USACE welcomes and encourages feedback from our partners and staff on the Revolutionize USACE CW initiative. Some of the feedback that we have received to date is summarized below. This list will be updated with USACE actions to address the input as those actions are further developed.
Objective 1: Accelerate Project Delivery
- Non-Federal Involvement in Execution: Partners are very interested in getting more involved in the execution of projects and want USACE to help them do that through guidance and changes to processes.
ACTION: USACE is actively working with non-Federal partners to better understand what changes need to be made to improve non-Federal implementation of projects and better leverage non-Federal capabilities.
- Early Engagement: By bringing in the non-Federal partner sooner, issues with permitting and project partnership agreements can be dealt with faster to prevent delays. Empowering the partner to help design the project at the beginning could also support innovative project delivery.
ACTION: Through Revolutionize USACE CW, USACE is working to educate the staff (at all levels) about the benefits of early non-Federal partner involvement. Non-Federal partners were and are encouraged to share specific challenges with the Revolutionize USACE CW team.
- Acquisition and Procurement Processes: USACE should explore ways to streamline the procurement process and increase sponsor participation.
ACTION: USACE is continuing to streamline the procurement process and is planning a workshop to identify ways to improve contracting processes.
- Disincentives/Incentives for Project Delivery: Focusing on reducing disincentives of partnering with USACE would encourage greater involvement by non-Federal partners and get projects done faster. USACE should empower, encourage, and incentivize staff (at all levels) to be innovative and think outside of the traditional USACE processes.
ACTION: Through Revolutionize USACE CW, USACE is identifying changes that can be made to improve non-Federal execution of projects. USACE is also encouraging staff to be innovative and has specifically called for innovation in the execution of emergency supplemental projects. Innovative ideas can then be applied to non-supplemental project execution.
- Delegate Decision-Making: Partners have strongly encouraged USACE to continue to delegate decisions and would like to see this happen more broadly and consistently.
ACTION: USACE continues to explore areas where decisions can be delegated to Divisions and Districts to promote decision making at the local level. As of September 2019, we have delegated 22 decisions to lower levels of the organization, leading to reduced processing times on these requests.
- Risk-Informed Decision-Making: There is support for this approach but partners have identified that the effort will only work if USACE leadership allows staff to take risks, make mistakes (on occasion) and seek more consistent application.
ACTION: An Engineering Circular on Enterprise Risk Management is being finalized and is scheduled to be published in 2019. Additionally, an implementation plan is being developed supporting consistent application of risk-informed decision-making.
- Non-Structural and Nature-Based Solutions: USACE needs to continue to implement non-structural and nature-based solutions.
ACTION: USACE supports the use of non-structural and nature based solutions, USACE has specific programs, including Engineering with Nature, with the goals of implementing these types of measures.
Objective 2: Transform Financing and Budgeting
- Contributed Funds: Many partners have requested that USACE evaluate the contributed funds process and find ways to improve it. USACE needs to get better at accepting funding from partners and the current process for acceptance of funds is broken.
ACTION: USACE is working with partners to better understand the issues and what solutions should be proposed. Many of the delays and challenges come from processing the Congressional notifications required by legislation. USACE is reviewing the policies of other Federal agencies to identify additional concepts to enable use of non-Federal funds.
- Metrics: A review of budget and performance metrics has been encouraged as partners have expressed concerns with the current metrics.
ACTION: USACE is working to develop proposals for consideration that aim to reduce the USACE construction portfolio while improving overall delivery and leveraging limited Federal funding.
- Multi-Year Capital Plan: Partners are supportive of a five-year action plan and the transparency such a plan would provide, acknowledging that funding comes in one-year increments.
ACTION: USACE acknowledges that long term capital planning is a superior planning approach for implementation of large capital projects. USACE is working to develop proposals for consideration that improve multi-year capital planning abilities.
- Benefit Cost Analysis: Partners have encouraged USACE to look at improving benefit cost analysis and a more holistic approach to benefits.
ACTION: USACE has the ability to examine and consider factors beyond the benefit to cost ratio when making planning decisions.
- Support for WIFIA: Partners supported the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan program, and the need for this type of Federal assistance.
ACTION: USACE is working with the Administration and Congress to further develop the Corps Water Infrastructure Financing Program (CWIFP) authorized by WIFIA. More information on the program can be found here.
