Most of us have probably heard of the US Army Corps of Engineers, but many probably give relatively little consideration to what the agency does. The USACE is a federal agency that employs 37,000 civilians and military personnel to do critical work. It of course helps to build and maintain military installations here and abroad, but the USACE is also responsible for a plethora of civil missions as well. It maintains infrastructure such as dams, levees, and waterways. It provides hydroelectric power and keeps the integrity of major commerce highways like the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. The USACE also plans for and responds to natural disasters like floods and hurricanes and cleans contaminated sites. Perhaps though, the mission least implied by its name is maintaining outdoor recreational facilities for the public; hiking, boating, rafting, geo-caching, and etc are all activities one can engage in at facilities managed by the USACE. This agency provides a critically important set of functions for the nation. The USACE seems something like a miniature Department of Interior. It is one of many structures within the defense arena that takes a backseat to the sensational combat campaigns and heavy metal. But, it is not necessarily less important to our country. I would say that these $4.7 billion are some of our best spent defense funds.

John