District Cost Scheduling Practices Contribute to Success

Published Sept. 26, 2018
Construction continues on the almost one billion dollar  mega-project collectively known as Shield 5 in Qatar. The project has remained on track in part because of the District's use of cost schedule management to monitor progress.

Construction continues on the almost one billion dollar mega-project collectively known as Shield 5 in Qatar. The project has remained on track in part because of the District's use of cost schedule management to monitor progress.

When the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Middle East District (MED) was awarded the USACE Project Delivery Team of the Year award recently, many on the team attributed some of that success to the District’s increased focus on using cost schedule management, a practice widely used in commercial construction projects but one that the District had not fully utilized until recently. 

According to Jerry Dabkowski, the Chief of the Project Controls Branch for the district, cost and schedule management is a technique for measuring project performance and progress in an objective and proactive manner.  Effective project controls (cost and schedule management) is a vital part of a comprehensive quality assurance oversight program from initial requirements planning through project closeout.

“Our branch effectively "arms" project team members with information that allows them to make decisive and timely decisions.  The benefit of using cost schedule management is it acts as an advanced early warning system.  We are able to analyze performance, identify invoicing versus schedule performance discrepancies, identify trends, monitor scope control, and provide upward customized reporting for customers and stakeholders.  Without this, we would rely heavily on the contractors monthly schedule submissions for schedule performance.  We work with some exceptional contractors therefore that’s not necessarily a problem, but this gives us a self-regulating picture of how a project is proceeding and how to better allocate resources,” said Dabkowski.

For large construction projects, the District normally awards fixed price contracts. That means that a set amount of money is allocated for the project. Previously, project managers would primarily look at a construction schedule and project milestones to determine if a project was on track. Cost schedule management gives them more data points to provide a better overview.

“With cost schedule management, we look at multiple data points to paint an accurate picture of how a project is performing.  For example, when looking at a construction schedule alone, a project might appear to be on track but burning through more money earlier than expected. This gives us a resource loaded schedule where we know what should be allocated when.”

Colonel Stephen Bales, the District’s commander, said the Middle East District’s relatively more extensive use of cost schedule management had to do with balancing costs and workload.

“Our Deputy for Programs and Project Management Tom Waters, has been a big proponent of this but we really had to do some careful analysis before investing in this extensively,” said Bales. “It requires fairly expensive software and is quite a bit more labor intensive than just utilizing a construction schedule but ultimately, it’s benefitted the District and our customers. I’m very happy with the results I’ve seen thus far.”

MED relied on cost schedule management in the lead up to and award of the almost one billion dollar award of a mega-foreign military sales project in Qatar for which the District was awarded Project Delivery Team of the Year by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“Using this process allowed us to manage our timelines to award without sacrificing quality and ensure the project goes smoothly. We continue to use it today as the project goes forward and we’ve been really happy with the results so far,” said Marissa Louden, a program manager on the project.

Waters echoed that sentiment saying that Cost Schedule Management has had huge benefits for the District and hoped to see it used more extensively.

“Cost schedule management has been a game changer for us,” said Waters. “I’d like to think we’ve been pretty innovative in its use and it’s made me a strong advocate for using it throughout the Corps.” 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division serves as USACE’s tip of the spear in one of the most dynamic construction environments in the world, STRENGTHENING PARTNERSHIPS, BUILDING CAPACITY, and ENHANCING SECURITY for our nation, allies, and partners. 

We deliver agile, responsive, and innovative, design, construction, engineering and contingency solutions in support of U.S. Central Command, U.S. Special Operations Command and other global partners to advance national security interests.

