Monday, August 28, 2006

The Corps Sees the Light

General Carl StrockA recent press release from the Army Corps shows that it may finally be getting the message about the need for organizational change. By the way, I recently heard General Strock referred to as the only person with the decency to take responsibility for governmental failure in Katrina.


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers releases its “12 Actions for Change”

(August 24, 2006) – The commander of the United States Army Corps of Engineers today signed and released the “12 Actions for Change,” a set of actions that the Corps will focus on to transform its priorities, processes and planning.

“Hurricane Katrina’s disastrous impact upon the Gulf Coast and the New Orleans region served as a very sobering wakeup call for the Corps and the nation in how we have prepared for natural disasters and where we have accepted risk,” said Lt. Gen. Carl A. Strock, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“Exhaustive analysis by the Corps and other investigative teams into the performance of the Greater New Orleans Hurricane Protection System during hurricanes Katrina and Rita pointed to the need to transform the way the Corps serves the nation and its Armed Forces across all our mission areas.

“These 12 actions were developed from that analysis and from other internal and external examinations of the Corps in the recent past. We will use the 12 Actions to guide our ongoing and future work, and to ensure we have an organization that is adaptable, flexible and responsive to the needs of the nation,” said Strock.

The “12 Actions for Change” fall within three overarching themes: Effectively implement a comprehensive systems approach; communication; and reliable public service professionalism. The actions are grouped as follows:

•  Effectively Implement a Comprehensive Systems Approach: Comprehensively design, construct, maintain and update engineered systems to be more robust, with full stakeholder participation.

1. Employ integrated, comprehensive and systems-based approach

2. Employ risk-based concepts in planning, design, construction, operations, and major maintenance

3. Continuously reassess and update policy for program development, planning guidance, design and construction standards

4. Employ dynamic independent review

5. Employ adaptive planning and engineering systems

6. Focus on sustainability

7. Review and inspect completed works

8. Assess and modify organizational behavior

•  Communication: Effective and transparent communication with the public, and within the Corps, about risk and reliability.

9. Effectively communicate risk

10. Establish public involvement risk reduction strategies

•  Reliable Public Service Professionalism: Improve the state of the art and the Corps’ dedication to a competent, capable workforce on a continuing basis. Make the commitment to being a “learning organization” a reality.

11. Manage and enhance technical expertise and professionalism

12. Invest in research

Among the investigative teams that contributed to the development of the “12 Actions for Change” through their analysis in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita are the Corps-commissioned Interagency Performance Evaluation Task Force, the American Society of Engineers, the National Science Foundation-sponsored team led by UC-Berkeley, and Louisiana State University.

“National and global missions, and the Corps’ response following hurricanes Katrina and Rita, have demonstrated the need to be prepared and ready to broadly integrate our many mission capabilities. The ’12 Actions for Change’ provide a common organizational framework to help us meet that objective,” said Strock.

For additional information about the United States Army Corps of Engineers, please visit our web page at


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