Pioneering Partnership Strives to Save Lives Through Innovation

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division
Published Aug. 18, 2022
A team from the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Transatlantic Division and the USACE Protective Design Center was recently recognized with the 2022 USACE Innovation of the Year Award. The team developed simple and effective bunker enclosure door designs for the U.S. Central Command to help reduce risk for traumatic brain injury to bunker occupants. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo)

A team from the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Transatlantic Division and the USACE Protective Design Center was recently recognized with the 2022 USACE Innovation of the Year Award. The team developed simple and effective bunker enclosure door designs for the U.S. Central Command to help reduce risk for traumatic brain injury to bunker occupants. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo)

WINCHESTER, Va. – Winning an award is not the goal of innovation but they often go hand-in-hand. The goal of innovation, according to Medium.com, is to improve life for the end-user. A pioneering partnership between three U.S. Army Corps of Engineers organizations recently received a USACE Innovation of the Year Award for doing just that – and then some! This team’s innovative approach to solving an engineering challenge doesn’t simply improve the life of the end-user, it strives to save their life.

A team from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division, the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory, and the USACE Protective Design Center established a new interagency partnership to develop simple and effective bunker enclosure door for the U.S. Central Command to help reduce risk of a traumatic brain injury to our troops.

U.S. Central Command comprises more than 44,000 service and family members overseas. U.S. Army Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla recently assumed command and oversees all U.S. military missions throughout the 21-country area of responsibility in the Middle East, Levant, and Central Asia.

Lieutenant General Scott A. Spellmon, 55th Chief of Engineers and the commanding general of the United States Army Corps of Engineers, announced the winning teams – five in total – and thanked them all for their tremendous contributions.  

“Congratulations to all our award winners. I look forward to seeing more innovation like this, across the USACE Enterprise, in the coming years,” Spellmon said. “A great engineering force requires a commitment to innovation, creativity, and forward thinking. The USACE Innovation Awards allow us to recognize the leaders within the Corps of Engineers for doing something different and for making an impact.” 

Joey Behr, Transatlantic Division’s Programs Deputy Chief for U.S. Military Construction, and lead for enabling the transition of the bunker project from concept to execution, shared the importance of the team’s overall goal.

“This partnership was a new approach to rapidly come up with a solution to reduce traumatic brain injury, Behr said. “Bunkers are vital to protecting our military and civilian personnel serving in and around combat operations. Ensuring bunkers are as safe as they can possibly be is crucial. And every second counts when the safety of our servicemembers and civilians downrange are concerned.”

The innovative solution was developed within a very short timeline using the survivability knowledge maintained through ERDC’s Expedient Passive Protection program and their computational capabilities. The team was able to deliver the project in six months.

Bart Durst, ERDC-GSL director, discussed his organization’s role in the project in a recent article released by ERDC.

“The ERDC team, in coordination with the Transatlantic Division, developed modifications to existing bunker designs to reduce TBI vulnerability and provide design recommendations to the Army to address force protection challenges concerning current personnel bunkers,” Durst was quoted as saying.  

“I am extremely proud of ERDC-GSL’s contribution to this team and this project,” Durst continued. “These innovations will tremendously benefit warfighters across the globe in the execution of their mission. These retrofits provided rapid solutions to address an urgent need for expeditionary force protection to reduce TBI vulnerabilities.”

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has paved the way in complex construction environments for almost a century and the Transatlantic Division has a long legacy of successfully combining partnership and innovation when it comes to supporting the warfighter and promoting safety and stability throughout the Middle East and Central Asia.

“We must assist our mission partners by advancing our approaches and tools in order to stay ahead of competition,” Behr said. “We leverage our expertise from all across the USACE enterprise to provide the latest and greatest advances in technology and approach, so our mission partners have what they need before they need it.”

We are honored to receive with this award alongside our interagency partners,” Behr said. “It feels good to be recognized for something that will have such a crucial impact on people’s lives and to accomplish it in a way that hasn’t been done before.”

Ted Upson, Transatlantic Division Engineering and Construction chief, was excited when he learned that the team had won the award.

“We execute our mission in a very challenging environment,” Upson explained. “Innovation enables us to remain relevant and maintain our position as the global leader, not only in engineering and construction, but as the problem-solver of choice.”

Our mission partners look to USACE to develop the most effective solutions to their challenges. They expect USACE to be on the cutting edge of engineering and construction technology. Solving today’s problems with yesterday’s solutions simply isn’t good enough,” Upson continued.

