March 25, 2024

EWN Bolsters Army Resilience Efforts

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Army missions face a myriad of challenges stemming from natural hazards, climate change impacts, and aging infrastructure necessitating innovative and integrated solutions. In a recent engagement at the University of Georgia (UGA), the Honorable Ms. Rachel Jacobson (ASA IE&E) recognized a need to increase Engineering With Nature (EWN) support across Army installations. By integrating natural infrastructure projects, installations will fortify their resilience strategies. Ms. Jacobson’s visit comprised several engagements at UGA , including meetings with faculty from UGA’s Institute for Resilient Infrastructure Systems (IRIS) and EWN leadership, a lecture to graduate students, participation in a podcast, attendance at a poster session, and a keynote presentation.

Ms. Rachel Jacobson (ASA IE&E) gives keynote address during the Southeastern Defense Communities Resilience Workshop hosted by the University of Georgia.

During Ms. Jacobson’s keynote at the Southeastern Defense Communities Resilience Workshop, she announced an Interagency Governmental Service Agreement (IGSA) between the Army and UGA. This landmark agreement empowers UGA and its partners to provide technical support, bolstering Army installations against climate risks over the next 10 years.

Embracing scalable natural infrastructure solutions reduces long-term maintenance costs while enhancing environmental stewardship. Furthermore, these efforts contribute to improved well-being among personnel, fostering a resilient defense community. Ms. Jacobson’s commitment to leveraging natural systems for the purpose of increasing resilience is well encapsulated in her statement,

“We have to exist in this world in a new way. We have to think differently. We have to act differently. And we have to make sure that we align with nature so that we can all adapt to the new world.”

The Honorable Ms. Rachel Jacobson, Assistant Secretary of the United States Army Installations, Energy and Environment

Value of Natural Infrastructure at Army Installations:

  • Scalability reduces costs and enables adaptation to evolving environmental conditions.
  • Self-healing properties mitigate risks and reduce maintenance expenses.
  • Environmental benefits include habitat creation and carbon sequestration.
  • Improves personal well-being for those living and working at DoD facilities.

Learn more about Engineering With Nature for the Department of Defense.

From left to right: Dr. Matt Bilski (Engineering Associate Professor, UGA), (Dr. Don Nelson, Anthropology Professor, UGA), Ms. Deb Loomis (Climate Advisor to Secretary of Navy), Dr. Todd Bridges (Professor of Practice, Resilient and Sustainable Systems, UGA), Honorable Rachel Jacobson (ASA IE&E), Dr. Jeff King (EWN Lead and Program Manager, ERDC), Dr. Brian Bledsoe (Director of Institute for Resilient Infrastructure Systems, UGA), Mr. Will Rogers (Climate Advisor to Secretary of Army), LTC David Dake (US Army), Dean Leo (Dean, College of Engineering, UGA)

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