In this issue, an expanded housing privatization section
Air Force Center for Engineering and the Environment | Brooks City-Base, Texas Fall 2007 | Vol. 13, No. 3
Give me shelter:
Privatization program answers need
for quality homes
About eleven years ago the Department of Defense decided to get
out of the housing business and concentrate on its war-ﬁghting
mission. After a slow start, the Air Force is privatizing just under
66,000 housing units in 54 bases and eliminating more than 30,000
inadequate structures in an effort to modernize its family military
Col. Keith F. Yaktus, executive director
Christine O’Brien, chief, strategic initiatives E d i t o r ’s N o t e :
Michael Hawkins, chief, strategic communications
Gil Dominguez, editor Dennis Firman, a career Air Force engineer,
Margaret Moore, photo and graphics support has been named director of the Air Force Center for
Engineering and the Environment, Brooks City-Base,
Texas. He succeeds Paul Parker who is now the
deputy Air Force Civil Engineer in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Firman was formerly with Air Combat
HQ AFCEE/SIE, 3300 Sidney Brooks,
Brooks City-Base, Texas 78235. Command Headquarters at Langley Air Force
Telephone: (210) 536-4228; Base, Va., where he was chief of the Design and
DSN 240-4228; Construction Division of the Installations and
fax (210) 536-5256. Dennis Firman,
Support Directorate, a position he held since
E-mail: email@example.com. AFCEE’s new director
Visit CenterViews on the Web at October 2000.
center/centerviews.htm As AFCEE director, he will oversee an agency of more than 500
employees who manage the Air Force’s military
CenterViews is published quarterly as a funded
construction, environmental restoration and military family housing
newspaper by Strategic Communications,
Air Force Center for Engineering and the privatization programs.
Environment., Brooks City-Base, Texas. It is an
authorized publication for members of the U.S. Mr. Firman began his Air Force career in 1975 as a civil design engineer
military services. Contents of CenterViews are
not necessarily the ofﬁcial views of or endorsed at Langley. In addition to assignments there, he served tours also at Kadena
by the U.S. government, the Department of and Misawa air bases in Japan and at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., where he
Defense or the Department of the Air Force.
was executive director of the Air Force Civil Engineer Support Agency for
Reference to any commercial product or ﬁrm
does not imply endorsement by the U.S. ﬁve years.
government or any of its agencies. All pictures
appearing in CenterViews are U.S. Air Force The Poquoson, Va., native graduated from Old Dominion University,
photos unless otherwise noted. Readers are
invited to submit articles, photographs and other Norfolk, Va., in 1969 with a bachelor of science degree in structural
items for publication. All material, however, will engineering.
be edited to conform to the standards set forth in
Air Force Instruction 35-301 and the Associated He is a graduate also of the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base,
Press Stylebook and Libel Manual.
Ala., and received a master of public administration degree from Auburn
Suggestions and criticisms are also welcome. University in 1998.
i i | C enterViews
04 | View from the Center
Director says ‘goodbye’ to AFCEE
To p S t o r i e s
05 | AFCEE helps rebuild Afghanistan one contract at a time
AFCEE has awarded $246 million in contracts for 22 projects since
the beginning of its involvement in the reconstruction of Afghanistan
06 | Conference offers small businesses insight into government
The first small business conference sponsored jointly by AFCEE and 05
the San Antonio Post of the Society of American Military Engineers
was held in August. The two-day event offered small firms a chance to
meet and network with public and private-sector executives.
06 | New Orleans project completed
In an update to a story in the summer issue, pumping station projects
were completed on two canals in New Orleans. Installation of more
than 30 pump systems at the canals will increase the water-pumping
capacity and prevent flooding in the event of future Katrina-level
08 | Special Housing Section
18 | Restoration
23 | Around the Air Force
25 | Afghanistan/Iraq Update
26 | Supporting the Troops
30 | Contractor’s contributions an investment in the future
Fall 2007 | iii
View from the Center
‘goodbye’ to AFCEE
By Gil Dominguez
FCEE director Paul Parker gave a farewell
address to the AFCEE staff on November 7 Paul Parker
as he prepared to leave for his new position
as the deputy Air Force Civil Engineer in Department of Defense. You have become the gold
Washington. standard for others to measure themselves against.”
His remarks were delivered via a live Web broadcast. The deputy Air Force Civil Engineer cautioned
“It’s hard to believe that four years ago I became your AFCEE staffers, however, not to “rest on your laurels. The
director,” he said, adding that the old saying “times flies journey is not over. There is still a lot to be done.”
when you’re having fun” was “never more true” than in Relating again his interview for the AFCEE
his case. The past four years, Mr. Parker said, had been “a directorship, Mr. Parker described General Zettler’s final
real blast.” question as “prophetic.” “He said, ‘Paul, consider for a
The now former AFCEE director said that as he was moment that you are the director of AFCEE. You’ve been
getting ready for work on the morning of his address, there a little over four years. You’re standing in front of
his April 2003 interview with Lt. Gen. Michael Zettler, the mirror putting your tie on. How will you know, as you
former deputy chief of staff, installations and logistics, look at yourself in the mirror, if you’ve been successful?’”
came to mind. Mr. Parker said he did consider that question the
“He asked what were my main goals should I become morning of his farewell address while getting ready to
the AFCEE director,” Mr. Parker recalled. “To me the come in to work. The memory of the original query was
answer was simple. First and foremost, keep building sparked by his wife Cathy, who asked him how he knew
on the legacy of my predecessors, J. B. Cole and Gary if he had “made a difference” as AFCEE director.
Erickson. And second, make sure we were attuned to the The only part of the “prophecy” not fulfilled was that
needs of the war fighter.” Mr. Parker didn’t wear a tie on his last day on the job, a
He said the changes that had taken place during his fact he pointed out by fingering his open collar.
tenure were designed to keep in step with the agency’s Mr. Parker said his reply to General Zettler’s question
core responsibility of supporting the “war fighter.” came only after careful thought, and the answer might
Praising AFCEE members for their “support, loyalty, have even surprised the general “a little bit.” “I said,
adaptability and flexibility,” Mr. Parker said those ‘Sir, it will never be about the number of task orders, the
qualities had been “instrumental in AFCEE’s success. number of projects, the dollars awarded through our
Because of your dedication and commitment to serve, organization. It will never be about who we do work
today we are worldwide. The sun never sets on AFCEE.” for or don’t do work for. But it will be about our people.
The departing director added that “the responsibilities Did we grow our replacements? Did we do everything
given to us as a result of Air Force transformation are possible to make sure this organization continued to
proof positive of your success and the trust Air Force succeed and thrive?’”
leadership has placed in this organization.” Briefly citing some statistics, the former director
The staff’s success from “housing privatization to pointed out that over the past four years the number of
environmental cleanup to design and construction to AFCEE people who had completed their professional
Iraqi reconstruction” had transformed AFCEE from “just military education tripled and the number of those who
a small dot on a map to a world-class organization,” he obtained their master’s or doctorate degrees doubled as
continued. “Whether it is in environmental excellence, had the number of staffers who attained their professional
acquisition excellence or our technical reach-back registration or certification in their chosen specialty.
expertise, you are known and respected throughout the Continued on page 24
4 | C enterViews
To p S t o r i e s
AFCEE helps rebuild Afghanistan
one contract at a time By Marti D. Ribeiro
Afghan and American military officials confer during work being done on the Kabul
Military Training Complex Project. This is just one of 22 projects awarded since
August 2006, when AFCEE began its involvement in Afghanistan reconstruction.
FCEE recently awarded a $1.2 million contract But AFCEE has been able to overcome these
to AMEC to construct a portion of the National challenges and succeed in project management.
Military Academy in Kabul, Afghanistan. “The key to our success in Afghanistan is building
This is just one of 22 projects awarded since strong relationships with Afghan subcontractors and
August 2006, when AFCEE began its involvement laborers and continually using them for various projects,”
in reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan. Along with Major Henry said.
those projects already awarded, AFCEE has 19 pending AFCEE prides itself in the ability to hire mostly
contracts worth more than $31 million. local laborers.
