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Additional Resources

The links listed below provide more information on efforts being conducted through Revolutionize USACE Civil Works.

Revolutionize U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Civil Works Program

USACE is taking bold actions to improve its performance and engineer solutions for the nation’s toughest challenges through the Revolutionize USACE Civil Works initiative.  Traditional delivery of the annual Civil Works program is being overhauled by using innovative tools, modernizing internal processes, and pursuing alternative financing approaches. USACE is streamlining permit processes and eliminating duplicative reviews to expedite permit decisions for infrastructure projects while protecting the environment.  Speeding up how USACE does business will save millions of dollars and complete projects sooner.

The Revolutionize USACE Civil Works initiative has three objectives:

OBJECTIVE 1:  Accelerate Project Delivery  
Accelarate Project Delivery

Goal:  Start and finish projects Faster

  • Modify processes to accelerate infrastructure delivery and enable non-federal sponsors to complete authorized projects.
  • Delegate decision-making to speed up decisions and implementation.
  • Streamline contracting and review processes.
  • Update policy & guidance.

1.  Focus on Project Delivery:

  • Guidance issued established aggressive delivery targets for the $17.4B emergency supplemental program, directing a focus on project delivery rather than processes. (Jul 2018)
  • Guidance to the Divisions and Districts authorizes USACE senior leaders to grant an exception to policy based on a risk-informed analysis. (Jan 2019)

2.  Execution of Authorized Projects by Non-Federal Sponsors – Allowing non-Federal sponsors to complete authorized studies or construction can accelerate delivery of projects with less Federal involvement.  Current authorities (WRDA sections 203 and 204) allow potential credit for reimbursement of the Federal share, subject to certain requirements.  We are embracing the following additional opportunities: 

  • Issued implementation guidance for Section 1153 of Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) 2018 to provide that Federal permits are not required when a non-Federal interest constructs a USACE water resources development project under certain conditions.  (Apr 2019)

3.  Risk-Informed Decision Making – In May 2018, guidance was issued to implement risk-informed decision making within the Planning phase and will soon be expanded to the entire life cycle of project delivery.  Several recent project successes include:

  • New Soo Lock Economic Validation Report – Concurrent reviews to fast-track project delivery and key decisions/direction resulted in completion of the report seven months earlier with potential avoided costs of ~$100M.
  • Bluestone Dam – Awarded cofferdam construction 30 months early by using risk-informed decision making to make key decisions, phasing the work, and deciding to use government furnished materials.
  • Tulsa and West-Tulsa (TWT) Levees Local Protection Feasibility Study - Study is on track to be completed in two years, instead of the typical three years, through an aggressive approach to manage risk and delegate decision making.
  • Pipestem Dam - Completed the dam safety modification study in one year instead of the typical three - six years by making risk-informed decisions and better characterizing uncertainty to improve decision-making.  

4.  Delegations of Authority:

  • USACE has completed 22 delegations of authorities to lower levels to support accelerated project delivery. 
  • Issued Director’s Policy Memorandum allowing Divisions/Districts authority to make authoritative decisions regarding USACE policy and guidance related to 2018 Emergency Supplemental projects. (Jan 2019)

5.  Streamlined Acquisition:

  • During 2018, USACE implemented the following changes to streamline acquisitions: delegation of peer review requirements; authority to consolidate certain contract actions delegated to District level; and, increased the threshold for certain contract consolidations.    

6.  Update Policy & Guidance:

  • All implementation guidance complete for:
    • Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) 2014
    • WRDA 2016
  • Implementation guidance 98% complete for WRDA 2018
OBJECTIVE 2:  Transform Project Financing and Budgeting  
Transform Project Financing and Budgeting

Goal:  More efficient project delivery using alternative financing tools and new budgeting processes

  • Implementation of a variety of alternative financing mechanisms and budget processes to accelerate project delivery.
  • The development of the Civil Works Public Private Partnership (P3) Pilot Program to provide upfront funding and leverage appropriations while optimizing local participation and promoting risk sharing in project delivery.
  • Development of a Corps Water Infrastructure Financing Program (CWIFP) federal loan program which can increase non-federal entities’ ability to build, operate and/or maintain water resource infrastructure.

1.  WIFIA Loans – USACE is developing a loan program  authorized by the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA).

  • Army executed a Memorandum of Understanding with USEPA to formalize agency agreement to share WIFIA tools, processes, and lessons-learned. (Jul 2018)
  • USACE developed a program plan consistent with OMB Circulars A-129 and A-11.

2.  Innovative Funding Partnerships – A Public Private Partnership (P3) program can accelerate delivery, reduce life-cycle costs, and minimize risk, while providing greater control to non-Federal entities.

