The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – 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.’
Being labeled a 'partner of choice' is more than just receiving praise; it embodies steadfast reliability and a proven track record of success. For the Transatlantic Division, this title is a testament to its deep-rooted commitment to excellence and innovation in the CENTCOM AOR. It signifies not merely being an option but being the definitive choice for missions demanding the highest caliber of engineering and strategic foresight.
In its operations, the Division goes beyond the norm of 'business as usual.' It is known for consistently setting an exceptional standard in what is undeniably one of the world's most complex and dynamic construction environments in the world. Every program, project, and partnership embarked on is not just an undertaking; it's a crucial foundation that supports the overarching objectives of each mission partner in the AOR.
During a recent series of engagements with the Division’s Transatlantic Middle East District leadership and professionals, and U.S. military and allied nation mission partners across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Lieutenant General Scott A. Spellmon, the 55th Chief of Engineers and Commanding General of the United States Army Corps of Engineers, emphasized the Division's long-standing presence and its impact.
"As we mark seven decades of the United States Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division’s presence in the U.S. Central Command region, I am reminded of our enduring legacy of commitment and excellence,” Spellmon said. “In my role as Chief of Engineers and Commanding General of USACE, I have witnessed first-hand how our work transcends mere construction. Our efforts in building missile defense systems, airfields, hangars, clinics, and housing are not just projects; they are pivotal contributions to the overall U.S. mission in the region. Each endeavor we undertake is a testament to our steadfast commitment to regional security and stability.”
Brigadier General William C. Hannan, Jr., the Transatlantic Division commanding general, who, along with Middle East District engineers and program managers, accompanied Spellmon on the engagements, discussed the division’s strategic impact and its broader role beyond engineering.
“Our achievements have bolstered not only our organization but have also significantly influenced our mission partners and the strategic interests of the United States,” Hannan said. “Through close collaboration with commands such as U.S. Army Central, U.S. Air Forces Central, and U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, we bring the full spectrum of the Army Corps of Engineers’ expertise to strategically support and complement the missions of these entities. Our proven track record in delivering not just infrastructure, but also security-enhancing innovations and agile solutions, cements our role as a trusted and capable partner."
Detailing the Division's focus on enhancing regional security and its role in important projects, Hannan went on to list significant accomplishments from the past fiscal year.
“In fiscal year 2023, we managed 679 contract actions valued over $565 million, including key programs in Saudi Arabia and Jordan, as part of our $6 billion program, Hannan stated. “This includes FY23 awards for two pivotal programs: the $348.6M Multi Mission Surface Combatant Initial Operating Capability Construction in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and two Military Construction projects in Jordan, aggregating to $48M,” Hannan detailed.
“It also includes continued construction activities at our Mega Projects (F15 in Qatar and F18 in Kuwait), planning and design support for the new MOD HQ in Saudi Arabia, hundreds of other projects supporting U.S. and allied nation partners, leading integration of all USACE activities for U.S. Special Operations Command, and outstanding support to the warfighters in Iraq, Syria and across the CENTCOM AOR. These undertakings, fueled by the tenacity and expertise of our Districts, support the strategic posturing and operational readiness of our allies and U.S. forces in the region.
“Through these accomplishments, I have seen our team's unwavering commitment to the CENTCOM AOR,” Hannan continued. “Our role extends far beyond traditional engineering; we are integral in forging lasting partnerships and aligning our efforts with the broader objectives of regional stability and security.”
Improving living conditions and safety for military personnel is another significant aspect of the Division's work. Colonel Philip M. Secrist III, the Transatlantic Division’s Middle East District commander, shared his insights on his District’s contributions.
“I am consistently impressed by the adaptability and comprehensive expertise our team brings to the dynamic and challenging environment of the CENTCOM region,” Secrist said. “Our commitment stretches far beyond the construction of resilient infrastructure; we are deeply involved in building the capabilities and operational effectiveness of those serving on the front lines.
“Our longstanding presence is a clear reflection of our dedication to our mission partners and regional allies,” Secrist continued. “Through our efforts in building crucial infrastructure and vital engineering projects, we have solidified our role as the trusted ‘partner of choice’ in the region. It’s not just about the infrastructure we create; it’s about the enduring relationships we foster, the open dialogue we encourage, and the bridges of mutual respect and understanding we build.”
