US Army Corps of Engineers
Albuquerque District

Director Discusses Strategic Direction of Corps’ Military Mission

USACE Director of Military Programs
Published April 27, 2012
Robert E. Slockbower was appointment Director of Military Programs, United States Army Corps of Engineers in January 2010.  He is responsible for policy, programming and technical support for the execution of the Corps' program for design, construction and environmental activities in support of the Army, Air Force, other Department of Defense and federal agencies and foreign countries.

Robert E. Slockbower was appointment Director of Military Programs, United States Army Corps of Engineers in January 2010. He is responsible for policy, programming and technical support for the execution of the Corps' program for design, construction and environmental activities in support of the Army, Air Force, other Department of Defense and federal agencies and foreign countries.

In the last decade USACE Military Programs experienced an unprecedented surge in military construction (MILCON) as the result of two major overseas contingency operations, BRAC 2005, Grow the Army Initiative, Modularity and the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009.

During this time, MILCON was largely viewed as a commodity to be delivered. As these initiatives draw down, we usher in a “post-surge era,” where we will deliver a wide variety of engineering solutions to customers facing a dynamic and complex environment.

During the surge, we demonstrated our ability to meet customer requirements on time and on budget. In this new era, the total program value and the number of projects will decrease. However, customer expectations for value will remain high. The demand for enterprise standards and account-ability will increase. Further, new requirements for energy efficiency and sustainability will be integrated into the delivery of all engineering services.

We anticipate increased demand for USACE to function as a systems integrator. Our value to our customer will not always be defined by our ability to “own” processes through all stages of completion. In many cases, we may have to apply a lighter touch, offering our technical expertise in new ways as our customer’s business models change.

As we transition from providing services at historic levels to delivering integrated, innovative, sustainable solutions, we do so in anticipation of the rapidly changing operating environment that impacts our customers, our stake-holders and our organization. The next phase of our transformation will require both a shift in paradigm and capabilities.

We will need to shift our mindset from Military Programs to a more holistic Military Missions. The “Military Programs” mindset was strongly influenced by “stove-piped” organizational units, programs and associated funding streams. To function as a system integrator, we will adapt a Military Missions mindset and draw upon the collective capabilities of USACE located in a number of Directorates to include Military Programs, Civil Work, Research and Development, Human Resources, Resource Management and Contracting, as well as other functional directorates and staff offices. Military Missions captures all USACE organizational support for our military mission, rather than just those offices inside the Military Programs Directorate. It is an expansive term acknowledging our matrix organization and the interconnectivity of the whole organization.

Delivering high value engineering services for our enterprise customers in an era of severely constrained resources will remain a driving future issue for USACE Military Missions.

Several of the factors currently shaping the Military Missions strategic context in the post-surge era include:

·       Significant reduction in MILCON program and number of projects

·       Significant increase in requirements for energy and sustainability solutions

·       Change in customer mix

·       Increased potential requirements for Restoration and Modernization of existing facilities

·       Increased potential requirements to support combatant command theater engagement

·       Increased customer expectation for enterprise solutions

BEING SOLUTIONEERS

Delivering solutions is the heart of our organization. It applies to all our offices and business lines. It is the primary reason that Military Missions exists. It is the reason other agencies come to us—to get something done.

Continuing to meet military mission requirements in this budget-constrained environment is a challenge the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is addressing head-on. Now more than ever, our engineers are faced with managing complexity while driving innovation to meet the current and future infrastructure needs of our military and our Nation.