The $246 million program’s main focus is construction “We’re hoping that having a labor workforce that is
work for the Combined Security Transition Command- 92 percent Afghan will inject a much needed capital into
Afghanistan in support of the Afghan National Army, the economy and encourage stability. It will provide the
along with building infrastructure to support the workers with employable skills and hopefully steer people
new ANA Air Corps, according to Maj. Elwood Henry away from violence,” Major Thompson said.
of AFCEE. AFCEE is taking on also the additional challenge
These projects include construction of the Kabul of training Afghan laborers and engineers in Western
Military Training Center and all ANA Air Corps facilities, techniques.
along with reconstruction of the Kabul International “We’re hoping by training the local workforce they’ll
Airport. AFCEE has tackled also such projects as the be able to construct better buildings and infrastructure
Ministry of Defense compound and the National Military even after AFCEE leaves,” said Major Thompson.
Academy of Afghanistan. But according to Major Henry, AFCEE will be there
Construction projects in Afghanistan present a unique for awhile.
set of challenges to AFCEE project managers. “We have several new projects coming up and we’re
All equipment and materials must be shipped in from basically building their air corps from the ground up,” he
other locations, and all contracts must cover security for said. “So, we’ll be there until all of that gets finished.” q
the workers, said AFCEE’s Maj. Clay Thompson, who at
the time of this writing was deployed to Iraq.
Fall 2007 | 5
To p S t o r i e s
Conference offers small
businesses insight into
Maj. Laillah Guice, USAF School of Aerospace Medicine at Brooks City-Base, on a one-on-one session with a small-business representative
who is presenting information on his firm’s capabilities.
6 | C enterViews
he first joint AFCEE – San Antonio Post of the Mentor-Protégé pairs a small firm with a large
Society of American Military Engineers – Brooks company so that the former can learn the federal
City-Base Small Business Conference took place in contracting process.
August at the Marriott Northwest in San Antonio. Opportunities for small companies include working
The two-day event provided small businesses the as subcontractors for the larger firms that already have
opportunity to dialogue and network with executives government contracts.
from various local government organizations and key Also on the second day, a number of agencies gave
business leaders from several large private-sector firms. forecasts of business opportunities. These organizations
The event was organized by the SAME Small Business included the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, Fort
Committee and sponsored by the firms Carter & Burgess, Worth and Tulsa Districts; Air Education and Training
CH2MHill, Earth Tech, EQM, MWH, Shaw, Tetra Tech Command; the Defense Commissary Agency; and the City
and Toltest. of San Antonio.
More than 200 people attended the meeting, which Additionally, 36 participating companies set up
officials said will become an annual event. tabletop displays to showcase their products and services.
SAME San Antonio Post president Richard A major conference highlight was a “speed-dating”
Bartholomew gave the welcoming speech followed by type setup where businesspeople got to meet one-on-
keynote speaker Paul Parker, then AFCEE director, who one with government agency representatives to discuss
spoke on the importance of AFCEE’s relationship with potential business opportunities. More than 170 meetings
small-businesses. took place during this session, which participants rated as
Other speakers included Ken Singel, chief of the one of the most important at the conference, officials said.
Capitol Management Investment Division at AFCEE; AFCEE representatives taking part in the event
Mary Urey, director of the Brooks City-Base Small included Bill Moritz, Rhonda Hampton, Laura Maxwell
Business Office; and representatives from a number of Air and Lisa Costello.
Force agencies on Brooks as well the Brooks Development Conference officials said that small business continues
Authority and the Air Force Civil Engineer Support to be a vital part of the multi-billion dollar federal
Agency. government contracting environment. Pronouncing the
On the second day, briefings and training continued conference a success, they added that it provided a wealth
on topics that included the source selection process; the of information to attendees interested in doing business
fundamentals of bonding; the Mentor-Protégé program; with the government. q
AFCEE laboratory certification requirements; and a
discussion of the Air Force’s military construction, or
New Orleans project completed
As an update to the story that appeared in the More than 30 pump systems were installed at two
summer issue, Weston Solutions, Inc., an AFCEE canals to increase the water-pumping capacity at the sites.
contractor, announced recently the on-time completion of The pumping stations protect the city during a
pumping station projects on two canals in New Orleans. hurricane by moving storm water out of the canal when
The project, completed in six months, was worked on floodgates are closed to stop storm surge from entering
a highly accelerated schedule so as to be finished before from Lake Pontchartrain. q
the start of the 2007 hurricane season, which did not turn
out to be as active as some forecasters had predicted.
Fall 2007 | 7
Special Housing Section
Home, sweet, home:
Privatization addresses inadequate Air Force housing issue
By Gil Dominguez
Nobody is home in this example of old base housing at Lackland Air Force, Texas (top). By contrast, new Air Force privatized
military family housing (bottom) has the look and feel of a civilian home.
bout eleven years ago the military services The Air Force, through its military construction
decided that they wanted out of the housing program, had for some time been building base housing
business. After all, the military’s mission is for its members and their families, but the units often were
to protect the United States, not to serve as strictly utilitarian, with none of the attractive features or
house builders and landlords. amenities that could be found in apartment complexes in
“The Air Force’s core value is to fly and fight, not the surrounding communities.
doing housing,” remarked Ian Smith, deputy chief of “When we built a house with MILCON, that was the
AFCEE’s Housing Privatization Program Management best it was ever going to be because after that we didn’t
Office. have enough funds to keep up maintenance,” explained
8 | C enterViews
The housing situation got so of our mortgages. In a typical
bad, he said, that out of an inventory commercial mortgage you get
of 110,000 units, about 88,000 — or
more than three-fourths — were
“The Air Force’s core (a loan for) only 60 percent of
the value (of the property).”
“We just didn’t have the money
value is to fly and fight, Previous attempts
at housing privatization
to keep them up,” said the deputy
housing chief. not doing housing.” failed mainly because the
Department of Defense
In 1996, however, Congress guaranteed developers that
Ian Smith, deputy housing privatization
got involved in the process by they would get paid whether
chief at AFCEE
authorizing the Military Housing the units were occupied or not,
Privatization Initiative, or MHPI, “so these guys were getting
which would allow the military services to partner with money, and it wasn’t necessarily in their interest keeping
the private sector as a way to solve the housing dilemma. the houses up,” said Mr. Smith.
“The concept behind MHPI is that we’re going to let He acknowledged that the Air Force was slow getting
the folks who are experts at housing — the private sector out of the MHPI gate while the Army and Navy were
— provide housing to our members,” said Mr. Smith. quick to jump on the program. But when the service
How much housing is needed at a particular location decided to proceed in the initiative, it was “like a jet
is determined by a housing requirements market analysis. fighter taking off,” said Mr. Smith.
The HRMA determines the ability of on-base and off-base At first the Air Force determined that 60 percent of
family housing assets to meet the installation’s needs. The its housing inventory would be privatized, but then the
analysis looks at how many units are within a 60-minute number went up to 72 percent. Recently, however, the Air
commute and in a 20-mile radius around the installation. Force Civil Engineer, Maj. Gen. Del Eulberg, determined
“DOD policy is to go with the private sector first,” that 99 percent of housing in the continental United States
said Mr. Smith. “Whatever it can’t support is what would be privatized.
determines our HRMA number. Whatever the community The Defense Department directed the Air Force to
can’t support is handled by housing privatization. If that address its inadequate housing situation by September
is not financially feasible, it’s handled by MILCON.” 30 of this year. For northern-tier bases — where the long
In the privatization process, the Air Force enters into winters limit the building season — the deadline is 2008
a 50-year agreement with a private developer, leasing the and for overseas installations it’s 2009.
land and conveying all the assets on the property — from As Mr. Smith explained earlier, the private housing
the houses to the recreational facilities — to the builder. In sector is considered first, followed by privatization and
turn, the company guarantees that military members will finally MILCON, but in some cases the solution to the
get housing that is comparable to what is currently on housing situation might be a combination of privatization
the market. and traditional MILCON. But in any event, he said the Air
The developer owns the housing complex, maintains Force “is pretty close” to meeting DOD goals.
the units and leases them to military members who pay To date, housing is under construction at 24 bases
with their basic housing allowance, or BAH. and has been completed at seven others. At the completed
“If the houses aren’t up to market standards, if bases, about 4,380 new units were built and 800 renovated.
services are poor and things don’t work right, they In all the bases, just over 6,000 units have been finished
(military members) get to walk away and go live and 1,200 renovated.
somewhere else and take their BAH with them,” said Mr. The Air Force has up to now spent $447 million
Smith. “They get to vote with their feet.” in housing, with about $5.3 billion coming in from the
A prudent businessperson, he added, doesn’t want private sector. “For our $447 million we’re going to get
that to happen. Housing privatization deals are unusual, 18, 282 new homes and 9,069 renovated homes,” said Mr.
he said, because the developer locks in a guaranteed 50- Smith. “If we had spent that $447 million on MILCON, we
year cash flow, something that doesn’t usually happen in would’ve gotten about 2,600 new homes.
the business world. “So we think we’ve cracked the code on how to make
“So (businesses) are interested in the program,” said this work.” q
Mr. Smith. “They’re funding 90 to 95 percent of the value
Fall 2007 | 9
Privatized military family housing
begins with a ‘sPrint’ By Gil Dominguez
Editor’s Note: Ian Smith, deputy housing priva- “Everybody here is focused on the same thing,” he
tization chief, describes the execution of a privatized added. “These folks are dedicated to the program; that’s
military family housing project as a “sprint” whereas our job.”
portfolio management is a “marathon.”