Transatlantic Division News

  • April

    Expertise at the Front: How USACE Experience Powers U.S. Army Success

    In the vast, dynamic landscape of the U.S. Central Command’s Area of Responsibility, the success of the U.S. Army's mission is intricately linked to the infrastructure that supports it. For more than 70 years, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has played a crucial role in providing the critical engineering, design, and construction expertise that ensures operational readiness and resilience across the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Levant. The Transatlantic Expeditionary District, as USACE's only forward deployed district in support of contingency operations, continues this legacy by being the sharpest tip of the spear, strengthening partnerships, building capacity, and enhancing security for our nation, allies, and partners.
  • Empowering the Future: USACE Division CSM Visits U.S. Army Engineers in Kuwait

    In a significant event aimed at fostering professional growth among U.S. Army Engineer Regiment Soldiers, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division Command Sgt. Maj. Clifton D. Morehouse held an open forum discussion with active duty and reserve component engineer Soldiers deployed to Kuwait. The engagement offered a platform for non-commissioned officers to engage directly with one of USACE’s division level senior enlisted leaders, exploring the pivotal role of engineers in achieving Army objectives and the value of mentorship and professional development within the NCO ranks.
  • Building Resilience and Respect: USACE’s Role in Sustaining Military Capacity at Camp Buehring During Ramadan

    Strategic Infrastructure is crucial for sustaining military capability, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plays a vital role in ensuring its effectiveness. As a part of monthly rotational site visit engagements, U.S. Army Col. Mohammed Z. Rahman, USACE Transatlantic Expeditionary District commander, along with a team of district engineers and the district Safety chief, traveled to Camp Buehring, Kuwait, to review two key projects: the Tactical Equipment Maintenance Facility and the Udairi Landing Zone Transition Repair projects. These engagements exemplify USACE's commitment to operational excellence and project oversight.
  • USACE Strengthens Partnership for Global Infrastructure in Kuwait

    In a significant meeting held on March 17, at the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait, U.S. Army Col. Mohammed Z. Rahman, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Expeditionary District commander, and Viet Nguyen, Expeditionary District deputy district engineer, engaged in strategic discussions with The U.S. Ambassador and the Economic Counselor from the American Embassy in Kuwait. The engagement centered around enhancing the role of USACE in the context of the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment, PGII, and its implications for U.S. and allied economic and national security interests.
  • March

    USACE Transatlantic Division employee embarks on Army Coaching Program journey

    A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division employee is undertaking an intense talent management program in order to help fellow employees in their careers; the first employee in the organization to do so.
  • February

    USACE Transatlantic Division: Setting Extraordinary Standards as ‘Partner of Choice’ in CENTCOM AOR

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division stands as a pivotal force in the U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility. Since the 1950s, the Division has actively shaped the landscape of engineering, design, and construction across the Middle East. Transforming from its initial focus on basic military construction, the Division now leads sophisticated, large-scale infrastructure projects, demonstrating a deep commitment to building capacity and enhancing security in the region. By setting and consistently upholding extraordinary operational standards, it has established itself as the ‘partner of choice.’
  • January

    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division Commander Promoted to Brigadier General

    Col. William C. Hannan, Jr., U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division commander, was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General during a ceremony here Jan. 16.
  • October

    On Solid Ground: Army Values are the Foundation of USACE Transatlantic Division’s Mission

    With a history of more than 70 years in the region, the Transatlantic Division oversees more than $5 billion in projects including military construction programs, force protection innovations, and security cooperation initiatives, strengthening Army readiness, enhancing vital infrastructure, and deepening global partnerships. Each action reinforces the Army's unwavering commitment to its service members and global partners.
  • USACE Innovation: The Key to 'Building Strong' in the CENTCOM AOR

    For the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division, innovation is the essential energy that drives success. From the initial development phase of a project, through the design and construction, and well into the operational phase, innovation drives the relentless pursuit of excellence, supporting sustainable strategies and fostering the development of long-lasting, reliable solutions.
  • September

    USACE Transatlantic Division supports Typhoon Mawar disaster relief

    A staff member assigned to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division was activated and sent to Guam from June until July to assist FEMA, federal partners and territorial officials’ response to the typhoon which caused significant impacts to essential services throughout portions of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam, including water, energy and transportation.