The Division's commitment to efficiency and innovation is also evident in its expeditionary district. Headquartered in Kuwait and one of the only forward deployed districts, the Transatlantic Expeditionary District also directly supports the warfighters and ongoing named operations. Colonel Mohamad Z. Rahman, the Expeditionary District commander, commented on his district’s approach to delivering results.
"In our role within the CENTCOM region, our comprehensive support has spanned the entire project lifecycle in support of the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve and Combined Special Operations Joint Task Force-Levant. This includes everything from the initial request for services package development for requirement boards like the Joint Facilities Utilization Board to ongoing project management, engineering design, and construction oversight.
“Significantly, we've prepared and annually updated base camp master plans within the Operation Inherent Resolve AOR.” Rahman continued. “These plans and our continuous maintenance of base camp Geographic Information System data have been vital in strategic planning and installation transitions across the combined joint operating area.
“In Kuwait, as the designated execution agent by the Area Support Group and Directorate of Public Works – Kuwait, our project management and support span the full spectrum of construction activities, from planning and scoping to execution and oversight. Our achievements include the completion of over 270 infrastructure projects and the successful management of prime power contracts in Kuwait and Al Asad Air Base, Iraq. Our innovative approaches have earned us the USACE Innovation Award, and we maintain a strong focus on environmental initiatives and safety,” Rahman stated proudly.
“The numerous awards received by our personnel are a testament to their excellence and dedication. These are not just milestones but a reflection of the unwavering commitment of our entire district, a source of great pride for us all."
Collaboration with U.S. and allied nations has been the cornerstone of the Division’s long-term success within the region. These partnerships have enhanced diplomatic relations and facilitated collective problem-solving for regional challenges.
Jim M. Sindle, Consul General for the U.S. Consulate General Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, along with André L. Cadieux, the U.S. Consulate General Dhahran Political and Economic Chief, recently joined Spellmon, Hannan, and Secrist for multiple engagements and project site visits in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Sindle shared his perspective on their contributions.
"As the Consul General, I have the unique privilege of witnessing the impactful work of the USACE Transatlantic Division in the CENTCOM AOR. The Division’s exceptional contributions are not just a testament to engineering prowess but also a reflection of the United States' deep commitment to regional stability and prosperity. USACE's role as the ‘partner of choice’ in this region aligns seamlessly with the State Department's mission to foster strong international relationships, enhance security, and promote mutual understanding.
“The extraordinary standards set by USACE in their programs and projects significantly bolster our diplomatic efforts and enhance our collaborative endeavors with our partners in the Middle East,” Sindle continued. “The enduring presence and achievements of USACE are pivotal in supporting the broader goals of the United States in the region, demonstrating our unwavering commitment to building a future that is secure, prosperous, and beneficial for all."
In a sector where meeting the status quo could be the norm, the Transatlantic Division and its district’s consistently push boundaries, turning extraordinary feats and innovative achievements into everyday occurrences. This organizational culture of exceeding expectations is apparent in their enduring commitment to constructing the foundations of security and pioneering innovative solutions.
This is what cements USACE’s reputation. Its endeavors are not just about fulfilling immediate needs; they are about shaping a future where security is integrated with progressive innovation. In this vision, the extraordinary is not an aspiration – it's the baseline.
As the Transatlantic Division looks towards the future in the CENTCOM AOR, its enduring legacy of innovation and excellence marches on, building strong across the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Levant. The Division and its districts uphold their commitment to strengthening partnerships, building capacity, and enhancing security in one of the world’s most strategically significant regions. With adaptability, ongoing innovation, and robust partnerships, the Division continuously reinforces its vital role. Its steadfast dedication to extraordinary operational standards cements its status as the 'partner of choice' in the CENTCOM AOR.
*The USACE Transatlantic Division provides engineering solutions for our mission partner’s toughest full spectrum challenges in one of the most dynamic construction environments in the world. With oversight of nearly $5 billion in projects throughout the U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility, as well as dedicated support to the U.S. Special Operations Command, we combine dedicated and expeditionary district capabilities, partnering in peace and war, to deliver innovative, resilient, and sustainable solutions to the U.S. Department of Defense and the nation; and establish the conditions for regional security and stability throughout the Middle East and Central Asia.
We deliver our program through two districts, the Transatlantic Middle East District, headquartered in Virginia, and the Transatlantic Expeditionary District, which combined the Division’s contingency operations assets as one optimized command, headquartered in Kuwait.