“On the execution side, we get everything done in Developing the request for proposal
The group spends many hours “assembling project
about two years,” he said. “Portfolio management
requirements, visiting the bases and working on
(on the other hand) is a 50-year marriage to a
documents for coming up with the RFP (request for
private- ectorfirmthathastowork:divorceisnot proposal),” said Von Bashay, a project manager and
an option.” member of the privatization team.
This article deals with the “sprint” part of The RFP is a document that tells potential developers
Privatized Military Family Housing program while what the Air Force’s requirements are and invites them to
the article on page 13 describes the “marathon.” bid on a project.
Once requirements have been “solidified and we
have produced an RFP draft,” the team may organize an
industry forum “where we invite interested developers
he “sprint” starts with project manager Eric to come out and talk to us and gather information on
Staph leading the team that will oversee all projects,” said Mr. Bashay. “After the industry forum
transactions that need to take place for a housing we continue to fine tune the solicitation package before
project to become a reality. putting it out on the street for proposals.”
Mr. Staph’s team of financial and legal advisors and RFPs are published in the Department of Commerce
contracting specialists is leveraged by privatization- publication Commerce Business Daily.
support consultants who bring their “private-sector
expertise in real estate development and transactions” to The selection process starts
the mix, he said. Large projects usually attract four or five developers
“We use them to do all the heavy lifting as far as who are interested enough to submit a bid. All the
developing, with our guidance, the request for proposal, proposals, which have to be submitted by a specific
selecting the developers and bringing the transaction to a deadline, are evaluated by a privatization support
close,” said the project manager. contractor who checks to see if they meet project
Mr. Staph said the AFCEE team is unique in that requirements. The developers who pass this initial
everyone is located in the same building, within a few feet screening are then invited to give oral presentations about
of each other, which makes for a more effective working their capabilities.
relationship. Taking part in the selection process is an acquisition
“Most of the other programs I’ve worked in the Air support team, or AST, which includes AFCEE financial
Force people were scattered in different buildings,” he managers as well as engineering and housing personnel
said. “The benefit (of working close together) is quick from the affected base and representatives from the
reaction. We are able to propose an idea or an issue and installation’s major command. It’s a “well-rounded team”
get a resolution or direction within minutes, rather than that asks “valid questions to determine if a contractor
have to send e-mails across town. Face-to-face interaction meets the proposal’s requirements,” said Mr. Bashay.
makes the team work better. The team has a set of minimum requirements for
rating the developers who are evaluated in three areas:
1 0 | CenterVi ews
A privatized housing project on Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska.
financial, design and construction concept and property letter of credit at closing – like a down payment on a
management. house — plus money they’ll get from a private lender.”
Financial managers Lisa Fisher and Terry Talley are The team looks at a developer’s track record of
involved early in the selection process. providing funds for these types of projects. Housing
“We start out when a base is selected for privati- privatization deals, however, are usually subsidized with
zation,” said Ms. Fisher. “We do a feasibility study to be some form of government cash contribution, either a
sure it (housing) can be done and that it meets all our direct loan or an equity cash investment, which can be
financial criteria. We form a project-development team in the form of land or already existent housing, said
with the bases and the major commands and get all the Ms. Talley.
information about each aspect of the project, such as Said Ms. Fisher, “We do a feasibility assessment to see
existing conditions, security services, contracting if the project is financially feasible and determine what the
and others.” gap is and the amount of government direct loan available
The privatization support contractors develop also an that we’re going to put into the RFP.
estimate of a project’s total costs, a “financial pro forma” “The RFP includes incentives for developers to be
that includes a project’s 50-year cash-flow forecast. rated more favorably if they use less government money
The basic question, according to Ms. Fisher, is: “Where and more private-sector money. The goal is for them to
is the money coming from to do the project?” use their money before ours.”
“We expect the developer to put up equity, which Another factor is whether the developer can provide
ranges between 3 to 5 percent of total development cost,” housing that is comparable to what is currently on the
she said. “The developer has to bring that in cash or a market; that is, in the private sector. This aspect includes
Fall 2007 | 11
the design and layout of the units and any amenities that the deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for
will be included. installations. Dissenting opinions are included in the
“One of the things we have to avoid is the ‘beauty source-selection decision documents.
contest,’” warned Mr. Staph. “When developers submit “The secretary has overruled the AST several times
their proposals there is a lot of flash and fancy pictures in when he believed that the rating or analysis was flawed,”
there. They’re going to give us the world. said Mr. Smith.
“That’s where the experienced team needs to focus
in on whether the developer can really provide what he’s Closing the deal
saying, and make sure the bases don’t just look at the After the selection is approved, the AFCEE team starts
fancy pictures and say, ‘I want that.’” working with its privatization support contractor to enter
At the same time, said Ms. Fisher, the hope is that into negotiations with the developer and fine tune the
the developer will provide not just the basic housing firm’s initial proposal.
requirements in the “The
RFP but offer extras developer can
as well — although
within the scope of
“…(T)he hope is that the developer provide additional
information on how
the project’s cost.
will provide not just the basic they are going to
accomplish all the
housing requirements in the elements that are
given within the
RFP but offer extras as well — proposal,” explained
banking on their
expertise to provide
although within the scope of the “If we are
greater (housing) project’s cost.” getting through the
than … the Air negotiation period,
Force can provide. Lisa Fisher, financial manager we inform the
They use their developer that we’re
ability to purchase moving forward and
in bulk and their relationship with suppliers and lenders head toward gearing up for closing of the project.”
to leverage something greater than what the government By closing time, the developer must have secured
is able to pay for.” financing, made arrangements with the local utility
The third factor is property management. company, entered into deals with construction and
“Are they able to handle it (project management)?” management companies and done all the other things
asked Mr. Smith rhetorically. “It’s one thing to build or necessary to get the housing built and managed.
renovate 1,000 units, but can you manage the people for It’s a process similar to what families go through
50 years after that?” when contracting with the company that will build
Picking the right developer The developer has to furnish, also, a letter of
Although the AST often arrives at a consensus about commitment from a lender, noting all terms of the
the developer they want for the project, there are, on loan, including rates, fees, pre-payment penalties and
occasion, disagreements. If that is the case, said Mr. Smith, other details.
it’s only fair that those who disagree be able to discuss “Once he (the developer) has all that nailed down we
with the group why they see things differently. find a date we can all agree on for the closing and meet at
“They may have uncovered something in the (RFP) the legal folks’ establishment and sign all the paperwork,”
that everybody else missed,” he said. said Mr. Bashay.
If the matter is discussed and consensus is still not The documents are recorded in the courthouse or
reached, a majority vote decides the issue. county where the projects are located. q
Once the AST has made its selection, its recom-
mendation goes to the selection authority, which is
1 2 | CenterVi ews
Housing privatization is a
long-term commitment By Gil Dominguez
Old housing is demolished on Andrews Air Force Base, Md., to make room for a new project.
he 50-year “marriage” of a military family purpose being to introduce base officials to the housing
housing privatization project and the Housing privatization process.
