Air Force Civil Engineer Support Agency
The Air Force Civil Engineer Support Agency provides the best tools, practices and professional support to maximize Air Force civil engineer capabilities in base and contingency operations. AFCESA, a field operating agency, provides products and services in seven major product areas: readiness; training; vehicles and equipment; management practices; automation support; Engineering Support; and research, development and acquisition. The agency has six directorates: Installation Support, Operations Support, Engineering Support, Contingency Support; and Civil Engineer Maintenance, Inspection and Repair Team - CEMIRT - Field Support. The Business Operations Staff rounds out the team.
Much of the work accomplished at HQ AFCESA is in support of the Office of the Civil Engineer located in the Pentagon, Washington DC. The Air Staff functions are to develop and interpret policy, advocate and acquire resources, provide policy and program oversight, determine and validate requirements, and allocate resources. The Office of The Civil Engineer provides the leadership, policies, resources, and oversight to support the Air Force mission by supporting the entire Air Force Civil Engineer team accountable for delivering the highest quality base engineer support to customers.
All the directorates support the major commands in a number of ways. The commands convene at least annually to discuss major programs, policies, budgets, housing, construction, and a number of important subjects. The Civil Engineer Worldwide Conference is usually held at Tyndall AFB in the early part of December. This conference is a major undertaking and requires the assistance of everyone assigned to AFCESA. There are many other conferences and workshops convened during the year at AFCESA or other locations.
The Air Force Civil Engineer Support Agency traces its history back to 1966. In that year, the growing demands of newly-formed civil engineering mobility forces, Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force (BEEF) and RED HORSE, led Maj. Gen. Robert H. Curtin, Director of Civil Engineering, to form the Civil Engineering Construction Operations Group (CECOG) at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. The new organization was a field extension of the Directorate of Civil Engineering, HQ USAF. CECOG's 50 personnel were given responsibility for monitoring, coordinating, and reporting Prime BEEF and RED HORSE activities, particularly in the area of civil engineering equipment.
Two years later, the new Civil Engineering Center (CEC) incorporated CECOG's readiness, and mobility functions with several others including: mobility planning, pavements, operations and planning, and the new bare-base program. CEC provided technical services and planning assistance regarding specialized civil engineering equipment or knowledge beyond that of any one command. For example, CEC sent out specially-trained teams to conduct corrosion control and prevention surveys, airfield pavement evaluations, and aircraft crash/fire rescue assistance and evaluation to bases worldwide.
A number of significant changes occurred in 1972:
- CEC and its 186 personnel moved from Wright-Patterson AFB to Tyndall AFB and became the Air Force Civil Engineering Center (AFCEC)
- AFCEC was placed under Air Force Systems Command (AFSC), and acquired a research and development (R&D) mission.
In 1975, Engineering and Services were combined at the Air Staff level. Air Force Services responsibilities had been under Air Materiel Command and Air Force Logistics Command. In an effort to streamline management, the Air Force Engineering and Services Agency (AFESA) was formed in 1977 with headquarters at Kelly AFB, Texas.
Comprising this new separate operating agency (SOA) were:
- The AFCEC, which remained at Tyndall
- The three Air Force Regional Civil Engineer offices
- The Air Force Services Office (Philadelphia)
- The Civil Engineering Maintenance, Inspection, Repair, and Training Teams (CEMIRT) (Headquartered at Peterson AFB, Colo.)
- The Air Force Mortuary Services Office (Bolling AFB, D.C.)
- The Air Force Commissary Service (Kelly AFB).
AFESA pulled together specialized E&S functions to enhance the quality of Air Force living, and working conditions. But this organization was short lived. The following year, Secretary of the Air Force John C. Stetson decided to reduce the Air Staff presence in the Washington area. As a result, the Air Force Engineering and Services Center (AFESC) was formed. The new SOA was activated on June 30, 1978, with Brig. Gen. Clifton D. Wright Jr., as its first commander.
AFESC included all of AFESA except for the Commissary Service and the Mortuary Office. In addition, the R&D function was realigned under AFESC along with 153 positions from the Washington, D.C. area. However, before the move to Florida could be completed, the decision was made to keep 97 of the positions in Washington, D.C. as an AFESC operating location. The real estate, construction, engineering, and most of the environmental functions remained in Washington, DC.
In addition to the missions present in 1978, AFESC added and expanded a number of missions:
- The Construction Cost Management Group was formed in 1981 to perform independent cost analyses on major construction projects.
- The Air Force Mortuary Affairs Office was transferred from the Air Force Manpower and Personnel Center to AFESC in 1984.
- The training program at the Prime BEEF training site, which moved from Tyndall to Field 4, Eglin AFB in 1979, was expanded to provide integrated unit wartime training in base recovery after attack to Prime BEEF, Prime RIBS, Prime FARE, Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD), and Disaster Preparedness personnel.
- The Computer Applications and Development Directorate grew to support the worldwide fielding of WIMS and SIMS. The E&S Programs Office was created in 1987 to manage full-scale engineering development, and acquisition programs and was later merged with the Laboratory.
In early 1991, the Center's policy functions were transferred to AF/CE, and AFESC became a Field Operating Agency. The name of the Air Force Engineering and Services Center was changed to the Air Force Civil Engineering Support Agency on August 1, 1991, reflecting the changing nature of the organization's mission of technical assistance to the field. The name was later changed to the Air Force Civil Engineer Support Agency, consistent with a change in the functional title. The Services mission was transferred to the Air Force Morale, Welfare, Recreation, and Services Agency in October 1991 and the Research, Development, and Acquisition Directorate was assigned to Air Force Materiel Command in 1992. The Agency added Disaster Preparedness, and EOD to its responsibilities in 1992. In 1993, control of the training site shifted to Air Combat Command as the Eglin site closed and moved to Tyndall.
Along with these changes came a reorganization within the Agency designed to meet the needs of a smaller Air Force of the 1990s. The current directorates are: Contingency Support, Operations Support, Technical Support, and Field Support (CEMIRT).
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