Department of the Army Historical Summary: FY 1986


Special Functions

Civil works is the collective title for a variety of functions assigned to the Chief of Engineers. These functions include the planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of facilities, and the management of real estate, all of which are necessary for the development of the nation's water resources and the improvement of rivers, harbors, and waterways for navigation, flood control, hydroelectric power, recreation, fish and wildlife, and related purposes, including shore protection.

Although these functions are distinguishable from military activities, they provide a significant and continuing technical and professional engineer capacity that would be indispensable in the event of a military mobilization. In this connection, the Corps of Engineers in fiscal year 1986 participated in two exercises directed by the joint Chiefs of Staff, PORT CALL 86 and PRESENT ARMS 86. These exercises tested the ability of the Corps' division and district personnel to shift from peacetime to wartime roles. PRESENT ARMS demonstrated the importance of the Corps' resources in supporting the Army and the nation in the event of a catastrophic national emergency.


During the year, the Department of the Army worked closely with congressional leaders and staff, and within the Executive Branch, to coordinate comprehensive water resources development legislation that would authorize new civil works projects and specify cost-sharing responsibilities. On 13 November 1985 the House of Representatives passed its $21 billion version of H.R. 6; the Senate approved its $13 billion bill on 26 March 1986. The Administration supported the smaller Senate bill, which provided for 191 projects, because the measure embodied an agreement on cost sharing and user fees


worked out by Administration and Senate leaders in 1985. In September 1986 the bills were in conference.

Over the past several years, the idea of sharing feasibility study costs with nonfederal project sponsors evolved in response to tight budgets, the Administration's desire to move governmental responsibility from the federal level to the state and local levels and the private sector, and the desire to ensure the success of the studies. The Supplemental Appropriations Act for fiscal year 1985, enacted in August 1985, specified that, in cases where a local sponsor-a state, county, or city government, port authority, regional flood control district or levee board, etc.-could be identified, the sponsor would have to sign an agreement to share costs of the project with the federal government under terms acceptable to the Secretary of the Army. The Army adopted the formulas contained in the Senate version of the pending authorization bill.

The act imposed a deadline of 30 June 1986, after which funds appropriated in the legislation would only be available if an agreement had been signed. Corps of Engineers district offices began negotiating agreements with project sponsors in the fall of 1985, following guidance from the Office of the Chief of Engineers and the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works. On the final day of June 1986, the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works signed the last of a series of such agreements, thus ensuring initial construction funding for thirty-three new Corps navigation, flood control, and other water resource projects. Seventeen of the projects for which agreements were signed-mostly those for flood control could proceed to construction as soon as design was complete. Construction was not allowed to begin on the others, however, pending enactment of the authorization bill containing increased user fees and other key provisions.

Total appropriations provided by the fiscal year 1986 Energy and Water Resources Development Appropriations Act were slightly higher than the total provided by the fiscal year 1985 act (Table 5). A reduction of 4.3 percent, resulting from the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act, more than offset this increase. The Corps of Engineers applied the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings cuts across the board to studies, projects, and other activities, but the impact on progress in studies and construction was negligible.


($ in millions)

   FY 1985    FY 1986    % Change
General Investigation    183    129    -7
Construction    890    919    +3
Operations and Maintenance    1305    1319    + 1
Mississippi River and Tributaries    321    315    -2
General Expense    112    107    -4
Flood Control Coastal Emergency    25    25    -
Revolving Fund  


 7    -
Permanent Appropriations    8    8    -
TOTAL    1 2799    2 2829    +1

1 This total was increased by supplemental appropriations amounting to $95 million. 
2 This total was decreased by 4.3% or $121 million in accordance with provisions of the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act. An additional $25 million was provided by the Urgent Supplemental Appropriations Act.


Construction started on several of the new projects contained in the fiscal year 1985 Supplement Appropriations Act after local cooperation agreements were signed. These were primarily flood control projects rather than commercial harbor or navigation lock projects, which required further legislation to increase their ability to generate revenue.

In ongoing construction, work on Lock and Dam 26 of the Mississippi River in Illinois and Missouri progressed at an accelerated rate. By the end of the fiscal year, the project was approximately half finished.

The Corps of Engineers completed twelve major construction projects during the year-more than the number of new construction starts. This situation maintained a recent trend, as the construction portion of the civil works mission continued to decline from its peak in the 1970s.

To support its assigned troop strength of 450,000, the Army National Guard over the past five years has expanded its facilities inventory to 2,956 armories, 918 surface equipment maintenance shops, 100 aviation support facilities, and 271 training sites. In fiscal year 1986 programs to acquire needed facilities continued. These programs include acquisition of storage facilities to safeguard and maintain the increased levels


of supplies and equipment required by the combat and combat support missions assigned to Army National Guard units; new weapons training ranges to upgrade combat readiness; and maintenance facilities to support new combat equipment and weapons systems entering the Guard inventory. A survey during the year revealed that 1,400 armories are still regarded as inadequate and require replacement or major rehabilitation and expansion.