Privatization Program Management Office “Two or three months down the road we have an
begins when the execution team completes its asset-management startup visit where we go into
work and closes the deal with the developer. more detail with the base,” said portfolio manager Steven
Actually, it begins earlier than that. Right before Stark. “We go through the basic requirements for that
closing, the PMO’s portfolio-management team pays a particular location.”
one-day orientation visit to the affected installation, the
Fall 2007 | 13
Meetings during the visit are attended by all the
stakeholders at the base, and the owner (developer) also
may have representatives present. “We want to make
Four to six months later, the team goes for a “roles-
and-responsibilities” visit to the base. sure the projects are
“We actually take some of the legal documents
and go through a compliance testing tools that we put financially healthy and
together for the base,” said Mr. Stark. “The base will use
it to monitor the project owner’s progress, operations, that the developer is
maintenance: anything the legal documents indicate might
need to be looked at.” actually building what
The checklist is used also by portfolio management to
examine the financial aspects of a project. he or she said would be
Over the life of the project, the owner will generate
a quarterly report starting with the development period built.”
and covering renovation, maintenance and finances. These
Allan Garrido, project manager
reports are combined with those of the Army and Navy
and sent to the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
During a project’s initial development period, A project management review committee is set up at
portfolio management will make additional visits as the base, chaired by the wing commander. Its membership
requested by base officials and deal with issues and consists of the project owner, other base officials and
unforeseen developments that might pop up during the possibly housing residents.
construction phase. At the committee meetings all the parties “talk things
“We want to make sure the projects are financially over, see how everything is going,” said Mr. Stark. “It’s
healthy and that the developer is actually building what also a good time for them to bring up issues and resident
he or she said would be built,” said project manager Allan concerns. This keeps conflict resolution down to the
Garrido. lowest level possible.”
Fifty years is a very long time, and during that
Class A projects half-century things are going to change, as the portfolio
Once the housing is completed, the portfolio manage- manager acknowledged. A deal that is struck today may
ment team will begin making annual visits and grading have to be renegotiated two years down the road to
the project. take advantage of new policies and processes that may
“We compare it to a downtown Class A residential improve existing projects.
facility and put a grade together,” said Mr. Stark. “If we notice anything that one of the project owners
He added: “We’re expecting everything to be Class is implementing that may be a good deal, we want to put
A for 50 years. As we look at the reinvestment account, it into our generic documents,” Mr. Stark said. “We want
capital repair and replacement, we’re trying to do all these to get those good practices in from the very beginning.”
things that will keep the units up in Class A standards.” As to what makes a good project, deputy housing
In the real estate market, when a property gets to be privatization chief Ian Smith describes it as one that
ten years old it falls into the Class C category, at which “meets market standards, is in a safe environment and has
time the owner might think about demolishing it or a sense of community.”
spending a lot of money to bring it up to Class A status.
The team looks at how the project is being operated Managing the property
and managed as well as how the owner and base asset Property management is critical, as Mr. Garrido
management are coordinating their activities. pointed out.
“They (base asset management) are partnering with a “Property management will be there throughout the
developer,” Mr. Stark emphasized. “It’s not just a contract. 50 years, keeping the community in shape, keeping the
We want to get away from that (concept).” houses in shape,” he said. “Tenants are going to vote with
their feet. If a military member is not satisfied he’ll go
1 4 | CenterVi ews
Military tenants pay their rent with their basic one-year lease. Military members who are waiting for a
allowance for housing, which amounts to the average that vacancy are given priority over the general public. As of the
people in the community pay for their houses. A portion most recent count, 178 general public residents were living
of that BAH goes to pay off the project’s debt as well as in privatized housing, AFCEE officials said.
into accounts that are used to maintain and upgrade the “I’ve got to have occupants,” emphasized Mr. Smith.
units and replace them when that becomes necessary. “If the military votes to go live someplace else, I need
“Some of the projects require developers to split the someone in there paying that rent so that the people who
cash flow,” said Mr. Stark. “The maximum they can get is are staying get the amenities, the maintenance on time, get
50 percent. A lot of times they’ll split the cash flow 70-30 the renovations.”
percent in favor of the government.”
The revenues are A unique
kept in a “lockbox” partnership
and managed so that
they earn interest for Housing The housing
the government. In
one case, by shifting Scorecard is unique in that
the “Air Force and
funds from one the private owners
account to another, Some facts about the Privatized Military Family Housing are aligned in their
the Air Force will be Initiative: interests,” said Kevin
able to earn $120,000 Pearson a senior vice
he Air Force is privatizing just under 66,000 housing
the first year and units in 54 bases. president with the
more than $10 million AFCEE consulting
over the life of the
s of the most recent count, work was ongoing at 24
A firm Jones Lang
portfolio. bases and completed at seven other installations. LaSalle.
But without The Air Force
tenants the revenue
t the completed bases, about 4,380 new units were
A wants the Airmen to
built and 800 renovated.
stream will dry up. have good housing
So what if there aren’t all the bases, just over 6,000 unit have been finished
In and so does the owner,
enough military and 1,250 renovated. otherwise military
families who want families will live
to live in privatized
o date, the Air Force has spent about $447 million on
T somewhere else and
housing? the Privatized Military Family Housing Initiative. the project will fail,
That’s where the causing the firm to
“tenant waterfall” default on the govern-
comes in. Designed to ment loan, he said.
keep revenues flowing, it’s basically a five-tiered program “The program is built on the public-private
that helps maintain occupancy rates at certain levels. partnership ideal,” said Mr. Pearson. “Unfortunately,
Air Force families are the number-one priority there remains a mindset with some that profit is somehow
followed by active-duty personnel from the other military bad and that all the money goes to the private owner. In
services, but when occupancy drops below 95 percent practice, most project owners have made a significant
the housing is open also to members of the Guard and financial and resource commitment to support military
Reserve. families and are motivated not only for profit but also to
If occupancy rates continue to fall or don’t increase, do the right thing.
the housing is next made available to federal civil service “The fact of the matter is that this is a profit-sharing
people as well as military and federal government retirees. arrangement,” he continued, “and the projects have to be
Next in line are DOD contractors and finally members profitable in order to be successful. If a project does well
of the general public. financially, the Air Force gets part of the profit. The more
The project owner does a background and financial profitable, the more the Air Force gets. The Air Force
check on all general public persons applying to live in portion of the profits is then set aside for future housing
privatized housing, and they are allowed to sign only a and community improvements.” q
Fall 2007 | 15
Preparing for privatized housing important
I “It is important … that tenants
nstallations new to privatized military family housing
can count on AFCEE for assistance in managing their
projects. understand what this animal
“While the execution team works with the base team
to write the RFP (request for proposal) we go out about
called privatization will mean …”
a year ahead of closing and start teaching them (asset Barbara Burnham, housing specialist
managers) the basics,” said Barbara Burnham, housing
handed a lease and are told that they will have to pay an
specialist with the Housing Privatization Program
allotment for their houses.
“They say, ‘What? I don’t want to do that. I don’t
AFCEE has prepared a number of tools to help asset
want to pay rent. I’ve never paid rent before,’” said
managers and other base officials in their day-today
duties, including workshops conducted at different points
In reality, she said, they have always paid, although in
in the housing-privatization process.
a different way.
The workshops also help asset managers “start
“Right now, if members live in government housing
planting the seeds (of privatization) with the Airmen —
they don’t get the BAH (base allowance for housing),”
the potential tenants — and the commanders.”
she said. “It is retained by the Treasury. If they live
Because there is an initial decrease in occupancy at
off base, the BAH is included in their regular pay as a
any new project, it is important that “potential tenants
understand what this animal called privatization will
The BAH, a non-taxable amount paid monthly, is
mean and how it will change what they’re accustomed
based on a member’s pay grade (rank) as well as other
to,” the housing specialist said.
factors, such as where the service member is stationed in
Without such preparation, she said, going from
the United States and whether he or she has dependents.
government to privatized housing would be “like
It is meant to match the average monthly rent in the area
having a bucket of cold water thrown in their (military
where the member is stationed.
“For members in privatized housing,” Ms. Burnham
For example, military people who have lived in
continued, “the BAH is included in their pay, just like
government housing for most of their careers are now
for members who live off base. The difference is that
they then pay rent, in the form of an allotment, to the
Service members get also a utility allowance, which
is 110 percent of the average annual utilities for the
particular type of house in which they are living. This
amount is subtracted from the BAH.
Also, the lease that the tenants sign is not very
different from the condition of quarters occupancy
document they endorsed when they moved into
government housing or their lease for an apartment off
base, noted Ms. Burnham.
In addition, tenants are allowed to have a home-based
business if they want, just like they did in government
housing, and the project owner has to support a daycare
program, which is inspected by the Air Force. q
An asset management class for base officials who have privatized military
family housing on their installations is held in San Antonio.
1 6 | CenterVi ews
ReNt cOllectiON made easy
By Lois Buckley
Housing Privatization Program Management Office
Rent collection does not need to be an obstacle to the
financial viability of a privatized housing project. With the
availability of the allotment and the Military Assistance
Company process, rental receipts each month are timely
and accurate. does not need to be
MAC, a firm based in Kentucky, has worked with
private lenders and the Defense Finance and Accounting an obstacle to the
Service, the agency responsible for military pay, since 1985
to facilitate allotment payments for recurring loans.
