Cheney Proposes Streamlining for Corps of Engineers
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Defense Secretary Dick Cheney sent Congress a proposal Friday to cut 2,600 jobs from the Army Corps of Engineers and streamline its organization.
Cheney, in a statement issued at the Pentagon, said the changes were part of the overall reductions being made at the Department of Defense because of its declining budget, cuts in manpower, the changes in the international order and subsequent new or changed missions being performed by the military.
″We concluded that the corps can perform its military and civil works functions with substantially more efficiency if we streamline that infrastructure,″ Cheney said.
There are 29,000 civilians and 1,000 military personnel that comprise the Corps, which provides engineering services for the federal government and the military in all 50 states and overseas.
The job cuts would primarily affect civilian positions.
A Pentagon spokesman said the plan was expected to take five years to enact and expected to glean $112 million in savings annually.
Under the reorganization plan, which Congress must approve, the boundaries for the Corps’ regional offices would be realigned.
The number of Engineer divisions would be cut from 10 to six, while the number of districts would be slashed from 35 to 22. The number of districts doing military design and construction would be cut from 15 to seven.
That means that the staff in many corps offices would be cut back, say from 12 to three, or a larger office reduced to a skeleton staff.
No offices are being closed, a spokesman said.
The plan does not affect the corps’ lock and dam offices or its lake offices.
Cheney had first announced his intention to submit the plan for Congress’ approval along with his base closure recommendations, but delayed it.
Cheney recommended that Congress enact legislation allowing the department to streamline the corps separately from the base closure process to ensure ″prompt consideration″ by the lawmakers, the statement said.
If it is approved, the plan would divide the 48 contiguous states into six divisions.
Here are the divisions, along with the offices that would report to them:
-North Atlantic Division, headquartered in New York. Composed of the Baltimore district, New York district and New England district headquartered in Waltham., Mass.
-North Central division, in Cincinnati. Composed of the Buffalo, N.Y., district; Huntington, W.Va., district; Louisville district, and Saint Louis district.
-Northwest Division at Portland, Ore.. Composed of Omaha, Neb., district; Portland, Ore., district, and Walla Walla, Wash., district.
-Southwest Division at San Francisco. Composed of Albuquerque, N.M. district; Los Angeles district, and Sacramento, Calif., district.
-South Central Division at Vicksburg, Miss. Composed of Fort Worth, Texas district; Galveston, Texas, district; Little Rock, Ark., district; New Orleans, La., district, and Vicksburg, Miss., district.
-South Atlantic Division at Atlanta. Composed of Jacksonville, Fla., district; Mobile, Ala., district; Savannah, Ga., district, and Wilmington, N.C. district.
Division offices at Omaha, Chicago, and Dallas would be combined to other offices under the plan. The New England Division will be reconstituted as a district under the North Atlantic Division and will remain at Waltham, Mass., the statement said.
The 14 district offices to be combined into other offices are the existing ones at Charleston, S.C.; Chicago; Detroit; Kansas City, Mo.; Memphis, Tenn.; Nashville; Norfolk, Va.; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; Rock Island, Ill., Saint Paul, Minn.; San Francisco; Seattle, and Tulsa, Okla.