Colonel Joel R. Cross

Commander and District Engineer, Omaha District

Published July 31, 2012

Col. Joel R. Cross became the Commander of the Omaha District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, July 31, 2012.

He oversees a more than $1 billion program spread over 1,200 military construction projects in eight states, civil works projects in nine states, and environmental restoration projects in 41 states. The Omaha District workforce of about 1,300 civilian men and women contribute to the operation of six mainstem dams on the Missouri River, as well as 21 tributary dams for congressionally-authorized purposes. The district also provides regulatory and real estate services that benefit the Nation. Within the 700,000-square-mile boundary of the Omaha District, Cross also oversees the design and construction of facilities for the Army and Air Force, the cleanup of hazardous, toxic and radioactive waste sites for the Department of Defense and the Environmental Protection Agency.

He previously served in the Omaha District from May 2005 to June 2007 as Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff, assisting the then Commander in executing a $550 million budget.

Cross comes to the district from a tour of duty in Iraq where he served as the lead engineer for the Office of Security Cooperation in Baghdad. He oversaw an $800 million construction program focused on building necessary infrastructure for Iraq’s Ministries of Interior and Defense.

Cross received his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant from the University of Vermont in 1990. He entered federal service in Fort Campbell, Ky., later that year where he served in the 326th Engineer Battalion, 101st Airborne Division, Air Assault. His numerous military assignments include tours of duty in Germany, Missouri, Texas, Washington, D.C., Rhode Island, Virginia, Nebraska and three tours in Iraq.  During his career he has served in various command and staff roles from platoon leader through battalion commander.

Born in Danvers, Mass., in 1966, Cross grew up in rural Vermont. He graduated from Lamoille Union High School in 1984 and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Vermont in 1990. In 2001, he received a masters of arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College, in 2003, he received a masters of science degree in Engineering Management and Industrial Engineering from the University of Alabama and in 2011 he received a masters of science degree in National Security and Strategic Resourcing from the National Defense University.

He is an active member in the Society of American Military Engineers and is a registered Project Management Professional since 2007.