News: Uruzgan Afghan National Security Forces in control, Afghan National Army in new garrison
Story by William Dowell
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – At a key ceremony where Afghan National Security Forces assumed total responsibility for Uruzgan province security Dec. 3, the Afghan National Army, or ANA, also took control of new garrison facilities built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“Today we can stand on our own feet, defend our own country and secure our people,” said 4th Brigade commander Brig. Gen. Mohammed Rasul Khan (Kandahari). “The people of Uruzgan will never forget the help of the coalition forces for the rest of their lives.”
That day’s ceremony included a ribbon cutting ceremony of a $49.9 million, ANA 4th Brigade, 205th Corps Garrison at Tarin Kot. Corps Transatlantic Afghanistan District officials oversaw construction of the project for the requesting agency, the Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistan, or CSTC—A, under the direction of U.S. Forces – Afghanistan.
The Corps acts as a construction agent for these projects, meaning they’re tasked and funded by agencies like CSTC-A, to contract and oversee construction in accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulations and Corps guidance. Once an agency identifies a need and receives congressional authorization and funding, The Corps is directed to build the projects.
The September 2011 contract award for just over $53 million was expected to be done in May 2013 with an occupancy date, or proposed move-in date, of May 18. Material theft caused the occupancy date to be pushed back by eight months to January 2014. Modifications of original requirements dropped more than $3 million off the project, helping a little to finish early.
What really helped was Corps and the contractor’s officials working together, and out of sequence, while they waited for the reordered materials to arrive.
“We tried to work around these issues as best as possible,” said Transatlantic Afghanistan District Project Engineer Maggie Benningfield. “The contractor increased the shifts, putting in more time and labor to get the project completed.”
This included doing inspections whenever they were needed, even at midnight. This not only was to keep the project on schedule, but coalition forces were preparing to leave. Once gone, it would have been even more difficult to complete.
“The last week that we were pushing I was there a lot,” Benningfield said. “This project was very challenging because of all the different players involved. Take all of our reporting and triple it, because there are Australian and American forces there and the coordination that had to be involved.”
“My hat goes off to everyone involved in this project because it was quite challenging but I gained a lot of knowledge as well. It was both challenging and rewarding,” she concluded.
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