In 2000, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Baltimore of a privatized
District awarded MAC a pilot program contract to start,
stop and change allotments for rent payments for the housing project.
Army’s second housing privatization project at Fort
Hood, Texas. The program was successful and MAC was
awarded two additional contracts for all Army projects.
After reviewing the MAC process, AFCEE approved
the program, making it available to all Air Force If the project changes the rent amount when a
privatization projects. It is currently available or will tenant is promoted, MAC facilitates that change through
be at 33 Air Force projects. information obtained from DFAS, with no need for the
MAC offers both corporate and government rate fee resident to inform property management of the increased
structures. BAH or visit the base finance office. MAC will also
MAC’s direct access to the DFAS computer systems automatically increase all rent allotments at the beginning
allows high-collection rates for the many receipts these of the year, based on the new Military Housing Area tables.
projects generate each month. Property managers MAC provides also detailed reports on transactions
never want any more or any less than what they should that did not start and the reason why; promotion
receive. By controlling the information flow on housing notifications; possible discrepancies between residents’
occupancy, they can more readily ensure they are BAH entitlement and their corresponding allotment
receiving correct rent amounts and the resident is not amount; payment reports; and a consolidated posting file.
falling behind on payment or suffering financially due to For new projects, MAC can work also with the project
over-charges. owner to initiate the BAH entitlement for those in quarters
The process is simple. MAC starts the allotment at the at the time of conversion.
time the resident moves into privatized housing, changes Ms.BuckleyisafinancialmanagerwiththeHousing
the allotment as needed to always match the resident’s PrivatizationProgramManagementOffice.Formore
basic housing allowance, or BAH, and stops the allotment information on how MAC can assist your project, please contact
when the resident moves out. her at (210) 536-8582 or Lois.Buckley@brooks.af.mil. At MAC,
The property manager initiates action by sending contactRickBoswell,(866)872-7531x2373orrboswell@fknc.
a file each month detailing who moved in or out of com. q
privatized housing the previous month. MAC determines
the amount of BAH the resident should be receiving and
starts a discretionary allotment in the resident’s name for
Fall 2007 | 17
Workshop fills need for PBC
training, say officials
AFCEE’s Technical Division was the host of a Facilities Engineering Command and the Department of
performance-based contracting workshop held at Energy who addressed a number of PBC-related topics
Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, in September. and lessons learned.
More than 250 industry, government and military Also attending, which workshop organizers said was
representatives attended the three-day Restoration- “of particular significance,” were representatives from
Focused Performance-Based Contracting Workshop at the such regulatory agencies as the Interstate Technology
base’s Arnold Hall Community Center. Regulatory Council, the South Carolina Department
The event’s list of presenters included officials from of Health and Environmental Control and the U. S.
AFCEE, the Army Environmental Center, the Naval Environmental Protection Agency.
More than 250 industry, government and military representatives attend the three-day Restoration-Focused Performance-Based Contracting Workshop
sponsored by AFCEE’s Technical Division at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. (Photo by Gil Dominguez)
1 8 | CenterVi ews
As its name implies, PBC is an acquisition method that identify objectives and their corresponding standards and
focuses on the purpose and desired outcome of a project metrics; generate a draft statement of objectives; identify
rather than the process by which the work is performed. potential project “minefields”; and recommends corrective
Serving as moderators for the various discussions actions or solutions based on lessons learned.
were Erica Becvar, Dr. Javier Santillan, Dr. Mark AFCEE officials said the demand for PBC training
Rodriguez and Ed Brown, all of the Technical Division’s was evident based on past demands for such training and
Restoration Branch. the response to the workshop, which was filled within
Also available for participants were optional short two weeks of it being advertised. The response was so
courses, held back at Brooks, that focused on evaluating great that the event had to be moved to a larger venue at
PBC proposals and an introduction to the newly Lackland, said officials.
developed AFCEE Performance-Based Contracting/ More information about the AFCEE PBC initiative
Statement of Objectives Developmental Tool Web Page can be found online at http://www.afcee.brooks.af.mil/
(http://www.afcee.brooks.af.mil/products/pbc/ products/pbc/. Workshop materials also are available
pbctool/) online at http://www.afcee.brooks.af.mil/products/pbc/
The “PBC tool,” for short, helps environmental pasttraining.asp. q
managers decide if a restoration site is suitable for PBC;
DLA centrALizeD Asset mAnAgement
heLps upgrADe fAciLities
he Defense Logistics Agency has begun using a For DLA, the program correlates observed asset
software program that will help the organization condition with empirical data to predict a facility’s
improve budget practices and make it easier to remaining service life, and this data can be updated and
get critical repairs done at DLA sites nationwide shared with anyone, anywhere, at anytime through the
to bring them up to world-class condition. Web.
The agency operates a worldwide system of Defense The product was used to assess interior and exterior
Distribution Centers on military installations that provides systems and components at the more than 65 million
war-fighting resources to Airmen locally and abroad. square-feet of functional facility space in DLA’s Property
But after base-level budget constraints over the past Condition Assessment & Remediation Program. Interior
several years caused delays in much-needed repairs at systems included electrical, heating and air-conditioning
a number of DLA facilities, agency officials asked for while exterior systems encompassed roofing, structural,
AFCEE’s assistance in finding a centralized program to paving and dock equipment.
improve budgeting management and thus make it easier Additionally, energy audits and environmental
to get the repairs done. reviews were conducted; more than 600 modifications and
After looking into a number of different options, design drawings were done; and quality control reviews
AFCEE selected Vertex®, an engineering management were performed on the assessment management data
system with Web-based applications developed by collected on the distribution centers.
MACTEC Engineering and Consulting, Inc. of Atlanta. This information was used by technicians to correct
Among other features, the program enables organizations discrepancies found in safety audits at the centers,
to manage their activities through their Websites. focusing particularly on electrical hazards, loading dock
Vertex is used by Fortune 500 companies as well as safety and other problems.
the U.S. Navy and other Department of Defense agencies. Also, energy conservation projects were developed
The program, in fact, coincides with the environmental that have resulted in more than 40 percent in energy-
management system principles set by DOD, said AFCEE saving costs.
officials. At the distribution center on Robins Air Force Base,
Ga., officials there acquired also the Computerized
Fall 2007 | 19
Maintenance Management Systems through AFCEE. By while the rest for other purposes, such as administration
integrating this system with Vertex they were able to form or hazardous-materials storage, the entire building still
“a true end-to-end management solution” that generates will be assigned the warehousing code.
“business cases” for repairs and then schedules and The space-categorization program helps obtain
executes them, said officials. accurate coding which improves funding for DLA
As the repairs are done, the Property Condition projects. It also gives the agency an accurate count of its
Assessment & Remediation Program data in Vertex space distribution and assures that the proper type of
are updated automatically, which helps in planning space is available for changing needs, said officials.
for the following year’s Sustainment, Restoration and Centralized asset management allows DLA to
Modernization, or SRM, program funding. restructure how it manages its distribution centers and
Work at Robins will cover more than 1,500 electrical, more efficiently serve the DOD mission, said AFCEE
mechanical, structural and roofing assets in and around officials.
25 buildings as well as five paved lots at the 2.96 million “We’re moving toward a more widespread strategy
square-foot depot. of centralizing or ‘bundling’ purchases of both goods
AFCEE procured also a space-categorization program and services and standardizing our core processes and
for DLA. DOD assigns a category code for every building service standards where feasible,” said Maj. Gen. Del
in its inventory, which determines the facility’s SRM Eulberg, the Air Force Civil Engineer. “Without exception,
funding level. The most common code is “warehousing,” corporations, cities and federal agencies who have
and DLA has a disproportionate amount of facilities in adopted asset management capabilities have significantly
that category, said officials. reduced their costs and dramatically improved their
They explained that if a facility has one million effectiveness and efficiency.” q
square-feet of space and 800,000 is used for warehousing
A worker installs a new perimeter light at a Defense Logistics Agency facility at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The DLA has begun using a software program
that will make it easier for the organization to get critical repairs done to its buildings. (Photo courtesy MACTEC Engineering and Consulting, Inc.)
