central Command to help reduce risk for traumatic brain injury to bunker occupants.
(U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo by Jason Scott)
“The USACE Transatlantic Division partners closely with ERDC, CENTCOM, ARCENT and AFCENT to bring critical cutting-edge innovations into the CENTCOM region,” Hannan said. “People, partners and innovation are three top priorities for Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla, commander of CENTCOM, and this project showcases all three. I especially want to acknowledge the outstanding teamwork and dedicated service by all of the people working this project. It will ultimately save lives.”
ERDC also partners with military medical communities to share research outcomes and test data to help fill in the gaps allowing doctors to better assess and treat traumatic brain injuries where the circumstances are often unknown by the treating doctors.
While waiting on the weather to clear for the live fire, the leaders discussed a wide range of ERDC projects and reviewed current ERDC designs and talked through how existing innovations could be used in new ways to meet challenges on the battlefield today and in the future.
"Innovation has to happen at the speed of war,” Burton said. “And innovation isn't just creating something new. Innovation can be taking what we know and what we have and applying it in new ways."