FY16 DOD Briefings: Day Two

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With 16 speakers, 12 agencies, six sessions and one unexpected fire alarm right in the middle, day two of the SAME FY2016 DOD & Federal Agency Program Briefings squeezed a ton of timely budget and contracting information into a short window.

Featuring speakers from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Air Force Civil Engineer Center, Department of the Army, Department of Energy, Department of Veterans Affairs and National Nuclear Security Administration, the sessions offered a detailed and diversified look at what, where and how the A/E/C industry can provide support to the federal government, veterans and warfighters in the coming years through facilities, infrastructure and technical services work. In total, the Army still has 13.7-million-acres at 154 installations requiring environmental work.

DODA

The first concurrent sessions kicked off with a briefing on USACE’s design and construction program, as well as briefs on the environmental remediation, restoration and compliance programs of the Army, Air Force and Navy—including what industry can anticipate in terms of contracting dollars available.

Among the morning highlights, NAVFAC sees a slight uptick in environmental funding for FY2016, compared to FY2015, which saw the lowest levels 2004. NAVFAC has 270 Installation Restoration sites still on the docket for future work to be done and 222 Munitions Response sites. Environmental Restoration Division Director Rob Sadorra expects emerging contaminants, such as PFCs, to continue to attract more and more attention, and by extension, may be funding drivers in years to come. Again, NAVFAC anticipates a lot of fiscal year-end awards as funding is freed up. The Air Force continues to consolidate its environmental program, a process it began two years ago. It expects FY2016 funding to be similar to FY2015–roughly $200 million. Also look for the opening of a new Wildland Fire Management office at Eglin AFB along with a number of field support offices. The Army is on track to meet its goals to achieve Response Complete of 90 percent by end of FY2018 and 95 percent by FY2021. Its requested FY2016 funding looks to be about $1.1 billion, with just over 50 percent of that aimed at its Environmental Quality Program. The rest of the dollars are directed primarily to its Environmental Cleanup Program and about $50 million for Environmental Technology.

Following a fire alarm (in which all attendees it should be said safely and efficiently vacated the premises) the morning’s second round of sessions continued with the Navy’s design and construction programs as well as briefs from the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Programs, the National Nuclear Security Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Construction & Facilities Management Office.

DODC

Among the two sessions’ highlights, the Office of Environmental Programs for the Energy Department has a very delicate mission, as it is responsible for cleaning up decades of nuclear weapons testing and development. The office began its work in 1989 with 170 sites in 35 states; and while just about 17 locations in 12 states remains on its ledger, that will equate to roughly $300 billion in support needed between now and a projected completion date in 2060. In short, the agency has already completed most of the “easier” work. What is left is the more complicated requirements—and there is clearly a lot of it left. This year’s funding request is about $5.8 billion. 

Similarly to the Office of Environmental Programs, the National Nuclear Security Administration (also under the Department of Energy) has a very delicate mission and one that is funded very aggressively as well. As presenter Capt. Robert Raines, USN (Ret.), Associate Administrator for Acquisition & Project Management, said, Congress understands the complexity and severity of the agency’s mission and has responded by preserving funding through the last few years, even increasing funding from projected levels, despite the overall slowdown in federal contracting. NNSA is eager to open the aperture and engage more A/E/C firms to help support its work. The more potential partners, the more competition and better return on taxpayer dollars. NNSA’s budget annually is roughly $12 billion, and that includes about $1 billion alone for new construction. While there may be more barriers to entry than with other agencies given the complexity of the work, NNSA offers significant opportunities for A/E/C firms to support its mission and enhance national security.

Dennis Milsten of the Department of Veterans Affairs meanwhile, briefed the audience on what the VA has in the project pipeline, including major projects north of $10 million, minor construction projects as well as its leasing program. While VA does not anticipate a great number of new starts the next couple years as it works through a backlog of projects, it is expecting to deliver 15 projects in FY2015, which will begin to ease the backlog some. The agency’s 6,100 buildings average 60 years of age; there is significant risk in that portfolio given the age of the buildings. VA continues to do more design-build as well as early contractor involvement project delivery. Also look for its Green Management Program to continue to do more and more work as well, focusing on sustainability initiatives at its facilities. 

DODB

Day two’s final sessions included briefings from the Army Geospatial Center, Engineer Research & Development Center, and Engineering & Support Center-Huntsville, along with the Air Force Civil Engineer Center and its Procurement Enterprise and Facility Engineering Divisions.

Among the highlights of the final sessions, the value of the Army’s Huntsville Center is evident. According to Huntsville Commander, Col. Robert Ruch, USA, the center continues to grow even as overall federal spending declines. Its major focus areas are energy and installation support. Look for Huntsville to continue to focus on ESPCs and may even begin supporting the Navy and Air Force in this area some as all the services look for ways to leverage alternative financing to support energy efficiency and energy reduction aspirations and mandates. Huntsville Center also may see more work than expected in remediation of ranges in contingency environments in the Middle East and, should there be another BRAC in the next couple of years, its expertise in facilities reduction is likely to be a growth area as well. Additionally, Huntsville Center is beginning to do some pilot work supporting USACE Civil Works, another potential growth area.

The SAME FY2016 DOD & Federal Agency Briefings continue will workshops on “BIM” Wednesday afternoon and on “Mission Assurance” Thursday morning. SAME’s March Madness concludes Thursday evening, March 12, with the Class of 2015 Academy of Fellows Investiture and the Golden Eagle Awards Dinner, honoring SAME Fellow Suzanne DiGeronimo for outstanding contributions to the engineering profession and Gen. Gordon Sullivan, USA (Ret.), former Army Chief of Staff for outstanding contributions to national security.

The PDF presentations from the FY2016 DOD & Federal Agency Briefings are available on the SAME website.