Commander’s Column: Know where you are, know where you’re going

Col. Jose AguilarLast year, we introduced the Standing Order to Portland District. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Standing Order, it is a document that captures all the pertinent information about the District – organizational structure, mission, governing documents, an assessment of our operational environment and much more.

You could say the Standing Order basically tells us where we are and what tools we have at our disposal to perform our missions. We published our Standing Order for Fiscal Year 2017 on Sept. 19.

A key element of the Standing Order is the OPLAN, or Operations Plan. The OPLAN is rooted in the USACE Campaign Plan and the NWD Implementation Plan. Lt. Gen. Semonite sets the Corps’ vision. Brig. Gen. (Promotable) Scott Spellmon sets the Division vision and Portland District, in turn, determines how we can support NWD’s efforts while still focusing on District-specific needs and priorities.

The OPLAN looks three years out, but it is also a living document, meaning it can periodically change to meet the needs of the organization. This year, we identified seven focus areas – with three hubs (People, Process, Programs/Projects), if you will – around which the entire OPLAN was built. Below are the selected focus areas for FY17-19:

Workload / Workforce
Ensure that the Portland District conducts facts-based workload projection in order to forecast the workforce, which is right-sized and skilled to meet mission execution.

Recruitment and Retention
Recruit and retain a workforce capable of meeting current and future NWP missions.

Incorporate Safety and Occupational Health into the culture of the Portland District.

Cyber Security
Create a robust cyber security program through cyber asset identification, effective policy and implementation of an achievable cyber security practice.

Knowledge Management and Quality Management System
Develop an approach for proactive, long-term management of knowledge, information and data.

Improve Portland District project execution from inception through closeout, and in particular, ensure that our processes take an integrated, multi-disciplinary approach to improving acquisition.

Asset Management and Future Investments
Implement a risk-based asset management approach to evaluate and prioritize NWD’s Civil Works infrastructure needs.

We selected these focus areas because we felt they had the greatest potential for future improvement or advancement, or because they directly related to the operational readiness of the Portland District, NWD or USACE.

A topic that was included in last year’s OPLAN, but is not included this year, is STEM outreach. We operationalized the action and directed the Public Affairs Office to maintain this effort as part of our normal outreach efforts. If you have an interest in helping with this ongoing effort, or are already doing something in support of STEM outreach, please contact the Public Affairs Office.

Portland District is already a great organization made up of tremendously talented public servants, a meaningful mission and an outstanding reputation. The Standing Order and the OPLAN will help ensure we continue down the path of success by providing a common operating picture of our environment and guide us to future success and improvement.

Please take some time to review these documents, become familiar with them and identify how your efforts or interests connect with the goals we have set for the District.

Competence follows Character,
Col. Jose Aguilar
61st Colonel of the District