2 0 | CenterVi ews
VACUUM SEWER SySTEM COMPLETED AT LANGLEy
By Matthew Grostick, PE, and William Porter, PE
FCEE and its prime contractor AMEC Earth
& Environmental, Inc., recently installed a $3
million vacuum sewer system at Langley Air Excavation uncovers
Force Base, Va. gravestones
The vacuum system is the first at Langley, one of the
Because of Langley Air Force Base’s long history
nation’s oldest air bases and headquarters of Air Combat (it was purchased by the federal government in 1916),
Command. The system was placed in what is known as excavations at the Virginia base are rarely uneventful.
the “Lighter than Air,” or LTA, section on the northeastern Such was the case when the new vacuum sewer
side of the base. system was recently installed at the base’s Lighter than
Home to hydrogen-filled blimps and dirigibles during
The digging was stopped briefly when workers
Langley’s early days, the LTA has long been a military unearthed something totally unexpected: the remains
housing area. of four gravestones with the names of the deceased
The existing gravity sanitary sewer system in the still engraved on them.
LTA area had exceeded its service life and had suffered As required by protocol, all work stopped until
Langley’s cultural and resources specialists could
extensive damage. Its poor condition, coupled with
examine the objects. Their investigation included a
Langley’s location in the Tidewater Area with its shallow review of old installation maps and a genealogical
groundwater table, allowed excessive infiltration and search of the names on the headstones.
inflow to occur. This, in turn, caused non-sanitary The research revealed that there never was a
sewer flows to increase and drove up sanitary waste- cemetery at Langley. Instead, the gravestones belonged
to Confederate Civil War soldiers who were – and still
treatment costs. are – buried at Hampton National Cemetery in the city
Also, the existing system was connected to multiple of Hampton.
roof drains, basement sump pumps and storm-water As it turns out, many years ago Hampton replaced
conveyance lines. During storms, the cross connections its damaged markers, which were then used as
stepping stones outside houses at Langley’s LTA. The
allowed excessive runoff to enter the sanitary sewer
unearthed headstones were returned to the cemetery
system, which increased sewer flow rates. for final disposition.
The many large, old trees in the LTA area have At less than one-fifth of an acre in size, Hampton
extensive root systems that damaged pipe sections, National Cemetery is the smallest burial site run by
allowing sediments, rocks and organic matter to enter the the Department of Veterans Affairs. Located on the
grounds of the Hampton VA Medical Center complex
sanitary sewer system. Also, structural failures allowed in Hampton, it consists of 22 graves aligned in three
ex-filtration of sanitary sewage. rows. q
Langley was a perfect candidate for a vacuum system
because of its high water table. Vacuum systems rely
on differential air pressure rather than gravity to move of electrical and vacuum station equipment and a sanitary
sewage to a vacuum station and then to a treatment plant. sewer lift station.
Therefore, shallower depths are required for the pipes Because approximately 60 buildings and residences
and smaller diameter pipes are needed – factors that were affected by the construction, AMEC implemented
reduce excavation costs and the duration and severity of a community awareness program in the area to notify
community and environmental impacts. In addition, only residents and tenants in advance of the work.
a single vacuum station was needed to replace numerous Despite one interruption when workers discovered
lift stations. some old partial gravestones (see above story), the project
The project involved laying in more than 8,000 feet of was completed on schedule and without any accidents or
vacuum sewer mains and branches, 34 vacuum vale pits, homeowner complaints. The success of the project was
gravity sewer laterals and clean-outs; construction of a due to close coordination with AFCEE, Langley Air Force
two-story vacuum station; and installation and connection Base and AMEC personnel.
Fall 2007 | 21
Vacuum sewers are not new. Although they have Vacuum sewers may be ideal in areas with a high
gained acceptance in the U.S. only in the past 30 years, groundwater table, unstable soils, flat terrain, sensitive
they were first used in Europe in 1882. The main supplier ecosystem and a number of other conditions.
of vacuum equipment is AIRVAC, a world leader in There are construction advantages as well as
vacuum sewerage technology. operational advantages to using vacuum sewers, which
The company’s first U.S. municipal vacuum sewer include substantial reductions in water use, material costs,
system was installed in St. Michael’s, Md. in the early excavation costs and treatment expenses.
1970s, and since then more than 700 AIRVAC systems MatthewGrostickisaseniorprojectmanagerforAMEC
have been installed worldwide, including nearly 250 in Earth&Environmental,Inc.andWilliamPorterischiefof
the United States. construction management at Langley Air Force Base. q
NEW POLICy CALLS FOR ‘grEENEr’ AIR FORCE BUILDINGS
The Air Force is getting “greener.” At these four stages in the life of a building, the
A memorandum signed in July by Maj. Gen. Del electronic scorecard is filled out and posted on an
Eulberg, the Air Force Civil Engineer, updates and AFCEE-developed Website, since AFCEE is responsible
expands the service’s sustainability policy set in 2001, for overseeing the implementation of the new Air Force
which stated that by fiscal year 2009 all MILCON, or policy.
military construction projects, would have to be capable “We have an accountability piece to the policy we
of achieving a certified rating under the Leadership in didn’t have in 2001,” noted Mr. Mesick, adding that the
Energy and Environmental Design system. new process “will help the Air Force achieve its goal
LEED, nationally accepted as the benchmark for the of 100 percent of its MILCON projects being capable of
design, construction and operation of high-performance achieving LEED silver by 2009.
green buildings, was established by the U.S. Green “It follows closely what the Army and Navy are
Building Council, a non-profit organization representing doing,” he said. “Both of those branches are going for silver
every sector of the building industry. as well, so we’re in lockstep with our sister services.”
The new Air Force Sustainable Design and Development AFCEE has created, also, tools to implement the
Policy memo “reinforces and expands on the old policy policy, Mr. Mesick said, so that “it’s more than just a
and raises the bar to silver certification,” which is the next policy letter.”
highest level, said Gene Mesick, chief of the Technical The first tool is a technical letter that the Center is
Division’s Built Infrastructure Branch. developing jointly with its sister organization, the Air
The LEED system has four ratings: certified, silver, Force Civil Engineer Support Agency at Tyndall Air Force
gold and platinum. These are based on the total number Base, Fla. The letter gives “the nuts and bolts on how to
of points a building receives in the areas of human and execute the policy,” he said.
environmental health: sustainable site development; water Secondly, AFCEE is updating its Web-based Air Force
savings; energy efficiency; materials selection; and indoor Sustainable Facilities Guide, originally published in 2003.
environmental quality. Thirdly, as noted earlier, the Center is developing a
In other words, the greener the building the higher Web-based reporting tool, the electronic scorecard, that
the rating. will be used to determine LEED policy compliance.
The council awards LEED certification after managers All these tools should be available shortly, but no later
submit an application showing that a project meets than April, said Mr. Mesick.
the rating system’s requirements. The process for new “The whole drive is toward greener buildings,
construction certification was recently streamlined and friendlier to the environment and more energy efficient,”
automated so that the application can be submitted he said. “As the name implies, sustainable means use of
electronically, officials said. fewer resources over the life of the project.”
The new policy creates also “an accountability A sustainable building is also one that meets the
tool” that now requires “designers and constructors needs of the present without compromising the ability of
to report their successes by using a LEED scorecard,” future generations to meet their own needs, according to
said Mr. Mesick. “The process will be reported at four environmental officials. q
points during the project phase: at programming, design
charette, design completion and construction completion.”
2 2 | CenterVi ews
Around the Air Force
Air National Guard
helps Texas city with insect study
By Sgt. Matthew Wester
100th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
Texas Army National Guard
RIO GRANDE CITY, Texas — Most people avoid
insects at all costs. Maj. Lisa O’Brien is on a mission to find
as many as she can.
Major O’Brien, a public health officer for the Texas
Air National Guard’s 149th Medical Group, was in the
Rio Grande Valley trapping insects and studying their
population patterns to help the local community combat
potentially harmful insect-borne diseases.
“We’re conducting insect vector surveillance,” said
Major O’Brien. “This community hasn’t had the resources
to do it in the past.”
Her 12-person team, which consisted of members of
the Texas Air National Guard, U.S. Air Force, Texas Army
National Guard and representatives from the Department
of State Health Services, trapped mosquitoes, an insect
known for carrying various diseases. Certain mosquitoes
can carry the West Nile virus and Dengue fever, which
were two main topics of concern for Major O’Brien and
the other South Texas area public health personnel.
Dr. (Col.) Connie McNabb, 149th Medical Wing
commander, said the USAF School of Aerospace Medicine
provided 90 percent of the sampling equipment used in
the mission. She mentioned, too, that their personnel were
vital members of the survey team.
