Day Two Begins at JETC
Posted on May 21, 2014 | By Stephen Karl | Leave a response
Day two of the 2014 JETC began bright and early with the annual Year in Review by SAME President Gary Engle, F.SAME, followed by the DOD Executive Panel with Engineering Service Chiefs, Lt. Gen. Tom Bostick, USA, Rear Adm. Kate Gregory, USN, and Brig. Gen. Tim Green, USAF.
The opening session also included a special video tribute to SAME Executive Director, Dr. Bob Wolff, F.SAME. Dr. Wolff has announced plans to retire from the position after, as the photo montage and personal anecdotes from past and current SAME leaders indicated in the video, a phenomenally successful, and incredibly busy, 12 years.
President Engle provided insight into SAME’s accomplishments this past year, including its three key focus areas: support to warriors in transition, energy and sustainability, and STEM. SAME throughout this past year has dedicated significant time and resources to build momentum in these focus areas, all of which are key components of the SAME mission as well as critical areas of need for the nation. As he pointed out, the nation is not producing enough STEM graduates. There’s also a gap involving students who aspire to pursue an engineering degree but do not follow through to graduate with that degree. SAME and its Posts around the country are developing and re-energizing programs to motivate, engage and sustain interest with K-12 students and through SAME’s robust Student Chapter program, which is now at 55 Chapters. President Engle also touched on SAME’s Warrior Transition Task Force and the new credentialing reimbursement program for all SAME Young Members and NCOs to help these members pursue licensing and credentialing for their career. SAME remains committed, as it has done in previous years with support for Wounded Warriors, to provide valuable opportunities for its members who are in the uniform services to attain and maintain the training and credentialing they need so they are prepared when they transition out of the service.
President Engle addressed many other ongoing initiatives, such as the newly redeveloped SAME Online Directory, membership programs to keep the “military” in the Society of American Military Engineers, which has been very successful in recent years. In fact, SAME’s entire membership overall this past year increased to 28,800 members. Showing growth in this kind of environment for the federal sector, as he pointed out, is a testament to the viability and success of SAME.
Service Chiefs Discuss Budget Forecast
Gen. Bostick, Adm. Gregory and Gen. Green each presented highlights on their upcoming fiscal year budgets for A/E/C support while also addressing future years challenges due to sequestration and the Budget Control Act. However, and while the numbers will continue to dip for a couple years until they are expected to level off some after FY2016, each service chief highlighted growth areas to watch for. USACE, for instance, is serving as an inter-agency construction agent for several agencies in a number of different ways, including Veterans Affairs, DoDEA, and the Department of Energy. In addition, USACE is supporting Combatant Commanders around the globe with projects from small to large in more than 130 countries. These programs will need the support of industry willing and able to head overseas. NAVFAC, like other services, is battling through force structure reductions and strategic shifts, including disestablishing NAVFAC Midwest. The agency is investing in energy initiatives even as MILCON, SR&M, and Environmental accounts decline in FY2015 and FY2016. The Air Force has had a challenge in finding ways to reduce its spending as it would like. Congress has blocked some proposed ideas it would have liked to implement. The Air Force Civil Engineering program will remain focused on its installations, environmental and energy work, as well as services contracts.
For more on the engineering service programs, see the May-June issue of The Military Engineer.