Posted on May 25, 2015
CPT Engineer Officer
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This is going to be partially biased as I am a Reservist but the structure of ECCC seems unusual and irritates me to no end, here is my thought.

The Army Engineer capabilities are now something like 80% USAR and ARNG.

The Reserve Component ECCC is split into four phases, Phase one and three are distance learning, two and four are resident (2 weeks each) there are four classes per year (50 students ea.) USAR gets 33% of the seats and ARNG gets 67% so that means every year the USAR can educationally qualify 66 CPT's and the ARNG can qualify 133 - these classes are notoriously overbooked and cost the Army say $5000 per student after flights, training and incidentals.

Active Duty ECCC is a nearly 6 month course (with a PCS move) (and a masters degree) there are 8 courses per year, now I'm not sure on class size but let's assume there are 25 in each class, that means Active component can educationally qualify 200 CPT's at maybe $75,000 each (salary +resources + PCS move), possibly more once you add MS&T education to the mix

So for a select group that represents only 20% of the engineer capability are all the concessions made? and why do they need 6 months to complete the course? The reserve and guard deploy and are successful at our missions as well if not greater than A/C yet we are not afforded the same opportunities? Not to mention the outdated POI from 1995 that does effectively nothing to teach TPU engineer officers.

I work as a professional engineer on the civilian side and I will take the skillset of a reserve component officer with an engineering degree 9 times out of 10 then I would an overpaid A/C counterpart.

with the greater Army downsizing this is going to have to be reconsidered sooner than later or the RC's are going to run out of Majors which will hurt the regiment as a whole.

and as a caveat to this discussion.. why did the Engineer Regiment come out with ASI's if we aren't going to use them? I haven't seen any coded positions.
Posted in these groups: Engineer 12A: Engineer Officer
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MAJ Contracting Officer
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As a whole the Engineer branch has done a miserable job identifying our tasks to the main Army. Even when deployed the vast majority of real engineering is done via USACE or civilian contractors. I remember when I first chose engineering and heard all this talk about how the branch was going away as Armor and Infantry were going to have the mobility countermobility mission. Then the War started and for some reason Enemy Obstacle became a Unexploded Ordinance or Booby Traps (Vietnam) became IED and the mission was given to EOD, few years later and the Army realized how stupid that decision was and EOCA was born. Thankfully they added a Engineer Battalion to the BCT but Combat Arms still has no idea how to use us.

The root of the problem is the garrison mindset, I worked at DPW for a time trying to set up troop projects and the Army has a long policy/regulation mix that basically shows how to appear like you are not taking projects away from the civilian economy. Compare that to WWII or before where the Army actually did infrastructure missions, or look at Brazil who's Army Engineers continues to do massive projects. Simply put without any ability for the Army to task typical engineer units there isn't a need to train degreed engineered officers. the only exception is USACE where you still won't do much work you'll just monitor contractor performance.

My simple solution bring back troop projects, there are plenty of M&O funded projects across the active solution, there are plenty of state projects that could be handed down to the NG, which pretty much leaves the reserves stuck holding the pickle. (could be used for close federal projects or legislation could be approved to use TPU reservists for State funded projects not to exceed 2 weeks duration. (BLM land road repair seems to be a very easy and beneficial project for horizontal units)

And we wouldn't need to pay incredulous amounts of cash to build roads in theater. (oh wait that would stop the donations to election campaigns maybe that is the real problem...)
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CPT Engineer Officer
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The problem is that makes too much sense. Just goes to show how the army is now a welfare state, careerists will go to extreme lengths to self justify their positions to secure their pensions and we are more concerned with providing civilians jobs vs protecting the skills of our craft, that's why I say active component is a bunch of garbage, they just happen to have all the money But that doesn't make them anyore capable at being effective engineers (and I mean bona fide ) the army uses the term engineer very loosely.

This is why the branch loses talent, bottom line.
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COL Jason Smallfield, PMP, CFM, CM
COL Jason Smallfield, PMP, CFM, CM
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CPT Glover,
I disagree with a few of your comments.
- "The Engineer Branch has done a miserable job identifying our tasks to the main Army". Our tasks are combat engineering, general engineering and geospatial engineering. The names have changed a bit in my 23 years but the basic jist has remain unchanged.
- "When I first chose engineering and heard branch was going away". I'd be interested in hearing who you heard this from and when. Similar conversations/rumors abound when it comes to the Marine Corps, Service Academies, and concepts. Bad ideas seem to recycle at least every 20 years. Sometimes with the same names and sometimes with changed names.
- "The vast majority of real engineering is done via USACE or civilian contractors". So in your view, combat engineering and geospatial engineering are not "real" engineering? I disagree with that view. I agree that USACE and civilian contractors provide a majority of the general engineering capability. My question for you is this: do you know the percentage contributions of the three types (combat, general, geospatial) by various organizations since World War II and has this percentage changed over time?
- "Combat Arms still has no idea how to use us". I agree. It is our job as engineers to train and advise the maneuver commanders. If the combat arms has no idea then is that their fault or our fault as engineers?
- Troop construction projects. I agree that we as a Regiment and an Army need to bring this back. We had robust programs in the 1980s and 1990s but this atrophied in the 2000s due to GWOT and optempo. I think you may have a limited historical perspective on what we used to do, what we are currently doing, why it has changed, and what we need to do in the future.
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MAJ Contracting Officer
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Comments 1 and 4 are about the same thing and yet it is our fault they don't know how to use us. They may know the terms but are not familiar with organic capabilities. Ask the vast majority of CPT's LT's who served with a HBCT in the sole-sapper company, all the training was infantry, thankfully the Engineer Battalion should have fixed that problem.
As far as the engineer corps going away it was back in 2003ish from most of the Armor and Infantry Majors as tanks were supposed to self entrench. Thankfully the IED destroyed any argument recommending reduction of the Engineer Corps. I can't tell you how many times I was blasted by my FOB Mayor for not using contractor's to spread rocks in a horizontal engineering company's motorpool.