Dr. McNabb and Major O’Brien noted that the
presence of insects doesn’t necessarily point to the
presence of diseases, such as the West Nile and Dengue Tech. Sgt. Irene Schwaninger, 149th Medical Group’s Preventive Aerospace
viruses, but does help health officials in their prevention Medicine Team, prepares a mosquito trap. After the team identifies the
mosquito, it can determine what kind of disease it carries and how to
campaigns. control it. (Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Lisa Castillo)
West Nile virus is a serious illness with symptoms
such as high fever, headaches, neck stiffness, vision loss
and even paralysis, according to the Centers for Disease “The border doesn’t matter at all,” Major O’Brien
Control. explained. “The river is not a barrier. People can come
Dengue fever, usually associated with the tropics, is over infected. They can bring it over in their cars.”
present just across the border in Mexico. As Major O’Brien The CDC lists severe fever, hemorrhage and shock
pointed out, insects know no borders. as symptoms associated with the Dengue virus. Major
Fall 2007 | 23
Around the Air Force
O’Brien said the fever is especially serious for children, said Major O’Brien. “There are a lot of things they can do
who can have as high as a 15 percent mortality rate after locally to help protect themselves. People need to know
contracting the virus. where these mosquitoes are developing.”
The major’s team hoped to prevent the presence The team used also other equipment to catch and
of these diseases through careful surveying of insect sample the tick population and worked with city officials
populations in the Rio Grande Valley region. She and to study drainage, water treatment, soil samples and
her “bug experts” went to areas likely to have insect other environmental issues. State health staffers offered
populations to trap the mosquitoes during their larval and guidance to the local officials about acquiring grants to
mature stages. fund future insect-control projects.
“We look everywhere — yards, carports, patios, Dr. McNabb said the economic benefits to the
anywhere there is standing water in containers,” said community would be high and last long after the mission
Major O’Brien. “It’s a very detailed survey. We’re actually was over. She said the results of the studies will allow city
counting the individual larvae.” officials to better plan infrastructure improvement and
Major O’Brien said she gathered adult insects using know which prevention and education measures to plan
light traps at night. The traps emit light and dry ice, and implement in the community.
which mimics the release of carbon dioxide that occurs Major O’Brien’s team learns as much as it can every
when a person exhales, drawing mosquitoes to the time it goes out into the field. The real-world experience
released vapors. and team building will be very valuable when one or all of
After trapping and identifying the mosquitoes, the them are deployed to protect military personnel stationed
team analyzed the data to estimate the amounts of insects in foreign countries.
in a given area. These estimates are important to Rio “This mission was really important to us because
Grande Valley health officials. we got to practice the specific skills we will use when
“They can use the surveillance results to determine we are overseas,” she said. “We’re doing the exact same
how much fogging and chemical control (is required),” things.” q
Director from page 4
Said Mr. Parker: “We’ve had numerous volunteers Mr. Parker remembered also that on his first day on
to serve in Iraq, both military and civilian. We have seen the job a couple of members of his senior staff walked
people selected for school in residence. We have seen our into his office and gave him some advice. They said they
officers promoted and seen them selected for command. knew he wanted to make changes but suggested that he
We are seeing many of you step up to our leadership be patient, instead. “‘Give it three or four months,’” he
challenges and positions and seen many of you leave said they told him. “‘Get to know us. Get to know the
AFCEE and move on to bigger challenges. organization and you will know what we’re capable of.’
“So, yes, by this definition (that success is about “That was sound advice then and it is advice I will
people) I can leave feeling very good. I am proud of each give my successor,” said Mr. Parker.
of you.” “Shakespeare was right, ‘parting is such sweet
As to what he will miss about AFCEE, Mr. Parker sorrow,’” he said. “It has been an honor and a pleasure
listed the staff’s pep rallies for the San Antonio Spurs NBA to have served with each of you. There will always be a
team; all the many Tex-Mex food restaurants in town that special place in my heart for AFCEE, but it is time to move
he “didn’t get a chance to visit;” the Halloween costume on. The Air Force needs me in Washington, and it’s time
contests; “rodeo days” as staffers celebrated the San to go. You will never, ever have a larger supporter than
Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo; and “all the things that me. I will be watching and cheering you on.” q
make this organization very special. But most of all I will
miss all of you.”
2 4 | CenterVi ews
Same job, same risk, no rank:
DOD civilians deploy with military
By Marti D. Ribeiro
hile more and more uniformed personnel assistant to the AFCEE division that overseas AFCEE
arrive in Iraq, military members may projects in Iraq. “They face the same physical risks as
notice that some of those uniforms their military counterparts, and then you realize that they
display no rank and are usually worn volunteered to do this — that speaks volumes.”
with hiking boots. The civilians eat, sleep and work in the same
These “uniformed” personnel are government conditions as the military deployed to the area of
civilians who volunteered to deploy to the area of operations.
operations in support of the Global War on Terror. But, according to Ms. Bilbrey, it’s definitely worth it.
AFCEE has at least four government civilians “AFCEE civilians bring extensive experience in project
deployed to Southwest Asia at any given time. The management and the AFCEE contracting process, and
agency contracts with private companies to construct and that shortens the learning curve tremendously,” she said.
reconstruct various facilities to include schools, military “Essentially, the civilians can hit the ground running and
bases, border forts and ministry buildings. So far, AFCEE provide the support that (the organizations in Iraq) need.
has contracted more than 470 projects, worth $3.82 billion They provide a unique continuity for individual projects,
and climbing. and often work the same projects from the San Antonio
Since 2004, when AFCEE awarded its first contract office upon their return.” q
in Iraq, more than 22 civilians have deployed to this
AFCEE manages the majority of the reconstruction
projects from its headquarters at Brooks City-Base in San
Antonio. But as with any construction project, it’s helpful
to have someone at the site to monitor progress and
“It’s amazing to see
ensure quality. AFCEE accomplishes this by deploying
civilians for four- to six-month rotations, just like their these civilians charging
According to Suzanne Bilbrey, civilian officer in
charge of the AFCEE support office in Baghdad, her staff
forward, working long
consists of two military members and four government
civilians. Civilians supplement military members who are hours and motivated to
stretched thin because of multiple tasks.
“Plus, engineers are always in short supply,” she said.
While Ms. Bilbrey made a weeklong trip to Iraq
get the job done right.”
in June, this is technically her first deployment to the Lt. Col. Jon D’Andrea
“It’s amazing to see these civilians charging forward,
working long hours and motivated to get the job done
right,” said Lt. Col. Jon D’Andrea, formerly technical
Fall 2007 | 25
S u p p o r t i n g t h e Tr o o p s
Lee Ann Kelly of the AFCEE Regional Environmental Office in Dallas gives a “welcome home” handshake
to a service member returning from the Middle East. Joining her in the greeting line at the Dallas-Fort
Worth International Airport are Mike Garrison, center, also with the REO; and Jack Courtney of the Regional
Dallas offices take part
in Welcome Home
Editor’s note: Are you or your organization doing something to show your support
The staffs at the AFCEE Regional Environmental The answer was the Welcome Home Heroes program
Office in Dallas and the collocated Regional Environ- at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
mental Counsel’s Office had been looking for a way to Welcome Home Heroes was started several years
show their support for American troops stationed in Iraq ago to allow communities to show their appreciation for
and Afghanistan when they discovered an opportunity in troops coming home for two weeks of R&R during their
their own backyard. deployment to Iraq, Afghanistan and other areas in the
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Since DFW airport was one of two airports selected Garrison. “With the military theme music blaring, the
as a point of arrival for the troops, the North Texas loud applause and the troops passing though a canyon
community decided to show its appreciation by greeting of local people waving American flags, you can’t help
all arriving service members. but swell with pride and gratitude for their service to
That is what the folks of the Dallas REO and RCO the country.
do. With music playing and flags waving, they join “But the best part is in the ‘wow’ in their eyes,”
other participants to form a greeting line and personally he continued. “You can tell they appreciate the hand
welcome home the returning warriors and thank them for shake, the ‘thanks for your service’ and the heartfelt
their service. ‘welcome home!’”
