Commander’s Column: Doing what we say, saying what we do

Portland District Commander Col. Jose L. Aguilar

Portland District Commander Col. Jose L. Aguilar

The last time we addressed our OPLAN activities happened in 2012 when former commander (and now retired) Col. John Eisenhauer wrote about it in his February Commander’s Column titled Planning for 2012 and Beyond.

Two years later, we are in the midst of updating our District OPLAN to reflect minor adjustments made by Northwestern Division and HQ USACE.

The OPLAN is our opportunity to capture all of the work and actions we do in a comprehensive document that allows us to demonstrate how we are already (for the most part) executing within their strategic direction. The OPLAN also allows us to incorporate, in writing, how we conduct business so we can understand and better appreciate every team member’s contribution to our overall goal of meeting our missions and delivering for the American people, as directed by Congress and our administration.

The Army teaches a very succinct way to execute any mission directed to us – with a five paragraph Operations Order, commonly known as an OPORD.

I.  [Situation] Describes operational environment including higher headquarters directive, stakeholders, terrain, weather.   (Simplified, think of meeting with a buddy on the street and saying, “What’s up?”)

II.  [Mission] Statement addressing the “Who, what, when, where and why.”  (“What are you doing?)

III. [Execution] Includes the intent, concept, scheme, tasks to subordinate units and coordinating instructions.  (“How are you doing it?”)

IV.  [Sustainment] Resources required.   (“What do you need to do all that?”)

V.   [Command and Signal] The methodology to command and control the operation to ensure success.
(“How are you going to ensure it gets done?”)

I do not want to frighten anyone with the above Army doctrine – I simply want to assure you that what the Portland District is currently doing is already nesting with the Corps’ national and strategic direction. The Strategy Office, with input from the Corporate Board and my personal involvement, is drafting this document. The intent is a comprehensive document depicting what we do. A subset of that document is the OPLAN depicting our nesting with HQ USACE and Northwestern Division.

See below for a graphic depiction of our mission, key tasks and recommended focus areas for the future in order to improve our organization. These five focus areas will improve our people (our most valuable resource), our processes (gain efficiencies) and our projects/programs (execution; delivery for the region).

Speaking of execution – at the time I wrote this column, we were on track to execute more than $276 million in support of the region. That included nearly 1,000 contracts worth more than $130 million. Great job team!

Happy fiscal New Year to all of you – thank you for your hard work in making FY14 a success. I am humbled by the
privilege to lead such a superb team.

Competence follows Character

Col . Jose Aguilar


Portland District mission

OPLAN focus areas