WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment Ranking Member David Rouzer (R-NC-7) and Subcommittee Chairwoman Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA-32) introduced H.R. 7762, the USACE Military Personnel Augmentation Act.
“I’m proud to join Chairwoman Napolitano in sponsoring this critical legislation to strengthen the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers," said Rep. Rouzer. "By amending existing law to allow National Guard Engineer Officers and Warrant and Noncommissioned Officers to be eligible to fill the Corps' uniformed civil works positions, this bill will help strengthen the Corps’ capabilities to better carry out its missions.”
“Our bill would amend an outdated 1956 law, which is prohibitive against current soldiers who have the technical skills to provide engineering support to the important mission of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,” Napolitano said. “I want to thank Senators Rounds and Manchin for their leadership on this bill in the Senate, and Lieutenant General Scott Spellmon and Colonel Antoinette Gant for making us aware of this important issue. I am grateful to Ranking Member Rouzer for his partnership on this legislation and other efforts to strengthen the Corps.”
The USACE Military Personnel Augmentation Act would revise a 65-year-old law to allow non-commissioned officers (NCOs), National Guard Officers, and Warrant Officers who are technically trained to take on civil works responsibilities in the Army Corps of Engineers. The Civil Works role of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers includes the domestic responsibilities of flood protection, coastal and inland navigation, environmental restoration, and other water resources needs.
In 1956, when this law was enacted, there were not a lot of NCOs with advanced degrees, so it was thought that only commissioned officers would be trained enough to take on Civil Works responsibilities. However, since that time and the development of the professional army, there are many NCOs, National Guard Officers, and Warrant Officers with advanced engineering and technical skills, and it no longer makes sense to exclude them from positions in Civil Works. H.R. 7762 would change this and allow these service members to work in this capacity.
The bill was previously introduced in the Senate by Senators Mike Rounds (R-SD) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) as S. 3215, the USACE Military Personnel Augmentation Act