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Omaha District works late to complete $1 billion program

Published Oct. 1, 2017
Aerial view of U.S. Strategic Command’s $1.2 billion headquarters at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska.

Construction of U.S. Strategic Command’s $1.2 billion headquarters at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska.

Aerial view of  the 12-building Department of Veteran Affairs replacement medical center under construction in Aurora, Colorado.

Aerial photo of the 12-building Department of Veteran Affairs replacement medical center under construction in Aurora, Colorado.

Jet fuel containers

The Fueling Systems Mandatory Center of Expertise, located in the Omaha District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, has served as the leader in high-volume fuel storage and delivery systems to military customers since the 1980s.

OMAHA, Neb. – While many Omaha citizens were settling in after a relaxing weekend afternoon, on Saturday, Sept. 30, at 8:25 p.m., a dedicated group of people within the Omaha District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers worked to punch the final keys and made final certifications in order to commit the final contract action of the fiscal year 2017 district program. When the dust settled the Omaha team completed more than $1.054 billion in awards for more than 1,786 projects across not only the country, but the world.

Key projects of this year’s program include the ongoing construction of the U.S. Strategic Command and Control Facility at Offutt Air Force Base, as well as completion of the Veterans Administration Medical Complex in Aurora, Colorado, both “MEGA” projects being managed by the Omaha District. In addition, this hard working District executed in excess of $100 million in support of the Nation’s military fueling and supply system, both home and abroad. The team also expended millions of dollars supporting environmental cleanup activities, along with a singular focus on maintaining and improving the hydropower infrastructure at the main stem dams on the Missouri River.

"For an annual program that has finished between $1 billion and $1.6 billion for the last seven years, completing and executing the contractual requirements before funding expires is a challenge for any federal agency, and Omaha District has apparently found a way to 'get ‘er done.'  There is a lot of ‘sausage-making’ in the federal acquisition process that occurs following the determination that a project is necessary, authorized and appropriated,” said Ted Streckfuss, Deputy District Engineer. “The last thing we want to do is fail to deliver on those programs and the expectation of Congress and be unsuccessful on completing the critical jobs that are essential for our National security and water infrastructure support. The American public deserves our full commitment to ensure that these jobs get done and done right.”

Getting the projects awarded is not easy, as often funds are not made available until late in the year or appropriations which provide those funds are stalled going into a fiscal year. “Striking that balance to ensure we meet our fiscal responsibility while ensuring we do not compromise on the necessary rigor of the design, construction, and acquisition process just because the calendar turns to October is a tough challenge,” said Streckfuss. “Not just from a legal and ethical perspective, but also from a disciplined, process oriented approach to mission execution.”

Reaching the finish line this year was additionally complicated as the district was concurrently doing its part in the national response effort to hurricanes which have devastated the lower United States and its territories in the last few weeks. “We currently have nearly five dozen of our key team members deployed, many for much of this past month,” said Col. John Hudson, Omaha District Commander. “Because of the skillsets needed to meet that national emergency, we had to dig deeper into the bench strength of this organization to meet our execution requirements of our annual program.”

In addition to completing its normal annual mission, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working in partnership with the local, state, and federal response to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. The 64 currently deployed Omaha District team members are part of the more than 950 personnel engaged and coordinating with local, state and FEMA partners in ongoing recovery and assessment missions.

“Every year it takes the entire team to get the mission done, and this year was an excellent example of how that team came together in the face of adversity in order to accomplish the mission that had been assigned to Omaha District,” said Streckfuss.

Roughly an hour after the final contract was awarded members of the district resource management staff completed final audits and close-out of fiscal year funds, shut the books and turned the lights off on another program year for the Omaha District. A process that will start over just 48 hours later on Monday.

Happy New Year.

Thomas O'Hara

Release no. 17-093