Corps of Engineers Restructures Contracting Support in Iraq
By Denise Calabria
Special to American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 5, 2005 The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has changed the way it administers contracts for rebuilding Iraq, officials said.
A "change of charter" ceremony at the corps' Gulf Region Division headquarters in Baghdad's International Zone Dec. 4 heralded the change. In essence, the change folds the responsibilities of the former Project and Contracting Office into those of the Corps of Engineers Gulf Region Division.
Ambassador for Iraq Reconstruction Daniel Speckhard was the keynote speaker at the event in which Hugh M. Exton Jr., director of the Project and Contracting Office, relinquished authority of the PCO's mission to Army Brig. Gen. William H. McCoy Jr., Gulf Region Division commander.
The PCO intentionally stood up as a temporary organization in May 2004 to serve the people of the U.S. and Iraq by contracting for and delivering a total $18.4 billion in resources that Congress on behalf of the American taxpayers had allocated for rebuilding Iraq.
From the outset, planners anticipated that the GRD would have a longer-term presence in Iraq to support Multinational Force Iraq, officials said. Given GRD's substantial program, project and construction-management capabilities, there were potential organizational efficiencies to downsize and restructure PCO functions while GRD continued its presence in theater.
Exton thanked his team for doing a "great job in effecting the consolidation within budget, above 'spec' and ahead of schedule."
"I believe we have achieved mission success," he said.
The Gulf Region Division is the executive agency of the Iraq Reconstruction Program. Its headquarters and three districts provide engineering services to Multinational Force Iraq and the Iraqi government in support of military and civil construction.
"Today, two great organizations that have successfully performed the missions for which they were created now unify their efforts in service to the Iraqi people," McCoy said.
"PCO and GRD have had very similar missions in the past -- to rebuild Iraq," he noted. "Of a program of over 3,500 different projects, together we have started over 3,000 and completed over 2,000."
McCoy said those projects should improve essential services and capabilities in Iraq and should jumpstart the economy. "That is a historic mission," he said, "and these two organizations have made significant progress in the last year and a half."
The Gulf Region Division's north and south districts, located in Mosul and Talil, respectively, have quality control and assurance responsibilities for more than 1,000 projects each, while the Baghdad-based Gulf Region Central district oversees the reconstruction of over 900 projects.
(Denise Calabria is assigned to the Gulf Region Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.)