But it doesn’t end there. On many occasions REO and Welcome Home Heroes has grown through publicity
RCO people have been able to sit down with soldiers to and word of mouth. In fact, REO and RCO personnel
discuss all types of topics have regularly contacted other
with them and get also first- groups and persons to make
hand information about them aware of the program and
what is really happening Welcome Home Heroes its activities at the airport.
on the ground in Iraq and Program participants
Afghanistan. was started several years come from everywhere and all
Also, staffers have walks of life. Veterans’ groups,
sometimes been able to
assist individual soldiers
ago to allow communities businesses, schools, churches,
civic groups, youth groups and
by providing them with
transportation in the area.
to show their appreciation others all show up on a regular
One time, for example, an
office member on his day
for troops coming home for The service members
have been greeted also by
off drove a returning soldier
home to Sherman, Texas, near
two weeks of R&R during such dignitaries as Secretary
of Defense William Gates,
the Oklahoma border because members of Congress and
the service member’s mother
their deployment to Iraq, sports and entertainment
was unable to get off work to celebrities.
meet him. Afghanistan and other Greeters usually number in
And, of course, no the hundreds on any particular
returning military member areas in the Middle East. day. Many bring goodie bags
ever has to pay for coffee filled with every conceivable
or snacks at the arriving item that a returning soldier
terminal. might need. Signs are
The two offices have been active in the program for everywhere, some professionally made and others
about a year. Typically, two or four staffers are at the constructed by very young children. The colors red, white
airport once a week. and blue are everywhere.
REO director Robert Gill said the staffers are there The program has been so successful that it has
on official time since he makes DFW an alternate garnered national recognition. ABC News recently ran a
worksite, “considering it to be consistent with our story on it, and one of the program’s main spokespersons
mission objectives.” was named the “ABC Person of the Week.”
“I think I get as much from the experience as the The clip from that newscast is available on the
troops,” said regional environmental officer Mike YouTube Website by searching Welcome Home Heroes. q
Fall 2007 | 27
2007 design and construction
he 2007 USAF Design and Construction Awards Winners of the Merit Award for Concept Design were:
were presented in Washington in August by • Kunsan Air Base, Korea, Community Activity
Maj. Gen. Delwyn Eulberg, Office of the Air Center; and
Force Civil Engineer. • Wright-Patterson, Intelligence Production Complex.
Recipients of the Air Force Agent Awards and their In Interior Design:
categories were: • MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., Cyber Café and
• Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Pacific Enlisted Club.
Division, Design Agent of the Year;
• U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Iraq Gulf District,
Construction Agent of the Year; and Design
Through Construction Agent of the Year, Honolulu
• James B. Ritchie, NAVFAC, Southern Division,
Civilian Project Manager of the Year for Design;
• Edwin Yago, USACE, Honolulu District, Civilian
Project Manager of the Year for Construction; and
• Garrett P.C. Fong, NAVFAC Hawaii, Civilian
Project Manager of the Year for Design Through
In the Design Excellence Awards portion, the winners,
their installations and categories were:
• Senior Master Sgt. James E. Clark, Patrick Air Force
Base, Fla., Military Category; and
• Wayne Reber, Headquarters Air Mobility
Command, Scott Air Force Base, Ill., Civilian
The recipients of the Design and Construction Honor
Awards, Planning and Studies Guides categories were:
• West Virginia Air National Guard, Martinsburg,
Design Guide; and
• Nevada Air National Guard, Reno, Area
In Facility Design:
• F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., Historic Stables
Renovation; Lobby of a renovated horse stable that now serves as an Air Force
administrative building. The historic structure dates back to the days when
• Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Fitness Center; and F. E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., was an Army cavalry post. Its renovation
• Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, Design- earned the base an Honor Award in the 2007 USAF Design and Construction
Build Acquisition Management Complex, Phase IV. Awards competition.
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In Landscape Architecture: In Concept Design:
• F. E. Warren, Circuit Park; and • Misawa Air Base, Japan, Richard I. Bong Training
• Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., Bicentennial Center Renovation.
In Facility Design: In Landscape Architecture:
• Tennessee Air National Guard, Nashville, • Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., Medal of Honor
Maintenance Hangar & Shops; and Park
• Volk Field Air National Guard Base, Wis., Air
Traffic Control Tower. In Facility Design:
• Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Medical/Dental
Recipients of the Citation Award in Planning Studies Clinic; and
& Design Guides were: • Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport Air
• McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas, Community Reserve Station, Minn., Aeromedical Evacuation
Support District Antiterrorism/Force Protection Facility. q
• Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., Web-based
The fitness center at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, also received an Honor Award. Jurors said the facility displayed “outstanding use of interior space.”
Fall 2007 | 29
Contractor helps out community organization
Vista International Operations employees Dave Brabec, left, and B. L. Miers pose with children from the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio’s Eastside
branch. The desktop computer support technicians and their colleagues with the AFCEE contractor volunteered their time and the company donated
new software and equipment to upgrade the branch’s technology center.
AFCEE contractor Vista International Operations “It’s nice to be able to give a little back to the
donated approximately $15,000 in computer software, community, said Dave Brabec, one of the Vista employees
computer equipment and technician time to the Boys & who helped in upgrading the club’s computer technology.
Girls Clubs of San Antonio’s Eastside branch. “Children are the future – our efforts are an investment in
Company technicians installed new software and that future.”
equipment in the branch’s technology center, which is The Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio serve more
where the young people develop and master computer than 6,500 members annually at five branch and several
skills. Councilwoman Sheila McNeil was on hand to greet satellite locations. The Clubs provide after-school and
the Vista employees, thanking them for their support of summer programs for youth six-to-18 years of age, paying
the children in her district. particular attention to those who need these programs
“We are very appreciative of this generous donation most.
of computer software, equipment and support from Vista Vista International Operations is an 8(a) certified
International Operations,” said Jim Watson, executive Alaska Native corporation that provides information
director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio. “This technology services, logistics management and
gift will allow our Eastside branch members to have engineering support services to government and private
access to the cutting-edge technology that is so vital to the industry. q
education and development of our youth today.”
3 0 | CenterVi ews
The 2008 AFCEE Technology Transfer D
n OD emerging contaminants;
Workshop will run from March 25 to the 28 at
n ir/vapor intrusion;
the Hyatt Regency Hotel on the Riverwalk in San
n ilitary Munitions Response Program
With a theme of “Focus on the Goal – RIP by (MMRP);
2012,” the meeting will bring together hundreds of L
n aboratory performance;
professionals from the military services, industry,
academia and local, state, and federal agencies. D
n ata management and sharing;
The theme refers to the Air Force’s goal of D
n ata uncertainty;
having remedies in place for all of its restoration
n ield activities; and
sites by the year 2012.
The workshop offers an opportunity for Q
n uality systems implementation.
experts to share their ideas, success stories and For more information on the workshop or
case histories and discuss current trends and abstract submissions, go to the Website at http://
new technologies associated with environmental www.navylabs.navy.mil/DoDChemistMeeting.
The three-day event, with a fourth day Registration information will be distributed as
of optional short courses, will feature more it becomes available.
than 100 technical presentations on a variety
of topics; exhibitors showcasing their latest The 2008 Air Force Environment, Safety and
equipment, products, technology and services; and Occupational Health Training Symposium will be
opportunities for networking. held in Reno, Nev., March 3 to 7.
For more information go to http://www.afcee. AFCEE members are encouraged to register for
brooks.af.mil/products/techtrans/workshop/ the 100 student slots made available to Center staff.
default.asp. Students must have a registration number
to select courses and register for a hotel room.
All members of the environmental community Registration must be done through the symposium
are invited to the Fifth Annual Environmental Website (http://www.esympo.com) since there
Monitoring and Data Quality (EM/DQ) Workshop will be no on-site registration.
to be held March 31 to April 4 in Atlanta. For registration numbers, AFCEE staffers
The event, sponsored by the DOD should contact Dr. Doris Anders by e-mail at
Environmental Data Quality Workgroup, is open firstname.lastname@example.org or call DSN 240-5667 or
to anyone involved with DOD sites or projects, commercial 210-536-5667.
including members of the military services and AFCEE will be sending five people to work as
other federal agencies; members of state, local support staff, so anyone interested in volunteering
and tribal governments; and representatives from for one of those positions should e-mail Dr. Anders.
academia and the private sector. The training being offered is free except for
Workshop officials are soliciting, also, abstracts temporary duty costs, which are borne by the
for technical sessions and encourage participants to sending unit. q
send in their submissions in the following areas:
Fall 2007 | 31
HQ AFCEE/MSP PRSTD STD
3300 Sidney Brooks US Postage
Brooks City-Base TX 78235-5112 PAID
Bird’s eye view of a section of the Frank Tejeda Estates West near Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. The Tejeda project was the first to be constructed under
the Air Force’s Military Family Housing Privatization Initiative. See expanded housing section beginning on page 8.
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