The Army Corps of Engineers has always been called upon when the United States is faced with a major crisis. From assisting in the defense of Washington D.C. during the Civil War, constructing massive ports on the beaches of Normandy in the Second World War, and helping in the recovery after 9/11, the Corps has served an intricate roll in advancing American interests.
Today, the United States faces a new threat; an invisible threat. COVID-19 has swept across the country in a relatively short period of time, sparking fears that the superpower may soon face a hospital bed shortage. In order to avert disaster, the USACE is building, upgrading, or planning nearly 114 facilities in all 50 states that can be used as temporary hospitals in order to increase hospital capacity.
Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, commanding officer of the Army Corps of Engineers, noted on March 30, however, that number may need to grow, "I would think that the 114 is going to keep going up by 20 or 30 every single day." He specifically mentioned that he is extremely concerned about the virus spreading to new areas of the United States as the number of national infections reached 260,000.
Yet, he remains confident that the Army Corps of Engineers will remain able to perform its job effectively in this time of crisis. It is not the first nor the last time the organization has faced a seemingly insurmountable task in its history.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the United States Army, Department of Defense, or the United States Government.