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Air Force stands up single unit to execute global CE operations

by Michael Briggs
Air Force Civil Engineer Center Public Affairs

10/2/2012 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas (AFNS) -- Air Force leaders activated a single unit that will execute the civil engineering mission worldwide during a ceremony here Oct. 1.

The Air Force Civil Engineer Center, a new CE field operating agency, merges the Air Force Center for Engineering and the Environment and Air Force Real Property Agency, both based in San Antonio, with the Air Force Civil Engineer Support Agency at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., to form a more than 1,600-person strong unit.

Some members of major command and installation CE units also join AFCEC, which will execute CE functions in the areas of construction, energy, environment, housing, operations, planning, real property, and readiness and emergency management.

The unit is subordinate to Air Force Civil Engineer Maj. Gen. Timothy Byers, who presided over the activation ceremony in historic Hangar 1610 on the former Kelly AFB flightline.

"This ceremony is much more than an organizational change," Byers said. "This is the debut of the next generation of installation and expeditionary support capabilities that will help us build ready engineers, build great leaders and build sustainable installations. We're forging the future of Air Force civil engineering today."

The general first announced the formation of new field operating agency in November 2011 when he laid out plans for a CE Transformation ... Accelerated program designed to advance at a faster rate civil engineering restructuring and efficiencies underway since 2007. The accelerated program helps the Air Force meet its civil engineering mission responsibilities while working within an Air Force constrained budget environment.

"These efforts reexamine our processes and capabilities, and centralize, standardize and streamline our core activities and services across the enterprise," Byers said of CE transformaiton. "From the major commands to the installations, civil engineers will take a more focused and centralized approach to installation management that prioritizes requirements across the service, aligns our scarce resources with the Air Force's highest priorities, and minimizes the risk to Airmen and the mission -- all the while maintaining expeditionary combat support and efficient, yet effective, installation support."

AFCEC will make its headquarters in Building 171 on the Kelly Annex of Lackland, where the former AFCEE and AFRPA workforces, which had been neighboring units, will physically merge. Of its seven mission-execution directorates, the Environmental Center of Excellence, Facility Engineering Center of Excellence, Installations Center of Excellence, and Planning & Integration Directorate will operate at the headquarters in San Antonio.

At Tyndall AFB, the former AFCESA becomes AFCEC Detachment 1 and houses the Energy Directorate, Operations Directorate, and Readiness and Emergency Management Directorate.

Joe Sciabica, a member of the Senior Executive Service, is AFCEC's director. He previously served as the executive director of the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.

In accepting the unit flag and his role as AFCEC's leader, Sciabica said his focus is on support to the warfighter and the people executing the CE mission in the field.

"Our leaders recognized that while the Air Force flies, fights and wins in air, space and cyberspace, it executes its operations at installations and airfields kept mission-ready by civil engineers," he said. "Those engineers and real property professionals need resources and capabilities at the ready to provide training, guidance and support to the warfighters."

Sciabica acknowledged the legacy AFCEC inherits from the CE professionals from the field operating agencies, major commands and installations who are coming together to form the new unit.

"Civil engineers have excelled at their installation-support mission for decades -- in garrison and on the battlefield," he said. "It will be priority number one at AFCEC that we not only carry on this tremendous legacy we inherit today, but that we also improve our capability to elevate Air Force mission readiness."

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