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Appendix D

US Army Corps of Engineers


This appendix outlines the structure, mission, and functions of the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). It provides general information for engineer commanders and staffs to use when interacting with or requesting support from USACE.


USACE performs military construction, environmental-restoration, installation-support, real estate, research-and-development, and civil-works missions in peacetime. It provides a base for conversion of its resources to support war and other national emergency conditions. USACE provides engineering and related services in four broad areas. These are--

  • Military construction and support.
  • Engineering research and development.
  • Water and natural-resource management.
  • Support to other government agencies.

USACE is the primary agency that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) calls upon to protect life and property during and after natural disasters. Military engineers may interact with USACE in any of a number of ways. An engineer unit performing a construction mission may receive technical assistance from a USACE laboratory. Engineers involved in a contingency operation (CONOP) may support or be supported by a USACE prime power team. Personnel from an engineer district may provide design or construction expertise to units that have limited experience internally. For example, USACE may send personnel to assist a unit building roads in Latin America. The normal linkage between engineer troop units and USACE is at the district level. (Note: Within this appendix, documents listed in parenthesis provide additional information on specific programs or activities being addressed.)


The major Army command (MACOM) USACE consists of--

  • Headquarters, US Army Corps of Engineers (HQUSACE).
  • Thirteen major subordinate commands (engineer divisions).
  • Forty engineer districts.
  • Four research and development laboratories.
  • Other field operating agencies (FOAs).

It also includes any troop units that may be assigned to USACE.

HQUSACE serves as the MACOM headquarters as follows:

  • The commanding general (CG), USACE, serves in a dual capacity. He also acts as the Chief of Engineers (COE). The COE is an Army Staff position (Army Regulation (AR) 10-5). The COE is the principal adviser in Headquarters, Department of the Army (DA), for all engineering and environmental matters.
  • The Secretary of the Army has made the CG, USACE, the executive agent for several Department of Defense (DOD) areas of responsibility. Elements of the USACE headquarters staff or subordinate FOAs carry out these responsibilities. These elements coordinate with DA staff elements and the Office of the Chief of Engineers.
  • The Assistant Chief of Engineers (ACE) on the Army Staff performs all DA-level duties of the COE. He interacts with the DA Staff on executive-agent responsibilities that USACE performs for the COE.
  • Civil-works missions and staff remain part of the USACE headquarters and field structure. This reduces administrative and overhead staffing for military and civil-works programs.

The engineer divisions and districts perform--

  • Military construction.
  • Environmental-program support.
  • Installation support.
  • Civil works.
  • Real estate functions.

The following laboratories and other separate FOAs are under direct HQUSACE supervision. They perform engineering research and development and provide specialized engineering and environmental support to other USACE elements and to other Army commands and activities. These laboratories and activities include:

  • United State (US) Army Topographic Engineering Center (TEC), Humphreys Engineer Center, Virginia. TEC performs a full range of research and development services, from basic research through engineering development in the topographic sciences. TEC is responsible for delivering high-precision positioning systems for the field artillery. The center provides target positioning equipment for tactical missile units. TEC also develops systems for reproducing maps portraying specific military geographic information needed by the Army in the field.
  • US Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station (WES), Vicksburg, Mississippi. WES was originally established in 1929 to develop comprehensive plans for flood control in the Lower Mississippi Valley. The lab performs basic and applied research in broad fields including--

    - Hydraulics.

    - Coastal engineering.

    - Soil and rock mechanics.

    - Earthquake engineering.

    - Concrete.

    - Expedient construction.

    - Vehicle mobility.

    - Environmental relationships.

    - Pavements.

    - Protective structures.

Within USACE, WES is also responsible for research and development in the areas of--

    - Countersurveillance.

    - Military hydrology.

    - Mine/countermine.

    - Stream bank erosion.

    - Coastal engineering.

    - Water conservation and supply.

  • US Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering laboratory (CRREL), Hanover, New Hampshire. CRREL was established in 1961 to improve the winter combat capability of the Army. It was also chartered to study the natural phenomena of cold regions and to devise methods for building, traveling, living, and working there. CRREL performs basic and applied research in support of the following broad mission areas:

    - Winter combat operations.

    - Winter battlefield environment.

    - Cold-regions facilities.

    - Ice engineering.

    - River-ice management.

    - Civil-works remote sensing.

    - Cold-regions hydrology.

  • US Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL), Champaign, Illinois. Established in 1969, CERL conducts research and development to support Army programs relating to infrastructure and the environment, with emphasis on military construction and base operations and maintenance. A primary goal is to improve construction quality and energy efficiency while still safeguarding the environment.
  • US Army Engineering and Housing Support Center (USAEHSC),Fort Belvoir, Virginia. USAEHSC is a field operating activity of USACE dedicated to supporting military installations. Its mission is to assist Army Directorates of Engineering and Housing, major commands, and the COE in their efforts to improve the quality of life on military installations. A key responsibility of USAEHSC is the Army Prime Power Program. See Chapter 3 for details.


