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Interview: New Corps Chief Nominee Van Antwerp
By Tom Sawyer

ENR Editor Tom Sawyer asked Gen. Robert L. Van Antwerp, Jr., nominated Friday to be Corps of Engineers chief, how he sees the future of the Corps.

Van Antwerp

It must be particularly satisfying for you to be nominated to command the Corps of Engineers.

Van Antwerp
When you are an engineer there is nothing much better than being the chief. Plus, I love the people in the Corps.

Do you plan to stay on the course that [current Corps Chief Lt. Gen. Carl A. Strock] has set out for the Corps with his 12 Actions for Change?

Van Antwerp
I have been talking to Carl Strock and our thinking is together on this. Offhand, I wouldn’t change anything right now, but I am going to go out and make an assessment. And I plan to send out a questionnaire to probably a couple hundred people. I will either confirm the 12 Actions or make adjustments. But I like the action steps as I have read them.

I have been out of the Corps a while, though. I am not going to change something that isn’t broken, but I will work to make it better.

Related Links:
  • Bush Nominates Van Antwerp to Lead Corps,
  • ENR
    But is the Corps broken?

    Van Antwerp
    There are enormous pressures out there. Levees, for example. There is a list of 126 levees that have to be fixed that was released just today [Feb. 2]. While the Corps built a lot of those levees, they are going to be either shared with, or under the control of a local group. It takes a huge partnership. But broken? No. There are always different points of emphasis.

    We have the district in Iraq, too. That causes a lot of personnel challenges, to staff that force with your most experienced people. Right now I am reading everything that’s out there.

    Do you have a schedule for the confirmation process yet?

    Van Antwerp
    I don’t have a hearing set yet. I am hoping it will be soon so we can perhaps get confirmation in February. The letter went over to the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee today. That normally triggers the scheduling of a hearing.



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