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PMO cements US, host nation commitment

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Emili Koonce
  • Ninth Air Force (Air Forces Central) Public Affairs

The Qatar Emiri Corps of Engineers, in coordination with Ninth Air Force (Air Forces Central) program management office, are postured to complete 38 active construction projects by November 2022.

The construction projects include 10 hardened dormitories, two dining facilities with larger seating capacity and attached food storage, as well as updates to electrical, water, sewer and communications infrastructure.

“We monitor, surveil and report on these facilities, which bring major improvements to the survivability, resilience and energy efficiency of the base and also improve the quality of life for U.S. service members and coalition partners,” U.S. Air Force Col. Arno J. Bischoff, 9th AF (AFCENT) PMO director said. “Additionally, both nation states will benefit as we move from an expeditionary footprint to an enduring one with an established presence in defense of the Arabian Gulf.”

This large-scale host nation-funded construction project has been led by the QECE since 2018.

"It is about $1.4 billion worth of construction all happening at once and it is awesome,” U.S. Air Force Maj. Alyson White, PMO construction management and Al Udeid Air Base division chief said. “Our QECE partners are incredibly kind and generous, and I have never had a bad experience working with them.”

The QECE leads the planning, design and construction of the 38 projects alongside the PMO, which consists of 31 members across over 15 Air Force specialty codes.

"We're essentially a small civil engineer shop,” White said. “We have one craftsman from each civil engineer Air Force specialty, who are augmented with experienced civilian, contract engineers and construction inspectors, and together they surveil, monitor and report on the sites.”

The PMO team is focused on ensuring future facilities and infrastructure meet international and U.S. code compliance standards, as well as the air expeditionary wing and partner nation mission requirements.

“I know my team really understands the impact they have,” Bischoff said. “In construction, you can really see the fruits of your labor.”

As Phase 1 comes to a close this fall, the office is focusing on the future of the base.

“After Phase 1, we will move to tender packages zero to nine under the Al Udeid Air Base 2040 strategic master plan,” Bischoff said. “This is going to be outstanding for agile combat employment and dynamic force employment in the future.”

Priority objectives for the master plan include providing mission flexibility to commanders, upgrading airfield and flight line operations, improving quality of life on the base, and enabling critical infrastructure.

“Qatar clearly values the strategic partnership and alliance we share, and they want the same things we want, namely peace and stability in the region,” Bischoff said. “The U.S. does as well, with President Biden recently announcing a plan to designate Qatar a ‘major non-NATO ally.’”

Over the past four years, many PMO staff members have worked shoulder to shoulder with the QECE to complete Phase 1; however, like White, most will return to their home stations before construction is completed.

“I hope I do get another deployment to ‘the ‘Deid’ because as an engineer you want to see things through,” White said. “I want to see what it looks like in the end because when we're living in new dorms and eating in beautiful DFACs, this is going to be the base that everyone wants to come to.”