News: USACE gives Afghan Uniform Police a base of operations in Panjwai
Story by Karla Marshall
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed an Afghan Uniform Police district headquarters facility in the Panjwai district of Kandahar City March 31. The facility will provide the AUP with a base from which to carry out their mission of providing security for the people of Panjwai.
At a cost of about $4 million, the AUP district headquarters facility was built by an Afghan construction company and took a little more than one year to build.
“The facility can accommodate about 60 police officers,” said Michael Winkler, the USACE project manager. It includes offices, jail cells, a perimeter wall, guard towers, dining, restroom and dormitory facilities (for men and women), parking and utilities.
Winkler, who deployed from the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center in Vicksburg, Miss., works out of the Afghanistan Engineer District-South’s Kandahar office.
“Although the project got off to a slow start, the district’s project delivery team, including the engineers and quality assurance representatives, embraced the commander’s aggressive management policy which helped the contractor recover some of the schedule,” Winkler explained.
“Aggressive management is the result of lessons learned and application of emerging Corps of Engineers business practices,” said Lt. Col. Stephen Bales, the Afghanistan Engineer District-South’s deputy commander. “By monitoring and engaging the construction contractor early and often through every step of construction, our engineers catch problems early and help mediate them more quickly to keep projects on schedule.”
Aggressive management takes more thought and time, but the end product is worth the extra effort, Winkler confirmed. “The engineers — John Terry, Bryan McCabe, Philip Merchant, and Mark Stephenson — always sought ways to ‘think outside the box’ and drive the contractor to successful completion,” he said, “and this project is a great example of how instituting the commander’s aggressive management policy worked.”
In addition to aggressive schedule management, partnering and capacity development by the Kandahar Area Office played an integral part to the successful completion of the project, explained Mark Stephenson, the KAO senior engineer.
“This included weekly progress and schedule review meetings with the contractor’s field staff, monthly executive meetings with the contractor’s senior leadership, and weekly site visits to a dangerous region of the country to ensure the turnover of a high-quality end product,” he concluded.
Since 2009, the Afghanistan Engineer District-South has been building headquarters facilities for the Afghan Uniform Police throughout Afghanistan. In the South District’s area of responsibility, more than 13 AUP district headquarters facilities have been built with several more still under construction.
“These types of facilities are critical to enabling the AUP to provide security for the people of Afghanistan,” said Bales. “As the Corps of Engineers delivers projects for the Afghanistan National Security Forces, Afghanistan benefits and becomes more independent and secure.”