CAMP ZAMA, Japan -- U.S. and Japanese Military and engineer leaders are coming together this week at the Bilateral Strategic Initiative Review (BSIR) to discuss opportunities to more efficiently and effectively work together to address challenges that construction companies face when working on U.S. funded Military and host nation funded construction projects. Hosted by United States Forces Japan, Government of Japan Ministry of Defense (MOD) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Japan Engineer District (JED), this joint meeting is an opportunity for leaders to give an update on two Bilateral Senior Engineer Conference (BSEC) initiatives, as well as discuss strategies and next steps to create meaningful change.
The two initiatives being discussed are:
• USG-GOJ Alliance Programmatic View: A New Approach to Synchronizing Facilities Construction Japan-wide
• Specifications: Acceptable Alternative Japanese Standards.
These initiatives were established last February at the BSEC after transparent conversations between stakeholders from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, JED, Government of Japan MOD and Japan region engineer and construction industry to better understand barriers to working on U.S. funded Military and host nation funded construction projects.
"Right now, there is intense competition in the Japanese construction market due to declining construction capacity and a large increase in the volume of construction projects for the upcoming Tokyo Summer Olympics and Government of Japan infrastructure revitalization," said Colonel Thomas Verell II, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, JED Commander. "These two initiatives could help reduce project delays and costs, oversaturating the contractor base, improvements to base access and ultimately make U.S. funded Military and host nation funded construction projects more desirable and less cumbersome for the construction community in Japan."
Working Group leaders overseeing the USG-GOJ Alliance Programmatic View: A New Approach to Synchronizing Facilities Construction Japan-wide initiative are focused on attracting a wider contractor base and increasing transparency among all construction projects to avoid oversaturating the market. To do this, the Working Group will discuss how to prioritize key projects, reduce planning, design time, and contractor risks and cost. In addition, the Working Group will host two break out sessions to address issues concerning base access and how to improve project visibility.
BSIR attendees will also hear from Working Group leaders responsible for the Specifications: Acceptable Alternative Japanese Standards initiative, which is focused on identifying local materials that can be acceptable to use in projects. This would improve bid-ability, construction timelines, lower costs and ensure local maintainability. Working Group leaders will discuss best practices to ensure all services are interpreting standards and criteria the same way, and will host a break out session with stakeholders to identify potential local materials and develop Japanese guide specifications for use on projects.
"The collaboration and problem solving that is happening at BSIR is vital to creating and implementing initiatives in a way that meets the needs and concerns of all industry stakeholders," said Major General Anthony Funkhouser, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Deputy Commanding General. "I'm encouraged by the initial conversations we have been having and look forward to seeing the solutions and next steps from the breakout sessions. We are committed to making this a better process and one that will strengthen the alliance for decades to come."