By what I mean as real engineering is the challenging or difficult engineering where you use math not just look up the table factor with some quick multiplication. (not the type of engineering accountants and business majors do) So no Combat Engineering is not "real" engineering nor was it ever intended to be so, combat engineering is a leadership role not so much a technical role as is A&E, project controls, and quality assurance. Most of the Engineer Corps has never used simple programs like Microsoft Project let alone any substantial tools.

In terms of OPTEMPO for the AC units I agree, for the reserve units that only mobilized once or twice, yet somehow we were no longer permitted to train collectively as ITRS reports became so paramount that BDE Commanders were cancelling company field training due to pre-basic training Soldiers not having their influenza shots (actually happened, but this is more of a reserve problem than engineer).

I think the ASI's are a great step forward but would also love to see General Contractor Certifications for E~6-7's+. Our country has a very robust certification standard for "general engineering" that we should use no reason SLC should not provide a civilian standard certification.
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CPT Engineer Officer
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I just want all to know who continue to read this. The initial post has made its way into the curriculum of ECCC. I’m fact we referenced it for project management. It was nice to see within the course. Unfortunately no one took it seriously and no one like my comment of a branch split for officers either combat or general engineer (degree and Army background dependent).
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COL Jason Smallfield, PMP, CFM, CM
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CPT Johansson,
- You are mostly correct in the information you post above in terms of Engineer Regiment component mix (19% AC, 31% Reserve, 50% NG) and ECCC-AC and ECCC-RC differences (6 months vs 8 weeks).
- Some points where you are not correct:
1. Officer Additional Skill Identifiers. Includes S4 (Sapper), W1 (Facilities Planner), W2 (Geospatial Engineer), W3 Professional Engineer), W4 (Degreed Engineer), W5 (PMP), W6 (Project Engineer) and W7 (Environmental Engineer). These ASIs are coded into MTOE positions but there are problems reporting and tracking who has what ASI that the Regiment is working through.
2. The numbers of attendees for each course is worked through a process called SMDR (Structure Management Decision Review). Simply stated, FORSCOM, USARC and NGB report the numbers of students that they expect they will need. TRADOC takes this data and figures out the instructors, facilities, and resources they will need to train these numbers. This is done 3 years out. The Engineer issue here is that there is a logic disconnect in the numbers being reported. By this I mean if 400 EN LTs are trained in FY15 then we should expect 400 - attrition CPTs (360 or so) to be trained in FY19. Right now these numbers are about 50% of each other (400/200).
3. I would need to look up the SMDR data to get exact numbers by course and by FY to compare with your numbers below. Also, I would need to look up individuals costs. You may be right in above or not. Don't know.
- Some comments:
- There is a qualitative and quantitative difference between ECCC-RC and ECCC-AC. USAES is working to close the quality gap by having all ECCC under the control of one person (MAJ Scott Jamieson). Closing the quantity gap is more than an Engineer issue (applies to all branches) and requires TRADOC to change.
- The quantitive differences are not the result of "concessions" to the AC. They are the result of Title 10 vs Title 32 authorities and funding differences. Your primary employer (your civilian employer) signed up for one weekend a month and two weeks a year. Changes to this base agreement takes more than just one branch.
- USAES is working masters degree options to provide like opportunity to the RC as is provided to the AC. One way is a distance learning option with University of Louisville for an Engineering Management Master's. Takes two years or so. U of L will provide credit consideration for ECCC like MU S&T provides (6 credits for ECCC attendance).
- Hope this helps to answer, clarify, and/or confirm the information in your original post.
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CPT Engineer Officer
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Sir,

It certainly helps, I like to understand the process and rationale - but doesn't it also mean that the regiment has a serious problem on it's hands?

Interesting you should mention the one weekend/two weeks agreement, I've never seen an AT mission in the recent past that was 14, most are 21 or 28 days at this point, the Reserve is trying to be an operational force and is getting longer rotations (whether we or our employers like it or not) that trend will likely only continue to grow- and is a point of contention among the reserve community because we are the ones who have to explain that to our families and employers - greater utilization without a respective rise in benefits- both direct and in-kind, more deployments, more interruptions to our personal lives etc etc.

