By Joan Kibler, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Middle East District.
Though its construction program is a fraction of what it once was in Iraq, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continues to manage $350 million in projects there to help build facilities for the sovereign nation.
In seven years starting in 2004, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, or USACE, completed more than 5,000 projects in Iraq with a value of $8.8 billion. The construction program was part of the efforts to secure a new and reliable government for Iraq.
Today, Iraq's government and the U.S. enjoy bilateral relations based on mutual goals.
The arrangement, known as the Strategic Framework Agreement for a Relationship of Friendship and Cooperation between the United States and the Republic of Iraq, was designed to help the Iraqi people stand on their own while protecting U.S. interests, according to the U.S. Embassy-Iraq.
USACE officials said they remain committed to delivering projects that support the nation's sovereignty through the Middle East District's Iraq Area Office.
"Our role is to deliver infrastructure that contributes to stability and security," said Lt. Col. Anthony Mitchell, officer in charge, Iraq Area Office. The primary customers are the Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq, or OSC-I, and the Iraq Strategic Partnership Office; both are part of the U.S. Embassy-Iraq.
"All of our projects, whether providing equipment for the Basrah Children's Hospital to benefit Iraqi people or constructing C-130 aircraft facilities to reinforce Iraq's national security, contribute to Iraq being a sovereign nation and a strategic partner for the United States," Mitchell said.