A ribbon cutting ceremony held on February 2 marked the completion of a new $53 million pier project at Kuwait Naval Base. The pier, built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Middle East District, will enhance both Kuwait and U.S. military operations in the region.
The project included refurbishment of the KNB south breakwater, replacement of the original cargo pier, construction of a new alternate cargo pier, replacement of the original harbor house and utility systems along the breakwater, as well as various navigational elements.
The completion of the new alternate pier will essentially double the cargo capacity for military deliveries into the base.
“Projects like this help strengthen the bilateral partnership we share with Kuwait. Kuwait hosts the 4th largest deployment of U.S. forces in the world. This not only helps us bolster our partnership with them but also assists our Kuwaiti Mission Partners strengthen their ability for regional defense,” said Col. Rolandis Craw, Vice Chief of the Office of Military Cooperation, Kuwait.
That sentiment was echoed by Brigadier General BG. Mohamed Al-Eid, Kuwait’s Deputy Chief of Naval Forces.
“This project, supervised by the Corps of Engineers, can be used for the next 50 years. Kuwait and the U.S. have a good relationship for many decades and we look forward to cooperating more on maritime security,” said Al-Eid.
And although the larger aspects of the project are crucial to both militaries, some of the smaller aspects are important to individual service members.
“The new harbor house includes harbor operations and observation spaces, as well as duty-crew berthing and rest spaces. This is a significant upgrade from the small, steel guard shack that existed prior to construction and will be a big improvement for those conducting day to day operations,” said Kuwait’s Naval Director Military Works, Col. Abdullah AL- Naseem
Although TAM frequently constructs projects critical to regional security within the CENTCOM area of responsibility, coastal projects require a lot of specialized expertise. During the project, TAM received assistance from several other USACE elements including the New York District (CENAN) which has a lot of expertise in coastal engineering, the New England, Norfolk, St. Louis, and Sacramento districts as well as the Huntsville Engineering and Support Center (CEHNC), and Engineering Research and Development Center (CE-ERDC).
“One of the benefits of working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is that you don’t just get the expertise of the district you are working with but the collective skills and knowledge of the entire Corps,” said Cynthia Darlington, the chief of TAM’s design management branch. “This project was truly a team effort and we couldn’t have accomplished it without the ability to reach out to so many specialized areas of expertise.”
In addition to working closely with other USACE elements, the relationship between the Kuwait Navy and the District’s program managers was also critical.
“This project was unique in that it benefitted both U.S. and Kuwaiti stakeholders, each with their own priorities. TAM maintains close working relationships with the Kuwait Navy leadership and was able to collect Kuwait Navy requirements and preferences, and convey them to U.S. stakeholders for inclusion in the project where appropriate,” said Peter Heffern, TAM Project Manager
Hamed Issa, a TAM program manager in Kuwait, noted that in addition to the usual challenges associated with construction in areas with extreme temperatures, the team also had to overcome the challenges associated with the COVID pandemic which has been going on for almost two years of the project’s lifespan.
“After the contractor sent most personnel back to their countries of original early in the pandemic, TAM’s Construction Division worked closely with the contractor and the Kuwaiti Government to facilitate bringing key workers back to Kuwait so that the project could be completed,” said Issa.
In addition to representatives from the Kuwait military and the U.S. embassy, the ribbon cutting was also attended by Lt. Gen. Scott Spellmon, the 55th Chief of Engineers and USACE Commander, who spoke to the importance of USACE’s work in the Middle East, encouraging engineers to challenge themselves by taking positions in the USCENTCOM area of responsibility.
“We say all of our 44 Districts are unique, (and TAM) is extremely unique. If you are looking for a unique opportunity and a dynamic challenging environment, this is where you want to come,” said Spellmon.