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Posted 1/27/2012

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By Lt. Col. Rob Manning
Under Secretary of the Army Public Affairs

WASHINGTON -- Under Secretary of the Army Joseph W. Westphal spoke with senior leaders from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers during their 2012 leader conference, highlighting the vital role of USACE as the Army faces unprecedented budget challengesm Jan. 24, 2012. 

"The Corps of Engineers has enormous capability and the Army will rely on the magnificent work that the Corps is doing to build and reinforce partnership capacity," he said. "The level of expertise that resides within the Corps is essential during this period of reduced resources. Designing projects that address the needs of future generations is critical." 

The four-day conference for military and civilian senior leaders throughout the Corps of Engineers focuses on building key international partnerships and reviewing USACE priorities. 

The Army established the USACE on March 16, 1802, to provide vital public engineering services to strengthen security, energize the economy, and reduce risks from disasters. USACE works with state and federal agencies to manage existing infrastructure, develop necessary projects, and coordinate effective responses to ecological crises such as oil spills, drought, and fire. Foreign governments also rely on the Corps for their expertise and resources. 

"Despite the coming budget reductions, your ingenuity will ensure our nation's security and prosperity," Westphal said. "We face several challenges in energy initiatives and sustainability, and the Army needs Corps engineers to lead the way in developing solutions to those problems."

Westphal also presented the Department of the Army Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service award to Joseph F. Calcara, a USACE employee and a former deputy assistant secretary of the Army for installations, housing and partnerships. This is the highest award that may be bestowed by, or on behalf of, the Secretary of the Army to Army civilian employees.