Army engineer support to U.S. Central Command's joint maneuver force during the Persian Gulf War was massive and critical. Over 100 active and reserve component engineer units contributed significantly to the success of Operation desert shield/desert storm. These contributions are well documented in "Supporting the Troops: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the Persian Gulf War". The Gulf War dramatically demonstrated the need to deploy engineers early so that they can determine the engineer requirements, communicate those requirements to the maneuver commanders, and take appropriate steps to bed down and sustain U.S. forces. The delayed flow of engineers and their equipment into Southwest Asia directly affected the ability of the maneuver units to sustain themselves and operate effectively. We are now moving toward a smaller, quality Army with rapidly deployable forces. There are fewer engineer units than in 1990, and a larger proportion of the engineer force is in the reserve components. As the active component force continues to shrink, we must insure that the reserve component engineer forces are well trained and ready to deploy on short notice.
During the Gulf War engineers provided the model for the Total Army concept, successfully blending Active Army, Army National Guard, Army Reserve, and Department of Defense civilian engineer capabilities. U.S. forces could not have succeeded in the Gulf without the assistance of the reserve components and civilians. The force structure of today's Active Army does not include a number of specialized engineer units needed to support a large-scale deployment. Nor do operational engineer units have all the special expertise that can be found in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. As "Supporting the Troops" vividly illustrates, the contributions of the Corps' military and civilian members were diverse and significant. Over 160 Corps civilians, who voluntarily deployed to Southwest Asia, provided procurement, design, construction, and real estate support. Corps members worked diligently, often in difficult conditions, to provide for the well-being and safety of tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers. They devised creative solutions to the problems they, encountered, whether implementing new policies or developing new project designs. It was my privilege to serve with them in the Persian Gulf.
Pat M. Stevens IV Major General, USA Acting Chief of Engineers.