Home > Media > News

News: Around our Diverse Asia-Pacific Region


Bookmark and Share Email Print

Posted 6/2/2014

Release no. 14-023


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Far East District

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Army Chief of Engineers Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick recently spoke to correspondents at the Washington Foreign Press Center about U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operations in the Asia/Pacific region. 

The May 22 event included reporters from Korea, Japan, Vietnam and India, and Bostick spoke about the importance of the Corps of Engineers mission in the region. 

“We execute different missions – military construction, host-nation funded construction, foreign military sales, humanitarian assistance and disaster preparedness and response projects – in 22 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, including the Republic of Korea, Japan, India, China and Vietnam to name a few,” he said. 

Focusing on the Republic of Korea, he touched in more detail about the importance of the mission here, as well as its size. 

"In the Republic of Korea, the corps is administering two large programs: The Yongsan Relocation Plan – also called YRP – and the Land Partnership Plan – LPP,” he said.  “When completed, the two programs will enable the return of land to the Republic of Korea and the relocation of approximately 12,000 U.S. service members to U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys from U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan and from multiple locations north of Seoul.

“When completed, the Army Corps of Engineers will have overseen construction of 655 new and renovated facilities,” Bostick said.  “This is the largest single activity in scope and scale that we currently have underway when it comes to military construction."

Not only will these facilities provide for a more centered and robust U.S. military footprint on the peninsula, but the facilities themselves will be more conducive to the entire U.S. military and civilian community’s quality of life. 

"In addition, the corps is executing construction and supporting construction of modern facilities in which the U.S. forces will work, train, and live,” Bostick said.  “New family housing will enable our service members to bring some of their families to Korea that they might not have been before, in what we call accompanied tours.”

To ensure that the construction and relocation is complete, the Far East District has more than 500 U.S. and Korean civilians, and about a dozen uniformed Army personnel, working on the approximately $15 billion worth of projects throughout the peninsula. 

The large percentage of civilians in an Army command isn’t something unique to Korea, Bostick said, but representative of the Corps of Engineers as a whole. 

“Most people think it’s a military organization; it is a military organization with a lot of civilians,” he said.  “There are only 700 Soldiers in the Corps of Engineers that wear the uniform, but 33,000 civilians. So [we are a] largely a civilian organization with deep expertise in training and engineering services.”

The longevity of this mainly civilian force allows for a very well-trained and dynamic workforce. 

“Our capabilities run the gamut from engineering, construction and science – and it’s broad and deep,” Bostick said.  “Much of our expertise is dedicated to the civil and the military infrastructure development and sustainment, but we also do a lot of work in research and development.  We have seven laboratories all across the country, and some of our scientists and engineers are world-renowned in some of the areas that they work in.”

Answering a question from a Korean reporter during the last half of the briefing, Bostick expressed his condolences on the sinking of the Sewol ferry, in which more than 300 Koreans died. 

“My thoughts and prayers go out to those that have lost loved ones and to the Republic of Korea,” he said. 

A full transcript of Bostick’s briefing can be viewed at: http://fpc.state.gov/226476.htm.