The mission of USACE is to--

  • Manage and execute engineering construction and real estate programs for the US Army and Air Force. USACE performs research and development in support of these programs (ARs 70-1 and 71-9).
  • Manage and execute installation support programs for Army installations (AR 420-10).
  • Manage and execute civil-works programs, including the design, planning, engineering, construction, and research and development functions in support of these programs.
  • Manage and provide execution support to the Army Environmental Program. USACE performs research and development in support of this program (AR 200-1).
  • Perform research and development through nonsystems-specific advance development in systems, specialized equipment, procedures, and techniques relevant to engineer support of combat operations (ARs 70-1 and 71-9).
  • Develop and maintain a capability to mobilize in response to national-security emergencies, domestic emergencies, and emergency water planning programs.
  • Develop technology and design and construct facilities and structures in support of Army space initiatives (AR 10-5).


USACE develops design criteria according to Army force-modernization requirements. It designs and constructs Army facilities in the US and designated areas overseas (ARs 210-21 and 700-127). USACE performs design and construction support for the US Air Force and Army Reserve on assigned projects in the US and for all DOD services in overseas areas designated by DOD. It also establishes (in consultation with the commands involved) contract award, beneficial occupancy, and construction completion dates and provides complete engineering and construction services for a wide variety of projects including environmental restoration. USACE provides design, construction, or other technical services to non-DOD federal agencies under the authority of separate interagency agreements. USACE also provides selected engineering and related services to foreign governments under the auspices of the Department of State, the US Agency for International Development (USAID), and foreign military sales (FMS). Services range from studies of limited scope and duration to complete design and construction programs.

Civil-works functions are performed under the direction of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works). These functions include responsibility for all Corps of Engineers activities that use civil-works resources. USACE is responsible for planning, engineering and design, operations and maintenance, research and development, and the supervision and direction of construction required for water-resources development. It also administers certain laws in the US to protect and preserve the navigable waters and related resources, such as wetlands.

In support of its real estate mission, USACE is responsible for establishing, supervising, and carrying out policies and procedures governing the acquisition, management, and disposal of real property under DA control (AR 10-5). It conducts real estate transactions for DA military and civil-works programs and US Air Force elements in the US. USACE performs this function for other DOD and federal agencies on request. The transactions include purchases, sales, leases, and transfers of real property and interests. USACE is responsible for establishing and maintaining the official real estate historical and cartographic library of all real estate used, owned, leased, and disposed of under DA jurisdiction (AR 405-10). USACE also administers programs and funds for space, services, and facilities furnished to it and the Army National Guard outside the National Capital Region (NCR) by the General Services Administration (GSA) (AR 405-1).

Under the Installation Support Program, USACE provides support to installation Directors of Engineering and Housing. It also provides the DA Staff engineer with expertise in acquiring real property in support of force modernization, stationing, mobilization, and other DA initiatives. USACE manages the effective use of the Army's Real Property Inventory. It also manages the planning for orderly development of Army installations.

In addition to the functions listed above, USACE also develops, maintains, and manages the Army Facilities Components System (AFCS). This system provides pre-engineered facilities for theater of operations (TO) planners, logisticians, and constructors. USACE maintains and manages a reserve of nontactical mobile generators and provides the cadre of qualified personnel needed to deploy and operate the generators. When directed, USACE provides the same services for civil disaster-relief operations. It provides the Army field commands and activities, on request, with engineering, maintenance, and operational support and training related to nontactical mobile generators. USACE also provides temporary, emergency (or standby) electrical-power generation, as required. USACE manages and executes the Army's Prime Power Program (AR 700-128). It acts as the DOD executive agent for--

  • The Power Reliability Enhancement Program.
  • Preservation of Archeological Resources on Public and Indian Lands.
  • Cleanup of hazardous contamination on formerly owned DOD properties.

USACE performs basic, exploratory, nonsystems-specific research and development in systems, equipment, procedures, and techniques relevant to the engineering support of military operations and to material development. Research and development meets Army requirements and supports Army civil-works water-resources mission requirements (AR 70-1). Major responsibilities in support of the military research and development mission are--

  • Engineer support to combat operations (ARs 70-1 and 71-9).
  • Environmental compliance, noise abatement at training and readiness installations, and physical restoration of training lands (AR 200-1).
  • Facilities operations, maintenance, and repair (AR 70-1).
  • Large space structure and space sensor exploitation (AR 10-5).

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