“My experience from my military career and all my educational experience to include IWP set me up to command one of the largest and most complex districts in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.”
-COL Edward Chamberlayne, USA (Ret.), Ph.D.
Please note: The views expressed here are those of Edward Chamberlayne and not necessarily those of the U.S. Army or Department of Defense.
When he came to IWP for a U.S. Army Senior Service Fellowship in 2014, Edward Chamberlayne had a Ph.D. in Industrial and Systems Engineering and had been serving in the Army for about twenty years. He planned to take a year at the Institute to study, reflect, and prepare for his next assignment: serving as the 67th Commander of the Baltimore District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
In this capacity, he would manage approximately 1,100 workers as they provided engineering and engineering-related services to both the public, private, and military sectors in a district that stretches from Northern Virginia to Central-Western New York. “That was one of the most challenging assignments that I had in the Army,” said Ed.
Inspired to become an engineer by his high school physics teacher and to join the Army as a way to help with his college tuition at Virginia Tech, Ed had spent his post-college years doing engineering work around the world for the U.S. Army. He did tactical operations and completed projects with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers related to engineering and construction for the Department of Defense (DoD).
An Army Fellowship at IWP
Instead of heading to the U.S. Army War College for a more traditional experience, Ed chose IWP for his yearlong fellowship.
During this year, Ed researched oil and natural gas exploration and its potential impacts on critical infrastructure that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operates and maintains. He investigated possible structural risks caused by hydraulic fracturing on infrastructure such as dams that the Army built and operates for purposes of flood protection and hydroelectric power generation. From a broader perspective, Ed’s research addressed the national security implications of energy security for our country and the security of our critical infrastructure.
“The nice thing about my time at IWP was that I could really drill into a topic that I didn’t know a whole lot about,” said Ed. “It gave me some time for critical thinking. Instead of others telling me how it worked, I did research and arrived at my own conclusions.”
Although he was a little concerned that he would not be supported in his nontraditional research (engineering is not a field taught at IWP), Ed felt supported in his work.
“Although most of the faculty was not familiar with engineering concepts, I had the opportunity to bounce ideas off Dr. Marek Chodakiewicz and Dr. John Lenczowski. Marek would drop everything and read what I was doing,” said Ed.
In addition to his research for the Army, Ed audited classes during his time at IWP. He remembered, “My time at IWP was the first time in a long time in my professional career where I could think unobstructed from the regular chaos of the work environment and explore topics that I had never had an opportunity to research, like the history and geopolitics of the Intermarium region. It broadened me as a leader and a person.”
Although his own political beliefs sometimes differed from those of the professor, Ed found that the views presented in the classroom were fact-based and grounded in research and in American founding principles. These ideas were open for genuine and rational discussion in which Ed almost always participated.
During his time at IWP, Ed was promoted to the rank of Colonel.
Commanding the Baltimore District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is typically responsible for the engineering, design, and construction of military facilities and civil works facilities, including ports, dams, levees, and the maintenance of shipping channels. It can also support projects for U.S. Government agencies other than the DoD.
The Baltimore District is one of the largest and most complex districts in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Ed took command there soon after leaving his IWP fellowship in 2015 and completed this assignment in 2018.
One of his primary responsibilities in this role was to oversee a significant recapitalization effort of all the facilities in Fort Meade – Maryland’s largest employer and the home of U.S. Cyber Command and the National Security Agency. “I reorganized our effort that managed the design and construction at Fort Meade,” said Ed. “This project was important for our national strategic objectives.”
He and his team also supported construction at Fort Meyer, Fort McNair, Fort Belvoir, and Carlisle Barracks (home of the U.S. Army War College) among other military installations spanning VA, DC, MD, and PA.
On the civil works side, Ed’s main project was to maintain the shipping channels into the port of Baltimore so that vital commerce could continue there. The shipping channel through the Chesapeake Bay to Baltimore is narrow, and ships have run aground there in the past. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was involved with an effort to both maintain these channels and rebuild islands with dredging material (from these channels) that had all but disappeared from coastal erosion and sea level rise. Ed engaged with political leaders on Capitol Hill to ensure that these projects in Maryland were authorized and funded.
Ultimately, Ed’s team rebuilt a 2,000-acre island that had eroded – Poplar Island. Watch more about this incredible project here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnU9tVf5Ldc
“This project was important from an environmental stewardship level,” said Ed. “We rebuilt wetlands and bird populations. And at the same time, we kept the port of Baltimore open for commerce.”
Serving the U.S. Government through Architecture and Engineering Work
After completing his command in 2018, Ed retired from the Army and began a second career in the architecture and engineering business, where he has been providing design services supporting the Department of Defense and other federal agencies.
With his current company, PRIME AE Group, Ed leads all business development with their federal clients. Ed brings to his work not only his prior experience in the military but also a set of ethics and core principles which contribute to strong relationships with his DoD clients.
In addition to serving his company, Ed sees his work as a way to continue serving our country and the DoD mission: “We provide design services to our DoD clients that they cannot do themselves.”
Listen to a podcast with Ed Chamberlayne and MCFA: https://share.transistor.fm/s/d42cf300. This podcast is entitled “Optimizing Partnerships & Teams to Develop Solutions as a Seller/Doer with Ed Chamberlayne, Vice President of Federal Programs at PRIME AE Group, Inc.”