- P3 Pilot Program: There is support for the use of this program for disaster/supplemental projects and incentivizing investment through these proposals.
ACTION: USACE is further developing the four pilot projects from the initial round of pilot proposals. Further information and future requests for information on conceptual pilot projects will be posted to the P3 website here.
Objective 3: Improve Permitting and Regulation Reform
- Coordination with Partners: Improve coordination with Tribes and states regarding decisions that will impact them and their programs. Consultation with Tribes should happen early and often.
ACTION: USACE jointly with EPA conducted several outreach events and State/Tribal meetings associated with the Waters of the US rule making efforts. Several other initiatives will undergo Office of Management and Budget Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs review which includes coordination with States/Tribes and agencies. USACE will continue to explore coordination opportunities as appropriate.
- Information and Tracking Systems: Partners have requested more information in USACE tracking systems and improvements to those systems not just for the applicant but the public as well so that more information is available to the public.
ACTION: USACE is enhancing public access to our tracking systems for Section 404/10/103 and Section 408 requests. Some improvements have occurred and more are in planning.
- Implementation of Guidance: Ensure consistent application of new guidance. Changes need to be consistently embraced at all levels of the agency.
ACTION: USACE is working to ensure that changes are being consistently applied across the agency. HQUSACE is communicating with the field to ensure consistent messaging and implementation.
- 2008 Mitigation Rule: Partners have identified opportunities for improvements if changes are made to the rule including with the Interagency Review Team and out of kind mitigation.
ACTION: USACE and EPA are revisiting the 2008 Mitigation Rule and considering any necessary and appropriate changes to streamline the third party mitigation review process.
- One Federal Decision (OFD): While many partners have mentioned that the process has been difficult for the first few projects going through OFD, they are very appreciative of USACE’s efforts on this initiative and believe there will be significant benefits going forward.
ACTION: USACE implementation guidance for OFD was published in September 2018. USACE continues to work through OFD for a number of projects as the lead or cooperating agency.
- Share Best Practices: As states take on more permitting efforts, they ask that USACE share best practices and lessons learned to help guide their activities.
ACTION: USACE will consider opportunities to collaborate with state agencies in an effort to minimize conflicts between state and Federal regulatory programs.
- Training and Education: More training and education is needed to address some of the issues raised by partners. Webinars and recordings are very helpful for USACE staff and partners to understand guidance and changes as well.
ACTION: The USACE Regulatory program has emphasized outreach efforts at the district and state level. We will continue to explore opportunities to share information as appropriate at all levels.
- Two-Way Communication: Communicating effectively with partners has been a major area of feedback. The need for USACE to do much more two-way communication has been expressed by many partners.
ACTION: The Revolutionize USACE Civil Works (CW) Team has been working to better communicate with partners on our efforts to revolutionize CW. The need to continue to improve communication across the USACE is recognized and a major part of our efforts.
- Culture Change: Partners have encouraged USACE to continue pushing culture change for the agency through Revolutionize USACE CW. They see a lack of openness to exploring innovative ideas and new ways of doing things. Ensuring the culture change supported by this initiative has traction and is achieved throughout the agency is key.
ACTION: USACE is working to better engage employees in Revolutionize USACE CW and encourage culture change throughout the agency.
- Stakeholder Engagement: Improving proactive partner engagement, particularly at the field level should be encouraged. Districts should be empowered to take a leadership role to engage local partners.
ACTION: USACE is collecting best practices on stakeholder engagement, such as quarterly stakeholder meetings, and will share them with staff across the agency to encourage improvements.
- Responsiveness to Sponsors: Improving communication and collaboration with sponsors throughout various steps of a project has been encouraged by partners. Including project sponsor input and assistance where possible is also desired.
ACTION: Through Revolutionize USACE CW, USACE is working to educate staff at all levels about the benefits of engaging partners at every step of a project.
- STRATCOM Plans: Partners have suggested that every project delivery team should have a strategic communication (STRATCOM) plan that they implement to guide communication with all interested parties.
ACTION: Every project is required to have a communication strategy; however, some STRATCOMs are stronger than others. USACE is working to ensure all project delivery teams understand the benefits of having a proactive STRATCOM. Earlier this year, USACE released additional guidance for stakeholder engagement, collaboration, and coordination in Civil Works planning studies, found here.