For the third consecutive year, Congress appropriated more for the Corps of Engineers to operate and maintain existing civil works projects than to build new ones. As more projects were put into operation, and existing ones aged and required more extensive maintenance, the operations and maintenance portion of the civil works program continued to increase.

During the year the Corps operated and maintained 215 harbors, more than 25,000 miles of channels that formed the inland waterway system, 280 flood control projects, and 72 multipurpose projects that included a major portion of the nation's hydropower facilities. More than 250 million cubic yards of material were dredged, and almost 88 billion kilowatt hours of electricity were generated-the latter representing one-third of the nation's hydroelectric power production. There were over 500 million recreation days of use at the 460 projects with recreation areas, making the Corps second in this category only to the U.S. Forest Service.

Disaster Relief

The Army helps other federal government agencies, as well as local and state authorities and foreign governments, meet human needs in the event of natural disasters and other emergencies. As the focal point for this effort, the Corps of Engineers in fiscal year 1986 expended approximately $25.5 million for disaster preparedness activities and emergency response and recovery operations under its PL 84-99 emergency authority. The Corps responded to flood emergencies; provided emergency support to other agencies and authorities, particularly the Federal Emergency Management Agency; established and maintained emergency operations centers required for command and control of responses to disasters; and managed


the inspection program for nonfederal flood control projects repaired or eligible for repair under PL 84-99. Preparedness activities in support of these efforts included the development, review, and updating of required response plans; the training of response personnel; the development of and participation in exercises to test plans, personnel, and training; the procurement of supplies and equipment necessary to support response efforts; and the overall management of the disaster response program.

Fiscal year 1986 was a record year for flood damages prevented by both completed Corps projects and emergency operations activities, $26.2 billion and $1.1 billion, respectively. As the year progressed, the Corps responded to flood problems on the island of Puerto Rico in October 1985 and May 1986, across the Midwest from the lower Great Lakes, across the Ohio River Valley and into the Mid-Atlantic states in November 1985 and May to June 1986, and in the Coastal and Central Valley of California to western Oregon in February 1986. The Corps provided technical assistance and flood-fighting equipment and materials to federal, state, and local entities.

Three assistance efforts, the October 1985 flooding in Puerto Rico, record flooding over northern California and western Oregon in February 1986, and temporary flood protection and flood-fighting assistance in the Great Lakes, deserve special mention. In October 1985 a tropical wave that later became Tropical Storm Isabel caused major flooding and extensive landslides in Puerto Rico. Officials estimated deaths at 180, over 5,000 people were forced from their homes, and damage estimates reached $125 million. Responding to this disaster, the Corps sent geotechnical people to assist in the search for survivors in landslide areas, in addition to providing damage assessment teams.

During the period 12-21 February 1986, a series of storms produced record amounts of precipitation over much of northern California and western Oregon. Record high flood stages occurred along many of the rivers. About fifteen lives were lost, and nearly one-half billion dollars in damages occurred. These adverse impacts were much smaller than they could have been, however, due to the operation of Corps-built projects and emergency operations that are estimated to have prevented over $15 million in damages.

Record high water levels in the Great Lakes continued to cause floods. In calendar year 1986, excess precipitation averaged six percent above normal during the first seven months.


The Corps provided $7 million in temporary flood protective works and flood-fighting assistance in those areas that were beyond state and local capabilities. Corps technical assistance and investigations also continued.

In the South and East, the Corps responded to several hurricanes and tropical storms from October 1985 to August 1986. Four hurricanes struck the United States in fiscal year 1986, killing at least 21 people and doing more than $1.03 billion in damage. Hurricane Juan hit Lake Charles, Louisiana, on 29 October 1985, with 85 mile per hour winds, killing 7 and causing over $1 billion in damage. The Hurricane Juan system brought flooding throughout the South and East. Hurricane Kate hit Mexico Beach, Florida, on 21 November 1985, and was downgraded to a tropical storm ten hours later, but not before it had left 4 dead, done over $1 million in damage, and caused the evacuation of 100,000 people in thirteen counties. On 26 June 1986 Hurricane Bonnie hit land between Galveston and Port Arthur, Texas, with 85 mile per hour winds. Four people died and damage was well in excess of $1 million. Hurricane Charlie traveled up the East Coast, crossing the outer banks on 17 August 1986, leaving 6 dead and over $1 million in damage.

Regulatory Activities

As a result of the Corps of Engineers' regulatory authority over construction activities by others in the nation's navigable waterways, there were two significant regulatory cases during the year. In one, the Corps decided to issue a permit to Pyramid Companies of Utica, New York, to place fill in a wetland in conjunction with development of a regional shopping mall in Attleborough, Massachusetts. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) exercised its veto authority under section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act and filed suit against Pyramid Companies, with the Corps named as codefendant. That litigation was pending at the end of the fiscal year. As a result of the Attleborough case, the Corps and the EPA found that they disagreed over two major issues: first, what constitutes "practicable alternatives" under the 404(c) guidelines; and second, whether mitigation can be considered when determining whether there are practicable alternatives with "less adverse impact."