I want to re-phrase my original question- why can't AC do the EXACT course as RC?

ie. work a regular job and do the correspondence courses in their spare time, go TDY for 2 weeks and then go back to their regular A/C job? why do they absolutely need 6 months to complete a course which in my mind seems of marginal value to the taxpayer?

It would streamline the POI and ensure that the time spent in the course is used wisely, and even more importantly get A/C and R/C officers better acquainted and network and see how the R/C can support the A/C mission.

This segregation to me seems like an attempt for A/C to justify their time and just fill a "hole" in their career.
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COL Jason Smallfield, PMP, CFM, CM
COL Jason Smallfield, PMP, CFM, CM
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CPT Johansson,
- From a strategic perspective, I think we get the best product / course we can with the resources we have. The answer to your rephrase of your question (why can't AC do the exact course as RC) is that we can but that we should not. We should bring all courses up to the same qualitative and quantitative standards rather than reduce all courses to the least common denominator. The reasons we have different standards are several but a primary reason is resources. This is a different issue from requirements. Requirements goes to the Army Leader Development Strategy and how it is applied by MOS and rank. The product of this analysis is summarized in TRADOC Pamphlet 600-3 Chapter 13 for Engineers but the analysis and methodology to produce this analysis goes much deeper than what is in this document.
- The "one weekend a month and two weeks a year" is a general statement. The authorities change for units based upon how close they are to deployment. Closer to deployment means higher priority means more resources allocated against the requirement. This is a different issue for organizations (FORSCOM) than for individual courses (TRADOC).
- "Why need six months to complete a course which is of marginal value to the taxpayer". Interesting hypothesis. What facts and logic are you using to support and make this statement or is this just a personal opinion? If a personal opinion then I assume you are making this opinion based solely upon your personal experience? An opinion is fine but is generally limited and usually contains no analysis.
- I recommend you google, find, and read the ADRP 1 The Army Profession (JUN 13), the Army's Leader Development Strategy (5 JUN 13), TRADOC Pamphlet 525-3-1 Army Operating Concept ( 7 OCT 14), and TRADOC Pamphlet 525-3-7 Human Dimension (11 JUN 08). Bottom line is that CSA says leader development is the US Army's asymmetric advantage over every other nation. The implied task is that we should strategically invest more in leader development. You are basically arguing that we should invest less in leader development. I disagree with your argument based upon the documents listed above, senior Army leader comments, and experience. I am interested in better understanding why you believe what you are writing.
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CPT Engineer Officer
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I'm not neccesarliy saying we need to spend less, just align the components, if the same expectation for an EN MAJ in RC/AC/or ARNG exists for that leader while deployed then the OES system needs to be aligned for all components (same expectation same training) CCC is the only school I am aware of that such a deviation of curriculum and delivery exists. I get it, there are funding, resourcing, and strategic decisions far above my rank and comprehension that make it prohibitive to allocate additional seats or time to the course and my experience is only limitied to the Phase 1 DL so I can't speak comprehensivly. I just know I went to BOLC-B with AC/RC/ARNG and now that I am a captain my OES is different.

Please allow me to re-phrase my question.
AC/RC officers should not be seperated during OES, I think a good way to achieve this is to make the courses identical throughout 70-80% of the course and then as a final remainder cover component specific issues in a ECCC final phase specific to a branch. I understand there are issues with timing in the RC and a 5 month resident course may not be appropriate, however the current methods of delivery with outdated delivery via Distance learning is ineffective and irrelevant to the way the Engineer Branch functions currently. Teaching AC resident course provides them with the best practices and knowledge while the POI for the reserve components continues to be outdated. My proposal would be the work on alignment of the instruction by expanding the authorization for RC and consolidating the course to minimize the time spent BOG as a resident. I dont have an y excellent concepts for how this would be achieved but it might look something like a 80-hour updated DL for all components and then a 60 or 90 day resident phase for all components and then a 2 week resident or DL phase for component specific issues.

Since the RC is always being asked to support RC it is imperative that RC underants how AC functions and vice-versa, segregating the courses does not promote this croos-talk bettween components and best-practices.
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COL Jason Smallfield, PMP, CFM, CM
COL Jason Smallfield, PMP, CFM, CM
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CPT Johannson,
- You are effectively arguing for OASS (One Army School System) which is already in effect theoretically but, as you point out, not in reality. In theory, all 47 courses that the Engineer Regiment is a proponent for are OASS compliant but for one course that supports 12T (Surveyor).
- As you point out, there is a qualitative and quantitative difference between ECCC-AC and ECCC-RC (or as you write "deviation of curriculum and delivery") but this is hardly the only course where this is true. This is just the only course that you have personally experienced where this is true. I am not saying this is the way it should be. I am just saying this is the way it currently is for a variety of reasons.
- Also, there is a difference between EBOLC and ECCC. EBOLC is IMT (Initial Military Training) which is why all LTs, regardless of component, attend this course. ECCC, meanwhile, is PME (Professional Military Education) like CGSC and War College are. All components do not attend the same PME. Again, this is not a statement of what is right or should be, just a statement of what currently is.
- Your above idea has merit but has FAS issues (feasible, acceptable, suitable) that would need to be worked through before it could be executable.
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