JOINT BASE ANACOSTIA-BOLLING, Washington, D.C. –
The 11th Civil Engineer Squadron and partners work tirelessly to increase base readiness for those who work, live, and play on Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling.
The installation is undergoing multiple infrastructure projects following safety and efficiency concerns identified over recent years.
“There are a lot of infrastructure issues at this base that have been the result of deferred maintenance over the years because there wasn’t manpower or funding available,” said Maj. Melissa Jumper, 11th CES Operations Flight commander. “A lot of the things we’re going to be trying to get after, not only in this fiscal year but moving forward, is bringing the infrastructure up to a level where it’s maintainable and sustainable.”
Current projects include a $2 million road-paving project. This covers the entire base and will seal cracks in the road and extend the life of the asphalt. Additionally, there is an $8 million boiler project that will affect more than 20 buildings. The boiler project will replace a centralized steam-powered boiler in favor of natural gas boilers in each individual facility. The switch will increase efficiency by limiting impact of any maintenance issues to one location instead of compromising all facilities dependent on the system.
Following the activation of the 11th Wing at JBAB June 12 in preparation for the Department of Defense’s first ever joint base service-lead transfer from Navy to Air Force authority, the 11th CES activated June 26 to resume responsibility from the Navy-led Public Works Department. Since then, 11th CES has gone through many changes, including a transition from having a small amount of military members to growing the military footprint significantly with military members accounting for about 50 percent of the squadron.
Jumper emphasized the collective effort inside and outside of 11th CES required to make infrastructure improvement operations a success.
“Getting any type of large construction project executed is a partnership between us, the contracting squadron, the comptroller squadron, and whatever contractor we’re working with,” said Jumper.
While there have been some growing pains, 11th CES and partners have persevered through manning, funding and resourcing challenges to work toward a common goal of helping JBAB reach its full capabilities.
The Navy led the base from October 2010 when it first became a joint base until the lead service transfer to Air Force authority in October 2020. Previous year continuing resolutions presented many challenges for all services in prioritization. Recent year budget approvals have helped all services address infrastructure issues previously prioritized below mission critical activities.
In the last year and half, infrastructure improvement and maintenance has been a priority for the 11th CES.
Some of the civilian staff at the 11th CES have worked for the base since the Air Force was the lead service over 10 years ago, according to Jeremy Gerrard, 11th CES Engineering Flight chief.
“I think there’s a real optimism for the fact that they see there’s opportunities with the Air Force to finally being able to get after some of the things that have been affecting this base for so long,” said Gerrard.
Plans for the future include office renovations and revamping the ventilation system in buildings. In an effort to ease traffic delays, 11th CES has begun working with the Defense Intelligence Agency on base to explore a proposed shuttle system. A water taxi is also being pursued and, if funded, will provide transportation via boat directly to the base during peak traffic times in the mornings and afternoons. Additionally, updates to roadways will include paths for bicycles and pedestrians.
Based on the Installation Development Plan, which is currently in development, 11th CES has divided the base in four districts based on landmarks and boundaries already recognized by those familiar with the base. The districts are the Historic Bolling District, the Historic Anacostia District, the Sentinels of the Capital District, and the Housing and Community Support District. Many facilities within each respective district have similar functions, but ultimately they are divided based on geography. These divisions have helped those active in the planning of installation development, key stakeholders and base engineers to form effective, relevant courses of action to improve and develop those areas in a deliberate manner.
The 11th CES will also be a large supporter in the upcoming construction of the LEARN D.C. charter school, set to begin sometime in 2022 and expected to be completed in time for the 2023-2024 school year.
Furthermore, the Operations Flight plans to conduct facility condition assessments. Through the assessments, they will inspect and grade various aspects of the base’s facilities to ensure they are functioning properly. The results will inform how projects are executed moving forward and allow a proactive response to issues before they reach the level of failure.