Another case resulted in the largest civil penalty ever imposed in a federal wetland case. The U.S. District Court in


Boston imposed a $540,000 penalty on Cumberland Farms, a large dairy store franchise in New England, for unauthorized discharges of fill and excavated material into a large wetland in southeastern Massachusetts. Cumberland Farms' activities included ditching, regrading, and channelizing streams in conjunction with converting wetland to farmland. The decision helped to clarify that the Clean Water Act agricultural exemptions apply only to ongoing agricultural activities, not to converting wetland to farmland. Moreover, the decision put the regulated public on notice that unauthorized discharges may be expensive, and it encouraged the public to seek advance permission.

Reimbursable Support to Other Agencies and Foreign Governments

In fiscal year 1986, the Corps of Engineers provided reimbursable support to several state and local governments, to foreign nations, and-representing 90 percent of the total aid-to twenty-five federal agencies. Over 900 man-years of labor were involved in these endeavors.

Three agencies received three-quarters of this support. The Corps aided the Environmental Protection Agency in its sewage treatment plan construction grants program and its "Superfund" toxic waste management program. The Federal Emergency Management Agency got help with its flood insurance studies, emergency activities, and key worker blast shelter program. A number of civilian and defense-related programs of the Department of Energy received support. Another recipient of significant support was the Voice of America, for its $2 billion worldwide radio transmitter modernization program in the United States, Morocco, Puerto Rico, and Thailand.

During the year, the Corps signed new agreements to conduct grant reviews for the Department of Energy's Institutional Energy Conservation Program; provide construction management assistance at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Langley Research Center; provide design and construction management to the Department of Energy's Savannah River Operations Office; provide technical assistance to Puerto Rico on $400 million of wastewater treatment plant construction; conduct a water conservation study at the Corps' Prado Dam for the Orange County Water District, California; provide design and construction for the National Park Service along the Potomac and Anacostia rivers in Washington, D.C.; provide design and construction management services to the


Federal Aviation Administration on their $11.7 billion National Airspace System Plan; and design and build an intelligence center for the Drug Enforcement Administration.

By designating the illegal importation of drugs as a threat to national security, the president highlighted their serious menace to U.S. society. The Army continued to increase the extent and vigor of its support to the agencies charged with direct interdiction of narcotics.

Army support to Operation HAT TRICK II, a joint United States and host nation operation to interdict illegal narcotics trafficking through the Caribbean, included air traffic control operators, long-range secure communication support, and deployed helicopters. A command and control network, established to provide secure communications for the U.S. Coast Guard, included terminals at Miami, Florida; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; and aboard two Coast Guard cutters at sea. The Army provided two Black Hawk helicopters with crew and maintenance support to augment existing U.S. Air Force support operating from Nassau and Great Exuma Island in the Bahamas. The Black Hawks transported Drug Enforcement Administration and Bahamian Strike Force Police to arrest traffickers. Army elements flew 115 missions that resulted in the seizure of 3,434 pounds of cocaine, 10,230 pounds of marijuana, 6 aircraft, and 7 vessels, and the apprehension of 17 suspects.

On 16 June and 10 July 1986, respectively, the Attorney General and the Deputy Secretary of Defense signed a joint declaration of the existence of an emergency situation as authorized by Public Law 97-86 (10 United States Code 374), and initiated Operation BLAST FURNACE in Bolivia. In response to a request for assistance from the government of Bolivia to the Department of State, elements of the Department of the Army provided mobility and logistics support to joint Drug Enforcement Administration and Bolivian National Police efforts to counter cocaine processing and drug storage sites in Bolivia. Support elements from the 193d Brigade (Infantry) in Panama deployed six Black Hawk helicopters with crews, maintenance and logistics support, a headquarters element for command and control, a security element, and miscellaneous ground equipment and vehicles to support sustained operations. The U.S. Air Force provided air transportation to Bolivia and re-supply. This operation, designed to disrupt the production and transshipment of cocaine from Bolivia, was very successful and


also proved the ability of Southern Command units to deploy and sustain extended operations in remote locations.

The Army continued its support of the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) by providing an infantry battalion task force, a logistical support unit, and staff personnel for peacekeeping duties in the Sinai desert. The MFO was a result of the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli treaty of peace. When it became clear that the United Nations could not provide the peacekeeping force called for in the treaty, the two treaty governments on 3 August 1981 signed a protocol, witnessed by the U.S. Government, establishing the MFO. Charged with observing compliance with certain security provisions of the treaty, the MFO began operating on 25 April 1982. The security provisions provide specific limitations on the number and type of military personnel, armaments, and equipment permitted in each of the four zones established by the treaty in Egypt and Israel.



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