For more than 60 years, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Middle East District has provided U.S. military and partner nations with engineering and construction services in some of the most challenging construction environments in the world. Headquartered in Winchester, Va., with multiple offices throughout the U.S. Central Command area of operations, the District has built the knowledge base and relationships to become the “go to” construction agent in the Middle East.
The District’s tradition of service in the region began in 1952, known then as the Mediterranean Division, and responsible for projects in Southern Europe as well as Africa. Early projects in the Middle East included work for the U.S. Air Force in Turkey and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It was also during this time the District began taking on related work on behalf of foreign partner nations under the Defense Department’s Foreign Military Sales program.
Over the years, the District’s name has changed several times as it has gone from a division to a projects office, back to a division, then a programs center until it finally became the Middle East District in 2009 under the Transatlantic Division. Since a USACE realignment to better support U.S. Combatant Commands, the District’s work has been almost exclusively in support of CENTCOM and partner nations within the 20 countries of the CENTCOM operational area.
Much of the District’s work can still be seen throughout the Middle East today including parts of the highway system in Afghanistan, the King Khalid Military City and King Abdulaziz Military Academy in Saudi Arabia, and Shaikh Isa Air Base in Bahrain, to name a few. Additionally, the District took on one of its largest efforts ever with extensive involvement in the Kuwait reconstruction effort after the Persian Gulf War.
The Middle East District’s tradition of quality engineering, construction and support services has continued into the modern era with renowned projects such as the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center in Jordan – where special forces units from allied nations train in ways to fight terrorism in mock cities and towns, including apartment complexes and high rises – and the Bahrain Flyover Bridge project at Naval Support Activity Bahrain. For the flyover bridge, the District assembled a full-sized, arch span bridge offsite and moved it into place overnight. This was the first project of its kind in the Middle East and avoided a long-term closure of one of Bahrain’s busiest roads.
This District currently has almost 2 billion dollars’ worth of construction in the works on behalf of allied partner nations and the U.S. military.
In addition to construction, related support and services contracts, the Middle East District is also home to the USACE Technical Center of Expertise for Aircraft Hangar Fire Protection (TCX) and the Center of Standardization for Nonpermanent Facilities (COS).
The TCX offers assistance in the design, construction and review of fire protection systems in aircraft hangars.
The COS can provide off-the-shelf designs for a variety of facilities saving time and resources. The center can also perform compliance review on nonpermanent facilities to make sure they meet all applicable codes.
The District is also currently responsible for recruiting, hiring and processing all USACE personnel deploying to the CENTCOM operational area through the USACE Contingency Deployment Center and is expanding its ability to conduct base camp master planning for contingency operations.