News Story Manager

Breakfast with the Chief

Published Jan. 19, 2012
Kelly Stater (left) speaks with Maj. Gen Bo Temple after the general's keynote address to the joint breakfast meeting of Society of American Military Engineers posts from Los Angeles, Orange County and the Inland Empire.

Kelly Stater (left) speaks with Maj. Gen Bo Temple after the general's keynote address to the joint breakfast meeting of Society of American Military Engineers posts from Los Angeles, Orange County and the Inland Empire.

LOS ANGELES — Society of American Military Engineers posts from Los Angeles, Orange County and the Inland Empire held their 26th annual joint breakfast meeting Jan. 13. The keynote speaker currently serves as the Acting Chief of Engineers and Commanding General for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Los Angeles District Commander Col. Mark Toy introduced Maj. Gen. Merdith W.B. (Bo) Temple to more than 100 SAME members. He mentioned that, among the general's many accomplishments, he holds the distinction of being the only individual to ever hold all four general officer billets at USACE headquarters. Once a permanent Chief is named, Temple will retire with 37 years-of-service.

For his remarks, Temple took the opportunity to discuss where the Corps and the Army find themselves today and where they are headed.

“As fiscal year 2011 came to an end, the Corps was wrapping up an unprecedented period of construction and project execution,” said Temple. “For example, over the past five years, we provided $12 billion in BRAC-related (Base Realignment and Closure) construction; $7 billion of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (stimulus) work in both military and civil works programs; and about $14 billion of Gulf Coast recovery work!”

And, 2011 brought roughly three times the disaster declarations of a normal year.

“USACE responded to devastating tornadoes and severe spring storms, as well as hurricanes and tropical storms, under the National Response Framework in support of FEMA,” said Temple. “We are working now with the $1.7 billion appropriated supplement to the Corps’ budget in disaster relief to make emergency repairs before the 2012 flood season is upon us.”

For the future the general discussed the continuing fiscal challenges the Nation faces.

“We are operating in a more complex, less certain, resource-constrained environment which requires a more focused, systems-based approach and more collaboration to develop and deliver safe, quality engineering solutions on time, at or below cost, to our customers, stakeholders and partners.”

Even with fiscal challenges, locally, the District will benefit from Obama administration programs like America’s Great Outdoors and the new Urban Waters Federal Partnership which selected the Los Angeles River Watershed as one of seven pilot locations to enhance existing work like the Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan.

“The Los Angeles District is a strong supporter of revitalizing the river, with several on-going studies and potential projects that aim to restore riverside habitat, increase public access to the river and promote recreational opportunities,” said Temple.

Military construction projects also hold great promise for the region.

“South Pacific Division’s FY 12 budget is about $1.2 billion, which is about $200 million more than last year, with two significant MILCON projects at Fort Irwin accounting for most of that increase," said Temple. "Another highlight is that Los Angeles District estimates that they will award more than $200 million to small businesses in FY 12.”