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96 CEG: Home of innovative, resourceful and effective civil engineers

Col. Dennis Yates

Col. Dennis Yates

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- No matter where I look, the military and civilian personnel that make up the 96th Civil Engineer Group, from the biologists to the real estate professionals, are carrying out our group's vision of being innovative, resourceful and effective in the execution of our mission. Simply put, we don't have a choice but to do business that way.

I truly believe we have a great organization of civil engineers here. The people and their ingenuity create our best weapon system. The five Bronze Stars, a Purple Heart and numerous Army and Joint Service Commendation Medals that awarded to CEG personnel since I have been here is truly indicative of our outstanding contributions to the Global War on Terror.

By now, everyone should be familiar with the transformation Eglin and the rest of the Air Force is making in light of increased deployments, budget cuts, force shaping and the Base Realignment and Closure decisions Congress made in 2005. Our group is hit just as hard by these events as any other unit on Eglin, make no mistake about it.
Sure, that means that we'll have to prioritize and manage some things better, but we all should be doing business that way regardless. These challenges only help to keep us focused on being innovative, resourceful and effective in our mission accomplishment. 

One such example is through the Department of Defense's Enhanced Use Lease program. This gives installations like Eglin the authority and incentive to obtain a broad range of financial and in-kind considerations for leasing opportunities. That money obtained from leasing property and facilities to the private sector can be used to repair and improve property or facilities, construction or acquisition of new facilities on Eglin, as well as other benefits. 

Also, as an example to the rest of the Air Force, we plan to improve our energy conservation efforts and develop a renewable energy portfolio. Our projections show an estimated annual savings of $668,000 and a four percent reduction in energy use from our already completed energy conservation projects. Lighting upgrades and chiller and boiler replacement projects are just some examples of initiatives we've done and will do in the future to cut energy costs.

These actions will help pave the way for the implementations of the 2005 BRAC decisions that will bring new units and aircraft to Eglin. If the foundation of being more conservative in energy consumption is already implemented and working before the units arrive, that should only make it easier to incorporate them into the Eglin infrastructure.

Improving the quality of military family housing on Eglin is a priority for me, just as it is for all of Eglin's leadership. Our plan is to do that through privatization which has worked well at other military installations. The updated Request for Proposal will be released in September.

To continue our success in facing the challenges of tomorrow, we need your help in understanding and advocating for the needs of our mission's infrastructure. Cultivating partnerships between the federal, state and local levels is a definite plus and is critical in achieving our goals.

Doing that, while being more innovative, resourceful and effective in what we do, that's the best thing we can do for our great nation.

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