  • Army issued guidance to re-start a pilot P3 program within USACE.  (Sep 2018)
  • USACE issued a Request for Information from public stakeholders and non-Federal sponsors for information pertaining to conceptual P3 projects.  (Apr 2019)
  • USACE identified four projects to further develop and validate.  (Jun 2019)

3.  Multi-year Portfolio Plan – A multi-year portfolio plan would provide transparency, minimize inefficient funding challenges and support accelerated project delivery. 

  • USACE has completed an analysis on the cost of inefficient funding streams, which is as much as 2% per year above inflation.
  • USACE developed draft metrics that increase leveraging of Federal funding as well as project benefits and can be used to accelerate completion of the existing portfolio.
  • Identified areas where increased flexibility would result in improved execution of both annual appropriations and completion of projects.
OBJECTIVE 3:  Improve Permitting and Regulation Reform  
Improve Permitting and Regulation Reform

Goal:  Streamlined permit processes and elimination of duplicative reviews to expedite delivery of projects

  • Revise waters of the US definition.
  • Revise the 2008 Mitigation Rule to streamline third party mitigation process/approvals.
  • Streamline nationwide permit processes and pre-construction notification requirements.
  • Streamline process for non-federal sponsors undertaking work on authorized Civil Works projects.
  • Improve tracking systems.

1.  Streamlined Section 408 permissions allowing modifications to completed USACE projects  – During 2017 and 2018, USACE implemented significant changes to streamline Section 408 permissions (modifications to completed Civil Works projects).  Official guidance released in September 2018 formalized the following changes:

  • Delegated decision making to Division or District.
  • More clearly defined the geographical limitations of Section 408 requirements.
  • Excluded applicability to non-Federal sponsor operations, maintenance, repair, replacement, and rehabilitation activities,
  • Elimination of 60% design requirement.  
  • Developed notification timelines.

2.  Synchronize Reviews of Section 404/10/103 and 408 Programs – In 2018, USACE implemented additional changes to better align the Section 404/10/103 (Regulatory permits) with the Section 408 permissions (modifications to completed projects).  Intent is to ensure early coordination for project proposals that require both reviews.  The changes include:

  • Lead District – Provided guidance to establish a “lead district” to manage permits/permissions that span multiple Districts and states.  (May 2018)
  • Single Point of Contact (POC) – Established the District Regulatory chief as the single District-level POC and initial entry point for all permits and permissions.  (Aug 2018)
  • Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) - Districts/Divisions finalized draft SOPs guiding program synchronization of the following concepts:  (Mar 2019)
    • Single Decision Document – In cases that require both a Regulatory standard individual permit and a Section 408 permission, there will be one lead office for environmental compliance, one decision document, and one coordinated transmittal letter.
    • Aligned Section 10 and Section 408 Reviews – In cases when the scope of analysis for a Section 10 and Section 408 decision are the same, a single Section 10 decision will be issued to cover both.

3.  Improved Public Access to Tracking Systems – USACE is enhancing public access to our tracking systems for Section 404/10/103 and Section 408 requests.  Improvements include:

  • Geospatial Reference – Provided a map query interface and search capabilities.  (Oct 2018)
  • Included additional status information
  • Established public-facing portal for obtaining Section 408 permission status (Dec 2018)

4.  Mitigation:

  • Issued a new Regulatory Guidance Letter clarifying the determination of mitigation credits for the removal of obsolete dams and other structures in rivers and streams.  (Sep 2018)
  • Issued a new Regulatory Guidance Letter providing guidance on credit release schedules for mitigation banks and ensuring equivalency in service areas between both mitigation banks and in-lieu fee programs.  (Feb 2019)

5.  One Federal Decision (EO 13807):

  • Entered into an MOU with ten other Federal Agencies committing to implementation of One Federal Decision (OFD).  (Apr 2018)
  • Issued implementation guidance for Civil Works feasibility projects and Regulatory Program projects. (Sep 2018)

6.  State Assumption Under Section 404(g) of the Clean Water Act:

  • Issued guidance clarifying the categories of waters appropriate for USACE to retain when a Tribe or state requests assumption of permitting responsibilities under Section 404(g) of the Clean Water Act.  (Jul 2018)
  • We are currently working with the State of Florida and the State of Arizona as they process their requests to assume permitting responsibilities under Section 404(g) with USEPA.

7.  Wetland Delineations

  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture and Army(CW) finalized a contract for a review of wetland delineation processes of each agency.
  • Work is ongoing to inform a path forward to establish a "federal" wetland delineation process that is universally compliant with statutory obligations while providing a predictable, consistent process to landowners.

8.  Regulation Reform:

  • Published a Federal Register Notice listing 53 regulations subject to review under Executive Order 13777 which aims to alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens placed on the American people. 
  • Completed the review of 53 regulations and the Department of Defense Task Force approved recommendations to modify or replace 19, repeal 17, and retain 17 regulations.