“Every success is the result of the collective efforts of countless dedicated people challenging conventional thinking and finding ways to do what others said can’t be done,’ Upson emphasized. “It is important to celebrate these successes and recognize our outstanding personnel who work tirelessly to develop new technologies and push the limits of what we know and what we can do.

“Within USACE we have a huge diversity of experts. When you get the right people together, they can’t help but inspire each other.”

 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division is BUILDING STRONG in one of the most complex construction environments on earth, partnering to strengthen the foundations of security and stability throughout the Middle East and Central Asia.

The Division and its Districts, Centers and Specialized Teams provide engineering support and services throughout the U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility and dedicated support to the U.S. Special Operations Command globally.

 


Transatlantic Division News

  • September

    Always Ready, Always There and Always Forward

    The Transatlantic Expeditionary District, headquartered at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, is the only district in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that is expeditionary and forward deployed. As a contingency district, it has relied on stateside Corps districts and state Army National Guard units to fill the various positions necessary to take on the complex engineering and construction environment in the Middle East.
  • Full Circle: One man's road to the Corps

    Mohammed Maaroof, an Iraqi native and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Expeditionary District electrical engineer, grew up in war-torn Iraq, but would not let that define how his life would turn out or end.
  • August

    District Hosts Kuwaiti Mission Partners

    The Transatlantic Middle East District provides construction and related support services for U.S. military and allied nation partners throughout the Middle East, and although it has offices in eight countries in the region, the bulk of its program is managed from its headquarters in Winchester. In most cases, TAM project managers and engineers meet with their mission partners in the countries where their projects are located, but on occasion, partners are hosted in Winchester and a bit of local hospitality is showcased along with project overviews.
  • Cadets Expand View of Army Engineer Career

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Middle East District (TAM) recently hosted four ROTC cadets during a summer program designed to expose them to the Army Engineer career field. The program allows cadets to shadow engineering officers and learn about potential career options available to them when they graduate and become officers.
  • TAM supports local student reaching for legal career

    In constant support for building the bench, TAM's Office of Counsel hired James Madison University senior Mikayla Ockerman for a summer internship in Winchester.
  • Pioneering Partnership Strives to Save Lives Through Innovation

    Winning an award is not the goal of innovation but they often go hand-in-hand. The goal of innovation, according to Medium.com, is to improve life for the end-user. A pioneering partnership between three U.S. Army Corps of Engineers organizations recently received a USACE Innovation of the Year Award for doing just that – and then some! This team’s innovative approach to solving an engineering challenge doesn’t simply improve the life of the end-user, it strives to save their life.
  • July

    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Expeditionary District Holds Assumption of Command

    CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait – U.S. Army Lt. Col. Richard T. Childers took command of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division’s Expeditionary District, in an Assumption of Command ceremony, July 21, 2022, at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.
  • Savings lead to SAVE Award for Middle East District

    Value methodology is a process that analyzes the different parts of a project, product, or process to ensure an optimal balance among factors such as cost, time, and safety according to the Society of American Value Engineering (SAVE). Although value engineering is not unique to USACE, every USACE district incorporates value engineering processes into their work. It’s not only mandated by law but has proven again and again to achieve the best results for both the Corps and its mission partners. In fact, USACE has gotten so good at the VE process that they recently won six out of the eight awards presented at a SAVE summit in June of this year.
  • June

    USACE mines local schools for hidden gems

    Transatlantic Middle East District (TAM) continues his support of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics through its High School Intern Program, most recently increasing to three interns for this most recent semester. The partnership benefits the students through their exposure to a professional work and engineering environment, challenging their preconceptions while expanding their skills. The collaboration benefits Team TAM through increased understanding of and potentially piquing interest in a career with USACE.
  • Qatar Partners with USACE Transatlantic Division to Strengthen the Qatar Emiri Corps of Engineers

    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been Building Strong across the Middle East for nearly 70 years, partnering with allied nations to build civil and defense infrastructure in a dynamic, challenging construction environment. These partnerships and the projects they execute are not just necessary for our success - but also for the success of our nation’s global priorities and our allied mission partners’ continued security and stability. The State of Qatar, one of our allied partners, is moving full speed ahead to make that a reality with its own Corps of Engineers nested within the Qatari Land Forces.